Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Nesting (1981)

Porn directors have done horror before. It's no real secret. However, seeing "The Nesting" is interesting simply because it's director (Armand Weston) was primarily known for bondage themed porn, but his film goes all out to be a classy, Gothic affair more interested in creeping it's audience out than it is throwing in gore. Not that there isn't any gore-there's a few moments, including a seemingly Fulci inspired bit of ocular trauma-but this is largely a relatively restrained affair.

Agoraphobic mystery writer Lauren Cochran (Robin Groves) decided to write her latest work in an old Victorian house that what do ya know, looks kinda like the one in the story she's writing. Unbeknownst to her, said house was a brothel in the 40's that has a violent past, and the spirits of the dead are not going to rest for long.

Clearly inspired by the Haunted House movies of the time and the writings of Stephen King, "The Nesting" have a few good things going for it. As far as directing bouts of violence and creating an atmosphere of potent dread, Weston isn't too bad. He's not great, but the haunting specters and creepy goings on managed to keep me more interested than I should have been. Where he falters is directing actors and writing screenplays (he co-wrote it with "Dawn of the Mummy" writer Daria Price.) As our lead, Groves is pretty wooden, though her boyfriend Mark (Christopher Loomis) is extremely grating, and got on my nerves whenever he was on screen.

Meanwhile, the screenplay is littered with holes. Lauren only seems to be agoraphobic on occasion-in fact, she sometimes seems to be too calm for an agoraphobic woman in a haunted house. Then there's the ghosts themselves. Sure, they can be creepy, but the screenplay really fucks things up with them. That's because *spoiler* they often seem to be protecting her, but when Lauren finds out about their past, they want her dead. It makes no sense whatsoever, and just left me scratching my head.

It's a shame too, because I really wanted to like this more. It has all the potential for a creepy little tale of Supernatural occurrences, but the largely mediocre performances and weak script keep it from reaching that potential. Not a terrible movie, but nothing worth watching either.

Rating: 4/10

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