The Nest Blu-ray Review
Directed by Terence H. Winkless
Written by Robert King, based on novel by Eli Cantor
1987, Region A, 87 minutes, Rated R
Blu-ray released on February 19th, 2013
Franc Luz as Sheriff Richard Tarbell
Lisa Langlois as Elizabeth Johnson
Robert Lansing as Mayor Johnson
Terri Treas as Dr. Hubbard
Stephen Davies as Homer
Richard Tarbell is the sheriff of North Port, a quiet coastal community where the biggest crimes include possible vandalism at the library and the local junk man borrowing other people’s property without permission. Things get a little more complicated for Richard once he finds himself caught in a love triangle with his current girlfriend Lily, and former girlfriend Beth, who has recently returned to town for her father’s birthday. Making things worse is the constant second guessing of Mayor Johnson, who happens to be Beth’s father. Unfortunately, the sheriff has bigger problems than a pissing contest with the mayor, as the town is suffering from an inundation of cockroaches.
The Intec Corporation has recently started buying up property with promises of new condos, but they are secretly responsible (non-spoiler) for developing a new strain of mutating roach. The mayor contacts the company for assistance and soon Dr. Hubbard arrives, but she has her own agenda and the general population is not her top priority. Sheriff Tarbell takes the more traditional approach of calling in his exterminator pal Homer to take care of the problem, but soon the bugs are out of control and threaten to consume the entire town. The action quickly builds as the bugs rack up a pretty decent body count and time is running out for the community of North Port.
Shout! Factory brings another fine disc to genre fans with this nature-runs-amok thriller from Roger Corman’s endless catalog of monster movies. The Nest was actually produced by his wife, Julie Corman, and first time director Terence Winkless (Rage and Honor) successfully delivers a fun little picture that has gained a strong following due to its frequent appearances on late-night cable television. In the tradition of films like Ticks and Slugs, man must face an unexpected mini-terror, but this flick has more in common with the tongue-in-cheek style of Piranha. While never taking itself too seriously, it never tips into the levels of comedy found in Arachnophobia. The material is delivered matter-of-factly and therefore audiences are likely to stick with some of the more outlandish elements that arrive in the final act.
With a screenplay by Robert King (Cutthroat Island), based on the novel by Eli Cantor, The Nest moves at a decent speed that keeps viewers entertained. Supporting characters are surprisingly well-defined and the ticking clock finale generates some nice moments of suspense. The film really benefits from its surprisingly strong casting. Franc Luz (Ghost Town) and Lisa Langlois (Happy Birthday To Me) share a natural chemistry and remain committed to the roles no matter how strange the scenario. Robert Lansing (Empire of the Ants) is convincing as the man of good intentions who is easily led astray and Stephen Davies (The Long Good Friday) does a fine job handling the comic relief during some of the more intense sequences without destroying the tone of the scene. Terri Treas (House IV) portrays the callous face of the corporation with a sincerity that is instantly unlikeable (that’s a compliment).
Winkless has created what is likely the best mutant cockroach movie this side of Mimic and never confuses the subject matter for high art. By embracing the schlock value he has created a low budget popcorn movie with little room for deep thought. The biggest surprise of The Nest is the complete lack of nudity, something unheard of in a Corman picture, yet the film succeeds even without it. While the praise here is ample, it still comes down to being a likeable bug movie – which is limited to individual taste – but definitely worth a look.
Video and Audio:
The Nest is presented in its original 1.85:1 aspect ratio and looks pretty decent for a low budget horror film shot twenty-five years ago. Colors are stable and black levels solid, while neither pushes too hard to impress. The print is in surprisingly good shape without an abundance of dirt or scratches.
Shout! Factory teases a DTS HD 5.1 MA lossless track on the menu, but instead offers a pair of respectable DTS HD 2.0 MA tracks. Not a deal breaker, just more a disappointment for anyone hoping to be surrounded by the soothing sounds of cockroaches. The presentation is limited to the front channels, but as the film has only been previously available on VHS, this mix is quite the step up. Dialogue is always clear and free from distortion and English subtitles are provided.
Shout! Factory offers only one supplement to this package, but it’s a good one.
Director Terence Winkless provides an engaging commentary track that offers numerous anecdotes of filming a killer roach movie. Instantly likeable and full of self-deprecating wit, Winkless showers praise on his cast and crew but also admits to the scenes he did not film. He tells how he got the job working for Julie Corman and points out the stock footage taken from another Corman film, Humanoids from the Deep. Winkless keeps things moving without falling into the trap of on-screen narration and delivers a track definitely worth checking out.
A DVD copy of the film is also provided.
*Note: The screenshots on this page are not a reflection of the Blu-ray image. They were captured using the standard DVD.*
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