a Dramatic Exercise In Ghost Movies Without a Single Ghost

Playing with the genres and some of their conventions can be interesting, even with the risk that there are viewers who are disappointed to see something different from what they have been promised, or what they themselves expected. It’s easy to feel disappointed in believing that you’ve been toyed with, or that you’ve been denied something you thought was clear and instead received something that doesn’t fit your preconceived mold. But there is never going to be any easier criticism than criticizing a movie for what it isn’t doing than for what it actually does.

All this is to praise a little gem called ‘The Nest’ that could precisely be accused of cheating with its story and with the narration tools it uses, implying that it is a different film from the one it really is. it is. Presenting itself in its early stages, this film that we find in the Prime Video catalog seems to point clearly towards the cinema of ghosts and haunted houses. And, at the core, it’s that movie, but there’s really no ghosts on the horizon.

A huge and clautrophobic mansion


‘The Nest’ transports us directly to the 1980s, where a married couple, played by Jude Law and Carrie Coon, embark on a challenge that will significantly alter the stability of their lives. He is a British businessman full of ambitions, inspired by all the promises of the American dream and high achievers who bet on themselves, and decides to take his whole family to the United Kingdom to hunt for business opportunities.

The move of both parents and their two children is, nothing less, than to a huge English country house, full of history but also of a disturbing aura. The filmmaker Sean Durkin, screenwriter and director of the film, knows how to generate an oppressive atmosphere around this family, using elements typical of haunted house cinema to show the slow but progressive degeneration that is taking place. But don’t expect literal ghosts, just a stormy anguish and an inappropriate suffocation of such wide spaces and the comfortable life they are living.

In the end, the true ghost of ‘The Nest’ is that of a marriage in a clear state of deterioration. The couple becomes increasingly distant and increasingly hostile to each other as he tries to wrap his head around the promises of a better life and imminent success. Law’s character clearly falls into that prototype of the shark mentality, which the film unblushingly points out and destroys, while Coon’s character breaks down under the pressure of changing status and the need to be more and more ambitious.

‘The Nest’: deliciously twisted

In many aspects, ‘The Nest’ could pass as the serious version -although not much- of the episode of The Simpson where the family moves out of town to work for Frank Scorpio, in a more luxurious and supposedly idyllic environment, but really toxic at heart. Durkin builds an impressive tension around this conflict, with occasional bits of twisted humor that show the sharpness of the speech he wants to tell.

The film manages to sustain itself beyond its ambitions thanks, again, to its use of supernatural cinematic elements even if it doesn’t really explode in that direction – which makes it an interesting double feature with ‘spencer‘, a film also spooky but ambiguous in the supernatural-, in addition to formidable performances by Law and Coon.

Those scenes they share are where the film fully reveals its cards and fully brings out its bile, becoming truly exquisite as well as deftly Machiavellian. Even if it doesn’t end up being the movie you thought you’d guess at first, ‘The Nest’ is delightful at being the movie it wants to be.



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