The idea seemed so simple at first. It’s Canada Day today and what better way to honour the Canadian horror master on a prolific fright site than to celebrate a new short that has come from the genius. Yes, the plan was so simple. To watch new short The Nest and then write a few words on its daring, evocative work and proclaim, loudly, that David Cronenberg is indeed the best director out there…again. And then I watched The Nest. To give you a clue to how I reacted, it’s three a clock in the morning and I cannot sleep.
The Nest is such a simple story though; a woman believes that there is a wasp nest in her left breast and a man talks her through amputating it away. What Cronenberg offers is not a guttural amount of disgust, raging bile for his visual theatrics that made The Fly and Videodrome so goddamn good. Instead, in a similar tonal shift to Cosmopolis, he strips back the horrific imagery and concentrates on one haunting one that will get under your skin like the titular hive swarming in your own bosom.
It’s a case of less is more, Cronenberg lets our imagination one wild, giving us more questions to our curious nightmares than actual answers. Is the cameramen actually a surgeon, ready to remove the vicious wasps from her? Is he a psychologist talking to one of his patients and trying to coerce the truth from her? The adhoc background in a basement and the eerie hum of eyes on the woman allow it to feel more akin to horror. The dialogue slides you into this tale of imagery or imaginary wasps and it is tantalisingly well done.
It’s a simple story. Yet it subverts sublime sensations in order to perpetuate curiosity from the audiences gaze, toying with turmoil over what is real or not. And what’s more, you’ll come away feeling a little more uneasy as invisible bugs clamber over you.