New Release Horror: The Nesting (2016) - Reviewed

The all-but-forgotten 1981 horror film The Nesting is about a troubled author who holes herself up in an abandoned house that turns out to be a former brothel, haunted by the ghosts of its dead, um, former employees.  Goofy, trashy horror movies like this were certainly in no short supply 35 years ago.  A quick look at Netflix will show that times haven’t changed much, with the supernatural still being the order of the day, but the films of today attempt to take a far more serious tone.  Director Quinn Saunders, currently better known for his work on the wrestling reality series Lucha Underground, brings this tone to his own completely unrelated film that is also titled The Nesting.

Without revealing too many specific plot details, The Nesting is about what happens to someone so haunted by guilt that it eats away at their soul.  The viewer watches as Doug (Jody Quigley) is consumed by his guilt to the point where he can no longer distinguish his dreams from reality.  It’s an interesting enough idea, and Quigley works pretty well with what he’s given.  It’s a shame he’s not given much, and what he’s given is a huge mess.  The Nesting is dull, infuriating and confusing, often at the same time, and predictable throughout.

Gee. Don't look so happy. 
Quigley’s performance is just about the only good thing in The Nesting.  It’s missing the two things that are key to a watchable horror film, much less a good one: genuine scares and palpable tension.  The action drags, feeling much longer than its brief 83 minutes.  The attempts at twists are predictable, if they make any sense at all.  Any film based so much around guilt should at least attempt to make the viewer empathize with the protagonist.  The Nesting manages to somehow make no such attempt.  The result is a film that’s an interminable chore to watch.

Without tension, or empathy, or anything that might be construed as scary, there’s really nothing to The Nesting.  If there was some sort of message or moral here, and it seems like there may have at least been an attempt at one, it’s lost in this muddled, dull slog of a film.  It could just be weariness from one bad supernatural horror movie too many, but there is truly little here that hasn’t been seen many times before and done far better in those attempts.  The Nesting gets it all wrong without even feeling like it was trying to get anything right in the first place.  Or maybe it just needed a dead prostitute or two.

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-Mike Stec