The Nest (USA, 2021)

A mother on a road to redemption finds it hard when a mysterious force takes her daughter in this intense thriller.

Recovering drug addict Beth, her husband Jack, and their daughter Meg have moved into a new town where they stay at a house that Jack has inherited. At a local yard sale, Meg finds a teddy bear with big eyes. When Beth asks the yard sale owner how much the bear costs, he offers to give it to Meg for free as it is a very special doll. While packing the truck, Beth and Jack hear a scream and find Meg on the ground unconscious. When she is better, something strange begins to happen.

Meg begins to show signs of separation anxiety. She becomes determined to want her mother to stay with her. She refuses to go to school and constantly complains of a stomachache. This causes Beth and Jack to constantly be at odds with each other. However, soon enough, Jack learns of the terrifying truth as he begins to show signs of separation anxiety after becoming attacked by the bear, which is host to parasitic creatures. As Beth discovers what is going on, an accident results in Beth trying to learn the truth and finds herself going back to addiction. Can she overcome her demons to fend off against the demons that have taken over her family?

From the title alone, one would think the film would have to do something with insects or bugs, along the lines of mutation, killing people. But that’s not the case. Instead, this takes a more Invasion of the Body Snatchers approach but what’s intriguing is that the protagonist is one who has faced demons before and here she is, facing a different kind of “demon” in the form of the parasitic creatures that are hosted by of all things, a teddy bear. This may sound farfetched, but it actually looks a heck of a lot better.

Sarah Navratil pulls off an excellent performance as Beth, a mother and recovering addict who seeks redemption to make her family life work and see that she is changing for the better. However, once it is evident that she experiences the changes that plague her daughter, played by Maple Suttles (the director’s daughter), Beth begins to have nightmares and fears of regression are imminent. We see Beth struggle with so much from trying to help her daughter to her marriage to Jack, played by Kevin Patrick Murphy, imploding. In a way, you can only sympathize with the character.

Murphy’s Jack comes off as somewhat controlling and kind of a jerk as he seems to be more worried about wanting alone time with Beth rather than trying to ensure Meg is okay. However, once he falls prey to the parasites, he seems nicer at first and compassionate. It is clear that these parasites are there for a reason and when even a family friend, played by the legendary Dee Wallace, falls prey, add a twist involving Beth’s attempt to figure things out leads to her having an accident and is bedridden. This leads to a very shocking third act that may prove to be either predictable or unpredictable depending on the viewer’s point of view.

The Nest comes off as an intense “body snatcher” style film with a very flawed and human protagonist who must overcome her own demons to confront the demons that have now taken over her family. Some great performances makes this a film worth checking out.

WFG RATING: B

4Digital Media presents a SuttleFilm production. Director: David Suttles. Producers: James Suttles and Matthew R. Zboyovski. Writer: Jennifer Trudrung. Cinematography: Greg Hudgins. Editing: Aaron Putnam.

Cast: Sarah Navratil, Maple Suttles, Dee Wallace, Kevin Patrick Murphy, Drez Ryan, Blaque Fowler, Anna Lynn Holleman.

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