The Brood (1979) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Brood1979

The Brood (1979)



Critic Consensus: The Brood is a grotesque, squirming, hilariously shrill exploration of the bizarre and deadly side of motherhood.

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Movie Info

As the result of an unorthodox scientific experiment, a woman gives birth to a group of murderous, sexless mutant children. It is up to her ex-husband to discover the truth and stop this brood's rampage before he and his daughter become the next victims in this disturbing, graphic horror film.

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Oliver Reed
as Dr. Hal Raglan
Samantha Eggar
as Nola Carveth
Art Hindle
as Frank Carveth
Nuala Fitzgerald
as Juliana Kelly
Cindy Hinds
as Candice
Henry Beckman
as Barton Kelly
Michael McGhee
as Inspector Mrazek
Gary McKeehan
as Mike Trellan
Felix Silla
as Creature
John Ferguson
as Creature
Christopher Britton
as Man In Auditorium
Michael Magee
as Inspector
Joseph Shaw
as Coroner
Jerry Kostur
as Construction Worker
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News & Interviews for The Brood

Critic Reviews for The Brood

All Critics (25) | Top Critics (5)

One of the films that gave rise to the term "body horror," David Cronenberg's 1979 shocker is a characteristic mix of the sombre, the wacky and the viscerally grotesque.

October 30, 2020 | Full Review…

[Cronenberg's] rapid fire direction keeps you bouncing back and forth between laughter and shock with only minor stops for explanatory dialogue and his satirical sophistication never stoops to cheap parody.

April 28, 2018 | Full Review…

A cinematic bad dream that generates recurring nightmares.

May 4, 2015 | Full Review…

May be the most damning movie ever made about psychiatry.

May 3, 2005 | Rating: B- | Full Review…

The Brood is an el sleazo exploitation film, camouflaged by the presence of several well-known stars but guaranteed to nauseate you all the same.

October 23, 2004 | Rating: 1/4 | Full Review…

The care, the detail, the ferocity of it all really was compelling, and I think Cronenberg has only continued to web a deeply compelling line between sex, trauma, and gender.

November 1, 2021 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Brood


From the master of body horror David Cronenberg comes this gruesome and thoroughly amusing film that is better to be seen without you knowing anything about (even if it isn't really surprising), and it has an unforgettable ending that could only become an instant classic.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer


This is one of the earliest horror films from mastermind David Cronenberg, and probably the most grounded of any of his films. Though it is still grotesque to watch, and definitely has the same ethereal wickedness of films such as "The Fly" and "Videodrome", this film at least tries to show reality in a much more conducive environment. The film follows the lives of separated parents, one of which is the father, Frank (Hindle), who is raising the couple's little girl (Hinds). The mother, Nola (Eggar), is much more interested in finding her center after living in a therapy center run by the somewhat devious Dr. Hal Raglan (Reed). Most of the film we watch her go into different trances and she finds herself crying like a strange child thanks to the beating and emotional abuse caused by her mother (Hogan). The psychological implications of the film rove right into horror as the people around Nola start to find themselves the subject of some strange physical wrath. What makes the film very eerie is completely reliant on the clinic where Nola is staying, which looks more like a darkened sauna. Oliver Reed gives a very genuine performance as the doctor who keeps Nola from the perils of the real world while also keeping her from really living her life to the fullest. He ultimately becomes a mere pawn in the strange supernatural game that Nola conducts. It really is a very warped film, in the sense that there doesn't seem to be a villain and Nola's psyche is obviously flawed, what with her acting like a delusional child. The entities that start mass murdering for her are very creepy, not just because of their deformed faces but because they look a bit like real children. Their origins and the true nature of their instability takes a while to get to, but that just gives more screen time to the killings, and when you have a film that is so weird and supernatural, that works to its advantage. This is definitely a Cronenberg film from start to finish, though some key aspects will surprise.

Spencer S.
Spencer S.

Super Reviewer

Formulaic and predictable.

Randy Tippy
Randy Tippy

Super Reviewer

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