THEY NEST. 2001. DIRECTED BY ELLORY ELKAYAM. STARRING THOMAS CALABRO, KRISTEN DALTON, DEAN STOCKWELL AND JOHN SAVAGE. REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©
This is an utterly disgusting film. Disgusting in the sense that it’s all about killer bugs, beetles, cockroaches, whatever you want to call the revolting little beasties. I really shouldn’t have watched it so soon after viewing ARACHNOPHOBIA, the 1990 film about killer spiders starring Jeff Daniels, Julian Sands and John Goodman.
For weeks after watching ARACHNOPHOBIA, I was checking down the toilet and under the bed for killer spiders. THEY NEST may not be as well-known as ARACHNOPHOBIA, but it’s still a pretty good movie as far as killer bug movies go.
Let’s have an overview of the plot, shall we…? Thomas Calabro plays Ben Cahill, a handsome, rich divorced doctor who… Wait a minute! Handsome? Rich? Divorced? Doctor? Holy crap, where do I sign up…? Sadly, he doesn’t stay single for long, as is always the way with guys like these. Anyway, where was I? Oh yes.
Ben Cahill, a handsome, rich divorced doctor (ooooh, my ovaries are literally screaming…!) travels to his holiday home on Orrs Island off the coast of Maine to take a break from work and try to resolve his personal problems if he can. Aw, bless him…! If only I could take him to my ample bosom and give him succour. (It means help. Look it up, you filthy-minded people, you.)
On arriving at the island, he soon discovers that he has a whole new batch of problems to contend with, however. His house is in a bad way and needs some serious TLC. The locals, in particular a chap named Jack Wald and his chums, are unfriendly in the extreme because the house that Ben has bought used to belong to Wald’s parents and Wald thinks that the house is his by rights. Wald is the local electricity man and so he has the power (Power? Geddit?) to make Ben’s stay on the island a dark and uncomfortable one.
Ben’s biggest problem, of course, is that the island, unbeknownst to the stubborn and unfriendly islanders, has become infested with bugs. (‘Unbeknownst’ is still a word, right…?) Big horrible bugs accidentally brought there by an exploded African cargo vessel. Big horrible gooey squishy bugs that make their human prey into their unwilling host, by which I mean they wriggle into the human host’s mouth and lay their eggs in his/her stomach. The human host then vomits up the most horrific mixture of bug eggs and blood. I know, it’s disgusting beyond belief. If you’re feeling sick just reading this, then I wouldn’t bother watching the actual film, haha.
There are some interesting similarities with ARACHNOPHOBIA in that, in that film, the killer spiders are accidentally brought into town in the coffin of a guy they killed. Almost overnight, the town becomes overrun with the nasty arachnids. It’s the same deal with THEY NEST. The bugs multiply like crazy and it’s down to Dr. Handsome and a local shop assistant, Nell Bartle, to stop them before they destroy the island of Orrs and everyone on it. Nell Bartle, by the way, didn’t lose any time at all in getting her claws into Dr. Handsome. She nabs him practically the second he rocks up in Orrs. Humph. Single women. Sooooo desperate. It’s such an unattractive trait in a woman…
Yes, the film is disgusting but the bug scenes are actually really well done, realistic and scary. The scene with Sheriff Hobbs in the basement is stomach-turning and terrifying. All the scenes in which the bugs have infested human beings with gruesome results are eye-poppingly effective.
The thing about bugs is that they can turn up in any of our homes unlike, say, dinosaurs or dragons. These are either extinct or mythological, but cockroaches do exist and can quite easily find their way into someone’s bathroom, kitchen or even fridge- as in THEY NEST– and that’s what makes this kind of horror movie so disturbing. It could happen to you, to me, to anyone. Think about it. Or don’t. I strongly advise the latter. If you want to keep your breakfast down, that is…
AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.
Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based performance poet, novelist, film blogger, sex blogger and short story writer. She has given more than 200 performances of her comedy sex-and-relationship poems in different venues around Dublin, including The Irish Writers’ Centre, The International Bar, Toners’ Pub (Ireland’s Most Literary Pub), the Ha’penny Inn, Le Dernier Paradis at the Trinity Inn and The Strokestown Poetry Festival.
Her articles, short stories and poems have appeared in The Metro-Herald newspaper, Ireland’s Big Issues magazine, The Irish Daily Star, The Irish Daily Sun and The Boyne Berries literary journal. In August 2014, she won the ONE LOVELY BLOG award for her (lovely!) horror film review blog. She is addicted to buying books and has been known to bring home rain-washed tomes she finds on the street and give them a home.
She is the proud possessor of a pair of unfeasibly large bosoms. They have given her- and the people around her- infinite pleasure over the years. She adores the horror genre in all its forms and will swap you anything you like for Hammer Horror or JAWS memorabilia. She would also be a great person to chat to about the differences between the Director’s Cut and the Theatrical Cut of The Wicker Man. You can contact her at: