LFF 2014: ‘Shrew’s Nest’ is a delicious gothic soufflé

Shrew's-Nest-Poster

Shrew’s Nest
Written by Juanfer Andrés
Directed by Juanfer Andrés and Esteban Roel
Spain, 2014

Family can be a mysterious and dangerous matrix of locked doors and supressed secrets, with loving family members willing to do almost anything to preserve a thin veneer of moral unity. That’s the central premise of Shrew’s Nest, another gory, effective entry in the recent plague of Spanish shock cinema which has infected markets beyond the Iberian motherland. Restricted to one expansive apartment in a post-civil war Madrid, the film unfolds as an interlocking cavalcade of cause and effect, leading to a the illumination of a family’s most brutal and buried secrets.

The tightly wound and anxiously agoraphobic Montse (a wonderfully suppressed and deranged Macarena Gómez) works is a seamstresses for private clients, maintaining the family home for her more outgoing sister Elisa (Nadia de Santiago), who is gradually coming into the age where she is interested in boys and other ungodly pursuits. With a strict Catholic penitence, Montse instructs her physically of the error of her ways, and shames her with the memory of their deceased mother, who sacrificed her life during childbirth, and their absent, stern patriarch father (Luis Tosar), who mysteriously went missing some years ago. The restrictive environment is shattered when a local con man  (Hugo Silva) is found slumped against the family’s shuttered doors, prompting Montse to take him in and tend to his broken limbs as a good, unselfish soul would do. Soon, however, Montse begins to feel an undeniable lust for their dubious new companion, and, in a modern retread of Misery, will stop at nothing to convince him of her affections, despite the strictures of the ten commandments…

shrews-nest-london-film-fes

Sharing the light crimson drizzle of horrific French mystery L’Interior (2007) and its similar evisceration of the blood lines that tie us together, Shrew’s Nest is a nasty little bleeder that’s a fine psychological horror; a film wise enough to withhold its sordid secrets until it gets into the final, Almodóvar atrocity-aping act. Like that popular Spanish director’s work, Shrew’s Nest retains a grim humour among its plundering of Spain’s dark past, with religion, guilt and suppressed memory swarming together in a delicious gothic soufflé. With the stern Catholic plaques  that adorn the apartment standing as silent observers, this is a keen satire of the ethical bonds of the clergy, of maintaining the sanctity of marriage even within a thoroughly perverted cradle. All the leads are strong, but the film is anchored by Macarena Gómez’s wild and wide-eyed conviction, making her sympathetic and horrific in equal measure as the weight of her sins finally leads to a crushing confession. This is a severe feature debut from co-directors Andrés and Roel, and another strong genre shriek from Spain.

– John McEntee

Visit the official website of the BFI London Film Festival.




Add Comment


50 CEOs Who Never Went to College (and how they managed to succeed)
10 Different Types of Financial Aid
Top 10 Richest American Idols
V-Moda Crossfade Wireless
The 5 Most Expensive Wireless Headphones: Ultimate Auditory Clarity
7 Best Golf Courses in St. Augustine, Florida
25 Bachelor Party Movie Ideas
People playing the clarinet
10 Different Types of Clarinets
11 Different Types of Drums
A bowl of oatmeal porridge
7 Different Types of Porridge
Shots of tequila
5 Different Types of Tequila (Plus Tequila Cocktails)
Fresh kale in a bowl
10 Different Types of Kale
8 Different Types of Cantaloupes
A Man in a Suit Opening a Car’s Door
9 Different Types of Car Doors
Headlights of a black car
9 Different Types of Headlights
19 Different Types of Construction Vehicles
Fire Truck with Warm Yellow Lights
9 Different Types of Fire Trucks
54 Different Types of Sports Played (Individual and Team Sports)
15 Different Types of Goggles
13 Different Types of Dumbbells
15 Awesome Alternatives to Skateboards (Plus Interesting Facts)
16 Different Types of Technology
man holding smartphone with vintage case
11 Types of Cell Phone Cases and Covers to Protect Your Expensive Smartphone
Black and Red Tablet Covers
8 Types of Tablet Cases for Kids, Protection, and Convenience
Camera, lenses and other photography equipments.
45 of the Best Online Camera Stores for the Perfect Pics