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Reviews » Blu-ray Reviews » The Nest (Blu-ray)
The Nest (Blu-ray)
Shout Factory // R // February 19, 2013 // Region A
List Price: $26.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Adam Tyner | posted February 5, 2013 | E-mail the Author
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Highly Recommended
E - M A I L
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Jaws with mutant cockroaches.

No, really! The Nest shares a bunch of the same ingredients: the central character's the sheriff on some sleepy, remote island, the mayor
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shrugs off everyone's pleas in the name of good business, the sheriff has a quirky expert as a sidekick, there's the whole nature-run-amok-and-devouring-people deal... It's just that if you want to steer clear of one lone great white shark, all you've gotta do is stay out of the water. Legions of mutant cockroaches that are immune to every poison on the planet...? Not a whole lot you can do there.

As someone whose life and existence revolves almost entirely around '80s cult cinema, how have I never caught The Nest till now? This plays in every way like something 13-year-old-me would've taped off USA Up All Night and watched over and over and over and over. The Nest holds up better than similar killer insect flicks like Ants and Slugs because the sight of cockroaches instinctively makes everyone squirm. Take a nuisance that's fast, repulsive, and uncomfortably familiar, then make it borderline-indestructible and ravenous for human flesh...? Ack. The roaches aren't four feet tall like the cover art teases, but they're a legitimately unnerving threat even at their tiny size. Because they're mutant roaches and all, they play by a different set of rules, and the old saying "you are what you eat" takes on a gleefully unhinged new meaning once the third act rolls around.

Ooooooh, I love The Nest so much. The movie has a pretty decent cast at its disposal, including Empire of the Ants alum Robert Lansing as the mayor with a crisis of conscience, Franc Luz as the sorta trailer-trash sheriff-slash-hero-type, scream queen Lisa Langlois (Class of 1984; Happy Birthday to Me) as the too-cute love interest who's rolled back into town, Nancy Morgan as the other point on that love triangle, and Terri Treas (The Terror Within) as the frigid scientist who's pretty much fallen in love with these carnivorous critters. Yeah, I touched on the similarities to Jaws already, but the scientific-experiment-gone-wrong angle brings in a little Piranha as well, which seems appropriate since The Nest was a Corman production too. The Nest is overflowing with cockroaches, yeah, and the howlingly bad '80s fashions are almost as repulsive. The practical effects work is impressively gruesome and generally holds up a quarter-century later. Yeah, I used "generally" for a reason, but the occasional clunkiness is all part of the fun.

Even though The Nest had me pretty much from word one, it gets so batshit insane in ways I never saw coming near the end that I'm just...I think I'm in love. There's nothing really inventive or original throughout The Nest, but it captures everything I love so much about '80s cult cinema. Highly Recommended.

C'mon, just look at it!
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The story's pretty much right there in that one screencap. The Nest is reasonably sharp and detailed, not dragged down by any wear, noteworthy speckling, or excessive noise reduction. Its gritty, filmic texture is faithfully retained from start to finish, and the AVC generally avoids choking on all that grain. That distinctively late-'80s palette is impressively robust, and black levels are right where they ought to be. You're not gonna hear any complaints from me this time around.

The Nest is dished out on a single-layer Blu-ray disc, opening up the mattes slightly to reveal an aspect ratio of 1.78:1. I think this is its first widescreen home video release, for anyone keeping track at home! The second disc in the set is an anamorphic widescreen DVD.

The 'Setup' menu lists a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack, and that was kind of a surprise, seeing as how it wasn't mentioned on the flipside of the case or anything. Turns out...? That's because there is no 5.1 remix anywhere on here! Instead, The Nest boasts a pair of 24-bit DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 soundtracks. There's a clear difference toggling back and forth between them, but I couldn't detect any stereo separation in either of 'em, at least in the brief stretches I compared. Are they both two-channel mono?

No matter what it is that's going on here, exactly, I'm not left with a lot to gripe about. The modest hiss is easily shrugged off. There's a healthy low-frequency growl to all that synth-bass in the score, although strangely, the handful of explosions are limp and anemic by comparison. The dialogue stems show their age a bit, but it's all balanced cleanly and clearly in the mix just the same. I get the sense that every micron of
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clarity than could possibly be unearthed is on display here. There aren't any clicks, pops, or dropouts to get in the way. Nothing that'll curl your toes or anything, obviously, but a very solid effort for this sort of horror flick.

The Nest also features an audio commentary and optional English (SDH) subtitles.

  • Audio Commentary: It would've been great to have more in the way of extras, but...well, at least the one that's on here is pretty great! Director Terry Winkless (or Terence H. Winkless if you're feeling formal) chimes in with an infectiously fun commentary track. Winkless is one of those instantly charismatic storytellers that I could listen to for hours on end, striking a really terrific balance between Low-Budget Film School and his self-deprecatory sense of humor about making a killer roach flick. Among the many highlights are noting how screenwriter Robert King went on to create the upscale TV series The Good Wife, working under Richard Donner in a gorilla suit on the set of The Banana Splits, and shoehorning in an exploding cabin just because they had the footage handy. From declining to film in a lighthouse where a horn blared every thirty seconds to the specifics of how you collect thousands of cockroaches for a flick like this, Terry Winkless' commentary is an absolutely essential listen.
An anamorphic widescreen DVD is also along for the ride in this combo pack.

The Final Word
Scream Factory is the best thing to happen to Blu-ray since...I don't know, anything, ever. They haven't had a swing-and-a-miss on their release slate yet, and the skin-crawling, splattery fun of The Nest captures pretty much everything I love about late-'80s genre flicks. We're talking about killer mutant cockroaches here, so you pretty much know if you're the target demographic or not when I say that The Nest comes very Highly Recommended.

I Snapped Way Too Many Screencaps
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