David Cronenberg has delivered many an iconic, unsettling image to moviegoers over the years, from the exploding head in Scanners to Jeff Goldblum’s horrific transformation in The Fly to the mutilating instruments on display in Dead Ringers. The director’s new (and very NSFW) short “The Nest,” which was commissioned for the International Film Festival Rotterdam, delivers body horror of a similar sort. This time around, though, he leaves the disturbing imagery to the viewers’ imagination.
In the film, shot in a single long take in what looks like a very bleak storage basement, a woman (Evelyne Brochu) goes through a consultation with a doctor (voiced by Cronenberg) in hopes of having a rather unusual mastectomy. The two discuss her reason for wanting surgery, with the camera focused upon her almost the entire time.
There are no peeling, mangled, or deformed body parts here, but the woman’s vivid, visceral description of her supposed condition combined with the mundane, relaxed tone of Cronenberg’s interaction with her might creep some viewers out nearly as much as some of the goriest moments in The Fly.