The Nest (Blu-ray/DVD Combo)
Studio: Shout! Factory (licensed thru MGM)
US BD Release Date: February 19, 2013
Original Release Year: 1988
Running Time: 89 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Audio (BD): English (DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0)
Audio (DVD): English (Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Digital 2.0)
Movie: 3.5 out of 5
The island town of North Port is becoming infested with cockroaches. Not just any cockroaches, but mutant, flesh-eating ones, the result of an experiment gone wrong (is there any other kind in a horror film?), and they are attacking the citizens of this quiet resort town. Terrence Winkless’ The Nest, produced by Roger Corman’s Concorde Pictures, has some fun borrowing from other horror films, notably Jaws, pitting the young, new sheriff Richard Tarbell (Frank Luz) and long-time mayor Elias Johnson (Robert Lansing) against each other as they find ways to battle the pests and save the summer. To complicate matters, Sheriff Tarbell’s long-lost love (and daughter of the mayor) arrives in town, Elizabeth (Lisa Langlois), and their relationship begins to re-ignite. And one of the scientists behind the doomed experiment, Dr. Morgan Hubbard (Terri Treas), tries to wrestle control of the investigation (with help from the mayor). With some help from local exterminator Homer (Stephen Davies), everyone pitches in to do battle with Earth’s oldest living pest.
The Nest is a much better film than it deserves to be, thanks to the performances by Frank Luz (who does an excellent job balancing the comedic and horror aspects of his character), Robert Lansing (whose performance is so slow that some shots had to be sped up in post), Stephen Davies (who brings most of the comic relief), and Terri Treas (who plays the evil scientist like a cold cucumber). Winkless keeps the movie going at a brisk enough pace (for 1988), although the film does have a bit of a slow start, and like most Corman films, the production value remains fairly high, with most of the film’s already low budget appearing on screen. While not entirely memorable, The Nest is a fun, creepy little film.
Video: 4 out of 5
The 1080p transfer, compressed using the AVC codec, approximates the film’s intended 1.85:1 theatrical aspect ratio by opening up the frame ever so slightly to 1.78:1 to fill a typical 16:9 display. Colors are consistent and not overly saturated, and contrast is very good. There are a few scenes where film grain becomes an issue, but that has more to do with the source material than anything else (usually scenes where natural light was fading fast). The print used for this release is in excellent condition, with little to no scratches, dirt, or blemishes.
Audio: 3 out of 5
This is somewhat interesting. The case indicates that the Blu-ray has only a DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 mono track. The audio choices on the main menu of the Blu-ray show both DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Stereo tracks. Upon selecting the 5.1, when playing the film, it defaults to what sounds like the same DTS-HD 2.0 track, which sounded very mono. That’s not to say that it is a bad thing. The audio is very good, with clear dialogue, improved fidelity and wider dynamic range. It’s just a head scratcher because the included DVD copy does have both Dolby Digital 5.1 and Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtracks.
Special Features: 3 out of 5
Audio Commentary by Director Terrence H. Winkless: The only special feature on the disc is this commentary track by the film’s director. This is a very entertaining and somewhat educational track, with lots of stories on how the film was made, and where some of the crew who worked on the film are in the business today.
DVD: The film and commentary track are also available on a standard definition DVD disc.
Overall: 3.5 out of 5
The Nest is one of those pleasant surprises, a low-budget horror film that not only doesn’t take itself too seriously, but is fun to watch, too. The video presentation is rock-solid for a film of this vintage and budget, and the audio, while still very good, is a bit of a head scratcher. Add in the excellent commentary track by the film’s director, and this is yet another stellar disc from the folks at Shout! Factory.
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