Thursday, September 4, 2014

SHREW'S NEST vs. Misery

We'll try to keep the Liberace music at a reasonable volume.
Shrew's Nest, which screens tonight at the Festival's Vanguard programme (8:45 PM! SCOTIABANK 2!), is a creepy, claustrophobic film produced by Alex de la Iglesia, who brought you last year's Witching and Bitching. Even though it's set in the 1950s, it bears a striking resemblance to a movie based on a Stephen King novel that you might be familiar with: Misery.

The Shrew's Nest trailer opens with a voice over explaining how all children like bedtime stories. You know who else liked stories? Annie Wilkes from Misery, who was obsessed with her favorite author, Paul Sheldon.

When fate (real talk: and a little bit of stalking) conspires to force Paul into Annie's care, he becomes her whole world, and she his. Even though he's not exactly happy about it, it's basically Annie's dream come true.
"Can't get this in a restaurant in New York!"
In Shrew's Nest, Montse is an agoraphobic seamstress who's been taking care of her little sister since their mother died giving birth to her and their father bailed on them. I'm sure that has nothing to do with how Monstse treats her sister. Forcing her on her knees and slashing her with a straight razor is totally normal older sister behavior, right?

In Misery, Annie was furious when Paul killed off her favorite character, the unironically titled Misery. Since this was before the Internet, she couldn't just post a lot of angry messages in all caps (but no swear words) on a Paul Sheldon fansite. Besides he was right there, in her guest bedroom, incapacitated, so best to just drug him and break his ankles and stuff.
"I thought you were good Paul... but you're not good. You're just another lying ol' dirty birdy."
It's their injured neighbor Hugo that flips Montse's crazy switch in Shrew's Nest and if you watch the trailer closely, there's definitely some kind of nasty stuff going on with his legs and leather straps. Montse even brings him food on a tray, that may or may not have a sedative in it. Now who does that remind you of?

There's also a sexual subtext in both Misery and Shrew's Nest. While it's obvious that Annie had serious control issues, how much of her sadistic behavior was just repressed sexuality? Montse flips out on her poor little sister after she sees her talking to a man outside, her young, beautiful sister. Montse is, let's face it, kind of a creepy spinster.

If you're a fan of Misery and/or movies that show the gory details of being trapped by number one fans and/or delusional family members, Shrew's Nest is definitely something you should not miss.

SHREW'S NEST screening times:
Thu., Sept. 4th, 8:45 PM, SCOTIABANK 2
Fri. Sept. 5th, 3:00 PM, BLOOR HOT DOCS CINEMA
Sun., Sept. 14th, 6:30 PM, TIFF BELL LIGHTBOX 2

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