The Nest begins with Jack (Kevin Patrick Murphy) and Beth (Sarah Navratil), and their daughter Meg (Maple Suttles) at a yard sale or some such. Meg finds a cute teddy bear and the purveyor of the goods is nice enough to give it to the young lady for free. Not long after, while at a playground, Meg is freaked out by odd noises emanating from her stuffed animal and sees its chest moving.
Within this nearly 10-minute prologue, writer Jennifer Trudrung firmly and quickly establishes the three protagonists’ personalities and their dynamic as a unit. Beth is indecisive, unsure of herself, and seemingly can’t say no to her child. Jack loves his wife and daughter but is nearing the end of his rope after a long struggle involving Beth’s recent past. And Meg is a fearless, fun-loving child with loads of energy. That is until after the incident with the teddy bear.
“…Meg is freaked out by odd noises emanating from her stuffed animal…”
Now, she can’t stand her mother leaving her, to the point where Meg won’t go to school. Her parents aren’t sure what to do, even though well-meaning people such as Ashe (Drez Ryan), and Marissa (Dee Wallace), are helping as best they can. But, each person begins acting strangely, just like Meg. Is Beth losing her mind and imaging all of this, or is something sinister afoot?
James Suttles started his filmmaking career as an editor and director of photography before transitioning into the roles of producer and director. The Nest is only his fourth title in roughly a decade as a director, and one would never guess it. Suttles allows the eeriness to creep in early on and never lets it drop even for a second until the credits roll. A conversation between Meg and an older student drips with tension, as the audience isn’t sure if she’ll snap.
The cinematography, by Greg Hudgins, helps immensely here, as his use of color and fluid camera movements only aid in furthering the anxiety-inducing horror. A particularly striking moment is when Meg confronts her father at night. He’s woodworking in a little shed, and she walks out, though she’s supposed to be sleeping. Jack tells her to go back to bed, but Meg refuses. The lighting and editing here build to a crescendo in a truly horrific way.
"…Maple Suttles...steals the entire film."