Shrew’s Nest (Musarnas)

A man injured in a fall down a flight of stairs has the misfortune to be “rescued” by his neighbor.

In 1950’s Madrid, Montse’s agoraphobia keeps her confined to her childhood apartment. She has not set foot outside in decades, reliving dark memories of her youth. She lives with her sister, a young woman she has raised since the death of their mother. When Carlos, an injured neighbor shows up at her door pleading for help, Montse takes him in. He better not plan on leaving any time soon, if he gets out at all.

Occasionally, a foreign film casts actors who are so talented they can make you forget you are reading subtitles. Shrew’s Nest is one of those films. The small cast is fantastic and Macarena Gomez’s performance as Montse is spectacular.

The story has been described buy some critics as a slow burn with a great payoff. It is better than that. The plot is part drama and part horror; more of a tense, claustrophobic thriller that slowly tightens its grip on the audience before pushing us off a cliff. There are a couple of times when you may need to suspend disbelief but the performances by the leads more than make up for it.

The characters are developed quickly and they are sympathetic. The stress of her everyday existence has aged Montse beyond her years. The younger sister tries to live a semi-normal life while balancing Montse’s oppressive behavior and illness. Carlos, the injured neighbor has his own problems that brought him to the apartment in the first place.

Intentional or not, there are some similarities to Alfred Hitchcock’s style. The 1950’s setting, a mentally ill lead, an injured character confined to an apartment and even some views out the window honor the late director.

Shrew’s Nest is elegant and intense. It is simply one of the best out there and a must-see.

2014-Spain

Originality 10

Acting/Script 10

Plot 9

Appropriate gore 9

Production Value 10

Final Cut Score. 48. (96%)

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