After a debilitating fall, an unlucky neighbour finds himself trapped in the mad, cloistered world of two shut-in sisters, in this Misery-style Spanish thriller produced by Midnight Madness favourite Álex de la Iglesia.

Vanguard

Shrew's Nest

Juanfer Andrés, Esteban Roel

A gothic melodrama in which family bonds are tightened to the point of asphyxiation, Shrew's Nest is a chilling depiction of festering neurosis and repressed desire set in 1950s Spain.

After her mother's early death and her father's subsequent desertion, adolescent Montse was forced into the role of surrogate single parent to her little sister. Now grown into adulthood, the sisters share an apartment that the hollow-eyed, cripplingly agoraphobic Montse (Macarena Gómez) cannot bring herself to leave. Montse's pretty little sister (Nadia de Santiago), meanwhile, wants nothing more than to escape their cloister.

When a neighbour (Hugo Silva) falls down the stairs and lands right outside the sisters' door, Montse takes him in and assigns herself the role of nurse. The presence of this handsome, helpless man fractures the sisters' already fragile lifestyle, drawing the attention of authorities, prompting a litany of lies, and straining tensions until long-held secrets — and bloody reprisals — begin to hemorrhage, spilling over into a memorable finale.

Making shrewd use of candlelight, religious iconography, and oppressive corridors, directors Juanfer Andrés and Esteban Roel evoke a claustrophobic world of Catholicism and paranoia. Gómez is a revelation as Montse, channelling Joan Crawford in her subtle gradations of hysteria — not to mention Kathy Bates in Misery, a film that is clearly a major influence. Like several of her fellow cast members, Gómez will be familiar from the films of Álex de la Iglesia, whose Witching & Bitching was an audience favourite at last year's Festival. Along with the work of de la Iglesia and such films as The Orphanage and [REC], Shrew's Nest solidifies Spain's position as a world-class generator of masterful modern horror.

DIANA SANCHEZ

Screenings

Thu Sep 04

Scotiabank 2

Regular
8:45pm
Fri Sep 05

Scotiabank 9

Industry
1:45pm
Fri Sep 05

The Bloor Hot Docs Cinema

Regular
3:00pm
Tue Sep 09

Scotiabank 6

Industry
4:30pm
Sun Sep 14

TIFF Bell Lightbox 2

Regular
6:30pm