SO… Kramer vs. Kramer won the Oscar for best picture in 1979, though it hasn’t aged well, it apparently was ground breaking at the time for tackling the role of the father in raising a child and within the legal system. The same year, Cronenberg’s film The Brood was released, a horror film about a husband trying to unravel a mystery surrounding his wife being treated with an experimental psychiatric treatment, and a series of violent deaths of people who have some link to her life.
Cronenberg’s film about paternity, is far more rich and relevant than the tired and traditional Kramer vs. Kramer. The emotions are far stronger, and the implications though symbolic and allegorical allow for more depth and timelessness. The effects on the child especially are explored with far more nuance and immediacy. In bringing to life her confusion and trauma, the film gives the daughter far more life than the son in Kramer vs. Kramer ever did. She is not incidental to the parent’s transformations, she is just as human as they are.
The film though not consistently scary, has some very eerie and shocking moments. Though you can half guess what’s going to happen next, it doesn’t take away from the film because Cronenberg is very good at what he does. The film is stylish, well-written and even the cast is quite good.