Cronenberg directed this after an ugly divorce, and it's pretty easy to see his anger expressing itself throughout the film, which some consider his very best. At the time it was released, "The Brood" was certainly the slickest film Cronenbeg had made. It didn't have a low-budget look like "Rabid" or "Shivers." It also had two powerhouse actors in lead roles: Eggar and Reed. They carry the film.
It also didn't suffer from some of the flaws of his early '80s films. "Scanners" was a muddle and "Videodrome," although now considered one of the director's finest, was a bit ahead of its time when it hit screens. So people looked back on "The Brood" as the finest he had ever produced for quite some time. It still stands up.
The movie chronicles a custody battle between abusive mother Eggar and ex-husband (Art Hindle) over their creepy-looking blonde haired daughter (Cindy Hinds), who looks like she just walked off the set of "Village of the Damned." Eggar is being treated for mental illness at a bizarre institution run by far-out psychiatrist Reed, who has discovered a way to make mental anguish manifest itself in physical forms on the human body.
As Hindle grapples with his ex's dysfunctional family, a strange group of children pop up and start killing everyone that Eggar dislikes. It's pretty obvious early on that these children are an expression of Eggar's "id" -- destroying her enemies. And that they have something to do with her unconventional psychiatric therapy.
What's nice about "The Brood" is that it is very well done, but still harks from the era when Cronenberg was delivering straight-ahead horror. It's intelligent enough to appear on indepedent film TV networks to this day, but still delivers the sleazy terror goods in the form of gore, graphic special effects, etc. For Cronenberg's horror fans, this may be his masterpeice, but it can be argued that some of his early 1990s output was even better (although it strayed from the genre that spawned his career).