I often find that the best horror movie viewing experiences come from a movie I have no expectations for. The less I know about the plot or what fans and critics have said about it, the more likely it is that I might have one of those special movie nights when something really speaks to you. With horror, going in blind can just help me be in the right mood to be scared. I don’t want to hear complaints about jump scares right before I watch a movie with a bunch of jump scares!
It was with this in mind that I randomly selected Nesting Dolls (2019) to watch from Prime one night. The synopsis had me at “sorority girls” and the trailer looked slightly art-y so I went with it. Well friends, it turned out to be one of the most unhinged movies I have ever seen. If you’re the kind of person who cracks under the pressure to make a decision, man are you going to hate this movie.
Here’s the trailer:
It’s the typical horror movie setting of a group of friends spending time at an isolated lake house. What’s not typical is that there are three female leads and barely any men in this movie. It’s also not typical that one of the characters gets killed off before the halfway point (sorority prank gone wrong). What seems like it should be the most horrible, climactic moment of the film is just the first stop on the expressway to rock bottom for these girls. There’s still the matter of how far they would go to not get caught. Especially when it turns out they didn’t actually kill their sorority sister! Whoops!
The last decade or so has turned the deranged sorority girl into a meme. They’re cultish. They’re obsessed with perfection. And they’re not afraid to write you pages long emails screaming at you until they get what they want. I don’t think I’ve seen a depiction of a sorority girl in recent memory that wasn’t supposed to be satire, or the object of a joke somehow. It seems like a super intense niche subculture that is actually perfect for depiction in horror except that it’s been preceded by such a glut of bimboified sorority girls that they’ve become a dead giveaway of b-horror. But you could never get a movie this dark with bimbos.
Nesting Dolls isn’t like that. None of these girls are presented as bimbos. Though they drink and talk about sex, the girls’ weekend seems like it would have been pretty boring if someone hadn’t been kind-of murdered.
It’s what happens here, in the aftermath of the almost-murder that makes the movie unhinged. It just keeps… going on and on. It’s hard not to scream at the TV and tell the girls what to do. Once they realize their friend is still alive, they have to decide whether to save her or whether to make sure she can never tell anyone what happened.
Nesting Dolls is currently streaming on Amazon Prime.