I read this on the back of the giant clamshell box for the film:
Robin Groves stars as Lauren in The Nesting, a basheroo of a tale about a bordello that became a haunted house...Gloria Grahame is a madam phantom who leads a silky entourage of poltergeist prostitutes in their bloodcurdling day of vengeance.and holy crap was I excited! 1981! Poltergeist prostitutes! "Basheroo"! I was sure- like, 10,000% sure- that I was about to watch the greatest movie ever made. Just like those BEAUTIFUL HAMS, however, this was simply not meant to be.
Lauren is an agoraphobic novelist from New York City who decides that a dose of country livin' is just the ticket to get her past her writer's block and her personal demons. She finds a strange octagonal house in the middle of nowhere, rents it, hears noises, has weird dreams, disrobes and fondles herself in front of a mirror, gets stuck on the roof, sees ghosts, and doesn't write a single word...though not necessarily in that order.
The Nesting still sounds awesome, doesn't it? It sure does...but it sure ain't. This film is one of those Tiffanies I talk about from time to time; it coulda been so beautiful, it coulda been so right. Unfortunately, The Nesting is a bloated affair that overstays its welcome by a good half hour and squanders any creepy sequences- and there are definitely a few creepy sequences- by...well, by being incredibly boring.
The idea of an agoraphobe being trapped in a haunted house is a good one, but then Lauren is only truly agoraphobic when the plot absolutely demands it- otherwise she's driving around, chatting with locals, and doing her thing. I always like a ghost story, and I thought I'd love a prostitute ghost story...but there's no consistency to these prosti-ghosts. They cackle and leave their high heels around the house, but to what end? Early on they help Lauren fend off the advances of a creepy handyman, but when Lauren figures out their story they decide they hate her. There's just no pleasing a spectral hooker, I guess.
Padding a film is never, ever a good idea, but The Nesting is filled with endless sequences of Lauren walking around the house doing a whole lot of nothing. There's even an interminable car chase, the highlight of which comes when you realize that there's only one tire-squealing sound effect and it's played on a loop.
That said, when The Nesting gets it right, it really gets it right. The octagonal house is indeed spooky, the few killings are well-done and a bit gruesome, and I'm always a sucker for creaky, creepy noises emanating from darkened corners. Somehow in the end, though, none of it adds up and the movie is nothing more than squandered opportunities. This bums me out even more than realizing that there is no store called BEAUTIFUL HAMS. Man, yesterday was a drag!