The Nature of Nicholas explores LGBTQ+ growing pains with a scary touch


With Halloween simply across the nook, The Nature of Nicholas contends for a spot on the desk.

Released in 2002, the LGBTQ2S+ themed movie explores the life of a younger boy named Nicholas, his strained relationship with his mom, the haunting of his father’s ghost, and his attraction in direction of his finest buddy Bobby.

Though I wouldn’t strictly categorize the movie as horror, I additionally wouldn’t suggest it as a family-friendly movie. There are a few elements within the movie that may be surprisingly graphic for a film launched in 2002, however in any other case there aren’t a ton of soar scares or different spooks.

Instead, the movie explores the connection of Nicholas with his exterior surroundings in an absurdist manner, which makes for an uncomfortable and barely unsettling movie. For instance, after Nicholas kisses his buddy Bobby, a zombified model of his buddy seems in his room. The zombified model of his buddy blames Nicholas for making him this manner, but in addition blames Nicholas for not taking care of him.

In a manner, this slightly-gross, slightly-fake-looking (in spite of everything, it’s a 2002 movie!), zombified model of Bobby is each a manifestation of Nicholas’ guilt and Bobby’s wishes. Nicholas’ guilt in direction of his buddy as a growing ache of a baby exploring his sexuality and romantic pursuits manifests as this absurdist creature. Therein lies the “creepy” issue of this film. Not solely is the zombie a bit unsettling to take a look at, however the hanging guilt is suffocating all through the film.

Aside from this, Nicholas additionally has to deal with his father’s ghost following him round. Nicholas’s relationship with his mom is sort of strained, however the film doesn’t reveal when this began. All we all know is that his mom is in a relationship with a new man, who Nicholas doesn’t really feel ecstatic about. Throughout the film, this man additionally continually asks Nicholas if he has a girlfriend, thus pressuring him to reply a bit vaguely. In some methods, he’s an everlasting pillar of a heteronormative society that’s Nicholas’ actual life horror story.

The film itself is shot in a very retro and nostalgic-looking manner. Its grain surprisingly helps the childhood-feel of progress, quite than reflecting the look of an outdated older film. Besides that, the film is shot within the Canadian prairies, and the huge expanses of land are alienating — one thing that helps the film set up its tone very properly. 

The Nature of Nicholas is a movie that feels deeply acquainted. Even earlier than figuring out the film was shot near residence, its exploration of childhood confusion, LGBTQ2S+ themes, and considerably bittersweet decision are facets of life many of us are carefully acquainted with. It’s fascinating to see a film discover these themes in a manner that presents these challenges as horrors, and never as a pleasant hurdle in direction of a well-defined “better end.”

After watching, I undoubtedly needed to mull over the film for a whereas. This coming of age story is unquestionably not one to overlook and its touch of horror and suspense is ideal for getting viewers within the Halloween temper.

A 2K remastered model of The Nature of Nicholas is taking part in on the Metro Cinema on October 17 at 9:30 p.m.