Thursday, July 9, 2020

Relic - Movie Review

The Movie: Relic

The Director: Natalie Erika James

The Cast: Emily Mortimer, Bella Heathcote, Robyn Nevin

The Story: A daughter, mother and grandmother are haunted by a manifestation of dementia that consumes their family's home.

The Review:
You know those movies that give you the creeps right from the start and then proceed to build on that all the way through to the end? The ones that have you looking down that dark hallway and diving under the covers as you head to bed. The kind of movie that makes closets, basements, and backyard sheds seem like the worst possible places on the planet. All of those things are what Relic is in a very gloomy, dark, and foreboding way and holy crap, I still feel like I need to brush it off of me well after having watched it. The movie is much more dread and angst and chills than it is jump scares and gore which is totally fine by me. I mean, I love all of that, but what this movie does, it does very, very well.

Natalie Erika James directed and co-wrote the movie, which is her first feature film, and holy demonic possessions Batman, this was one heck of a feature debut. The way she sometimes literally twists and turns this haunted house spook fest is so impressive and original and such a fresh take on the horror genre as a whole, I was excited to watch it, excited while watching it, and then excited to have watched it with all of that emotion building to such a happy conclusion if while the movie does quite the opposite. The devil is really in the details with this film and the story will keep you guessing all the way up to a couple twists at the end that will also set it apart from films that are in the same world.

There are three main characters in the movie, a grandma, a mom, and a daughter which is sort of a classic fairy tale set up and there is definitely a fair amount of Grimm story telling going on in this movie (pun intended, of course). Robyn Nevin, Emily Mortimer, and Bella Heathcote fill the three roles respectively which of course makes sense if you think about how old each of them are but I suppose that's not important right now. Nevin absolutely kills it playing the grandma who seems eccentric and might be suffering from dementia, but the film makers show the audience little bits and pieces that set her up for a much more evil and twisted fate. When the stuff really starts to hit the fan is when the character really goes off the rails and Nevin was more than up to the task of creating some truly bone chilling moments of pure unadulterated creepiness.

One thing I really like about this movie is that it is just a hair under 90 minutes which is perfect as there isn't really any fluff or filler or stuff that drags things out to no end. The characters are introduced, the story is set up and, before you know it, things happen on the screen that make your skin crawl and will have you turning on lights and calling your loved ones. The set design is also a highlight as the creative team did a wonderful job at building, I guess is the right word, a house that is full on oozing with all the funk from creepy town they could find while also not having it look like every other horror house we've seen a million times over. During the third act, there are some really cool and innovative things that are down with and inside of the house that will freak you out just as much as anything else.

The Verdict:
Relic is and will be one of the best horror movies of the year. Throw away all of your expectations because this is not the movie you think it is. Well, maybe it is, but you're going to enjoy it either way. Grab the popcorn and your favorite stuffed animal, turn off the lights, and prepare yourself for a really fun bit of horror movie magic that will stick with you for maybe a bit longer than you want it to.

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