Review: Relic

Title: Relic
MPAA Rating: Not Yet Rated
Director: Natalie Erika James
Starring: Emily Mortimer, Robyn Nevin, Bella Heathcote
Runtime: 1 hr 29 mins

What It Is: Edna (Nevin) goes missing for a brief period of time. Concerned for her safety, her daughter Kay (Mortimer) and granddaughter Sam (Heathcote) stay at her house as they await her return, or clues for which we she went. Edna soon returns, though something about her is off. As Kay and Sam unravel more and more about Edna and their relationships, so does the reality of Edna’s worsening condition and her home.

What We Think: I can’t beat around the bush with this one: it was intense, creepy, and emotionally jarring. It’s a hypnotic and heavy reality that is faced here, although the slow pacing and mysterious elements will have you guessing as to what the catalyst to the horror is even when you think you have it all figured out. The message, in the end, is the expression of the horror of what all of us will have to eventually face. Concept aside, this is certainly a creepy film. I don’t usually get frightened by horror films as we all know a fat majority of installments are predictable to all hell, but the way the film throws unexpected scenarios, well, it threw me off. I was sincerely starting to get really creeped out as we’re sent down a heavily disorienting, psychologically-attributed mess where it seems the only way to win is to escape. It is darkly surreal to the maximum in many of its later scenes, and I was both loving and hating it (as much as I wanted to, I did not look away and I’m glad I braved it). The performances by the cast are strong, the story overall is fascinating with puzzle pieces left for you to connect on your own (meaning a high re-watchability) and ends on a deliciously strong note. I won’t lie, despite having literally no real-life experience with the subject matter this film is based on, it still had me tearing up. What I would have like to have seen more of is some relatable and grounded interactivity between the three lead to contribute more towards the relationship building, especially during the slow-paced first act, but nonetheless the heart and scares were delivered with incredible precision and sentiment. It was sort of a humbling watch if not a humble movie within itself, never overstepping boundaries and staying within the line of how the emotional distress affects the characters and their choices. The special effects are wonderful and it looks as it should in order to really make you feel the confusion and helplessness the characters feel. It is emotionally permeating.

Our Grade: B+, It reminded me of a lot of works I really admire, such as The Shining, P.T., The Taking of Deborah Logan, The Babadook, and music artist The Caretaker. It brought me to a place I really couldn’t anticipate–in reality, no one really does. The creepiness is eventual but gratuitous (thankfully) and the sense of humanity very progressive. There were also certain subtleties and clues throughout the movie that I noticed and could really only finally connect by the time the film began to gain heat, which is always exciting. This is a smart film that lends you a very strange and horrifying metaphor for a truth we all have to face with our loved ones as well as entrusts much intelligence with its audience. There is so much to appreciate about this film and I really hope it gains the following it deserves. It ended up being quite breathtaking… Though it is a B+, it is a strong B+ and could very well be bumped up in the future as this film will not be easy to get out of my brain.

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Chai Simone Written by: