Film Review – Relic

Rating: ★★★★☆

Synopsis

After an elderly woman goes missing in the woods surrounding her home, a mother and daughter return home to find her but are haunted by her ever worsening, and all consuming, dementia.

Relic comes out this Friday, July 10th via all streaming platforms and I’ve got a review for you if you’re into the horror/thriller genre.

Please hit the jump for my thoughts on this upcoming film by Natalie Erika James.

Use Your Words

When I first head about this movie a few months ago, the only information available online were some praising comments from it’s premiere at Sundance and cast/director information. No trailer and not much prior feature film work from director Natalie Erika James. That said, a casting of Emily Mortimer (who is great in Shutter Island & Our Idiot Brother BTW), an acquisition by IFC Midnight (love most things they get their hands on), and some great comments after Sundance had my 100% on board for this film. Add a trailer earlier this summer and this film became a must see for me. Give me any film featuring dark, brooding horror with an emotional attachment and familiar relationships. It’s my jam.

Just because I am huge fan of this genre and these types of films doesn’t mean that other movie lovers, who may shy away from horror, won’t also enjoy this film. When compared to a lot of other IFC Midnight films, this was in is fairly tame in the excessive gore or excessive violence areas. Sure, this movie can be downright terrifying, but it tends to mess with your head and your heart much more than your stomach.

I am not one to follow a traditional review model and post an entire synopsis of the movie so here are some things I walked away with after one viewing:

  • The combined effort of director James and cinematographer Charlie Saroff is something truly stunning to behold. They have somehow put you into the mind of the dementia stricken grandma (Robyn Nevin) by showing her home as a living entity capable of breathing, sweating, and falling apart. Viewers become lost in the furthest nether regions of grandma’s ever decaying mind as represented by her old, decrepit home.
  • Though she becomes terrifying during many scenes in the film, one can’t also help but feel emotional for grandma as those closest to her fail to understand her mental state and begin to distance themselves from her. Wether it’s the once helpful boy next door who is now scared of his elderly neighbor, or daughter who wants to place mom into assisted living, grandma is slowly losing not just her mind, but also everyone in her life. If you’ve ever been there, this can be tough to watch, but executed perfectly by James.
  • The movie contains tons of metaphors that are sure to create talking points with your fellow movie goer after the film. Why all the locks in the house? What does great-grandpa’s cabin in the woods signify? Without giving things away, watch the film an be prepared to discuss all of the small details which can create tons of great talking points.
  • Scare scenes and creepy, bone chilling scenes are also here and will certainly put you on edge.

Now Show Me

Who Should I See This With?

As with most IFC Midnight movies, I probably wouldn’t take mom. This film is great for fans of thriller, horror, or psychological horror which can result in metaphorical discussion after the fact. Even if you’re not a fan of horror, this is great for anyone who might like a darker look at the human mind or mother, daughter, granddaughter relationships.

Final Thoughts

This movie is a fantastic combination of both psychological, relationship based thriller films like Mommie Dearest or Rosemary’s Baby and edge of your seat, dark horror movies like The Babadook or Hereditary. All of those films have themes of motherhood and strained mother/daughter relationships, but this film can also pull at your heart strings during the more intimate times. I honestly can’t think of a recent, or even older film, which has chilled me to the bone and also brought me close to tears at the same time. Highly recommend this one.

Showtimes, Trailer & Release Date

Relic will be available on Friday, July 10th in select theaters and all streaming services.

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