"It’s here. Under the bed.”
Relic delivers on the haunted house tropes.
There’s a tone and mood that often permeates horror films that give you a constant sense of dread and terror. Sometimes, it’s broken up with laughs or jump scares, but that’s clearly not what director/co-writer Natalie Erika James is looking for. Her debut film Relic generates this sense of dread and terror but maintains it throughout in a quiet way that for some keeps them on the edges of their seats but for others leaves them feeling bored. Which are we? Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we add to our Horror Debuts series this member bonus episode, James’ 2020 film Relic.
Relic is a quiet but moody metaphorical horror film.
There are shadowy spirits lurking in the corners of Edna’s house, but are they really there? The way James constructs the film creates wonderful tension as we just catch glimpses of something in the shadows. It’s really a blink-and-you-miss-it type of treat because they’re not highlighted by musical stings that hit you over the head. We love the way she builds tension through these techniques, and how she uses her location to great effect.
The cast is wonderful as well. Emily Mortimer, Robyn Nevin and Bella Heathcote play the three generations of this family and as the story progresses, we are right there with mother and daughter as they try to sort out what’s wrong with Gram. Their performances become more affecting as the story reveals itself to be about the family struggle with Alzheimer’s. It’s a powerful metaphor handled well and works because of the power in the three lead performances.
Relic is a quiet horror film but one that works exceptionally well for us. It’s likely not for everyone, particularly people who are looking for those jump scares in their horror, but we had a great time watching it and talking about it. Check it out then tune in! The Next Reel – when the movie ends, our conversation begins!
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