The awful condition of Dementia mixed with the usual haunted house horror tropes, makes Natalie Erika James’s debut flick a powerful watch…..
Fans of Insidious and The Conjuring may look at Relic as film that can scratch that itch for a new tale of terror and ghostly bumps in the night, but Natalie Erika Jame’s smart feature debut, is a different beast when you compare it to those two successful franchises.
Yes, we have the all the cliche set-pieces, flickering lights, sounds from behind the walls, nightmarish dreams, but with the backdrop of the dementia condition, Relic just oozes with high class dread and fear and is one of the best horror films you’ll see in 2020.
A stunning trio performances by Emily Mortimer, Bella Heathcote and Robyn Nevin, elevates the film to another level as unlike most “haunted” flicks, you feel this is actually real, edged on by a deeply visual film where every lingering shot, drips out the feeling of dread and despair.
Edna (Nevin) lives on her own and goes missing which results in her daughter Kay (Mortimer) and Grandaugher Sam (Heathcote) going to her home in hope to find her, especially with her recent lapses in memory loss.
They find her armchair turned to face the window, an oddly stain of decay on the walls and post it notes that creepliy state “Don’t follow it”.
A search through the local woods find no trace until one morning, Edna turns up, with no recollection where she has been, apart from a puzzling dark bruise on her chest.
Kay and Sam, fearing for their loved one’s deteriorating condition, stay to help out but discover that there could well be something lurking in the shadows in the deep part of the house. Added to Edna’s erratic mood swings, both Mum and Daugher have to show all their love, to hold on to their dearest….but would that even be enough?
Relic is a powerhouse of a horror film that refuses to play by the rules and let’s the imagination of the viewer take hold, which is a more powerful tool than having to rely on cheap scares.
It may not work for the teen audience who want more bangs for their bucks, but slow burn horror fanatics will cherish every moment of its painful journey.
The film chokes the air from your lungs as a growing despair comes all over you as what we have is a dark family drama of the anguish of losing a loved one, with shades of the most darkest of horror rearing its head now and again.
The ending may leave a few questioning what has happened, but when a film leaves you feeling utterly baffled and yet emotionally drained, then you know it’s done exactly what it’s set out to do.