The horror drama RELIC celebrated its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival – as a genre film, mind you. This makes film lovers sit up and take notice. And here they are actually dealing with another symbolically charged horror that hides much more than a mere shocker beneath its literal surface. We reveal more about this in our review.
Soon Sam can no longer trust her senses either.
The complete avoidance of jump scares until the end – even in the last third, when events escalate (if one can even speak of it), director Natalie Erika James never relies on cheap shock moments – underlines the primary drama character of “Relic”. Although the aesthetic methods of classic horror production are used towards the finale (the feeling that cameraman Charlie Sarroff conjures up with his work can easily be compared to John R. Leonetti’s work in “The Conjuring”), this never takes away the focus the deeply tragic story, which in turn supports the sometimes unbearable tension. The hints of a supernatural presence and the possibility that this is all just a terrible side effect of dementia feed off each other. This makes “Relic” largely uninteresting for the adrenaline junkies among horror fans, but if “Hereditary” or “It Comes at Night” is too focused on the genre, you should absolutely enjoy this.
“Robyn Nevin plays the grandmother, who no longer trusts her own senses, not only in an absolutely inscrutable way, but also simply has the necessary external appearance to function both as a kind of “scary figure” and as a pitiful victim of her failing memory.”
The makers here self-confidently don’t even make good on supposed promises, such as that something evil must inevitably follow eerie knocking noises from the walls or crazy furniture, but instead choose a very own approach to explain the puzzling events. And the resolution of the whole thing is even more heartwarming than many classic dramas about dementia.
Conclusion: In “Relic” a deeply sad dementia drama meets a classic haunted house story. Both elements inspire each other, so that in the end you don’t know whether you should find it all really sad or really scary.
“Relic” is expected to be available on DVD, Blu-ray and VOD in October.