Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Relic is Beautiful, Sad, & Sinister

Relic
slow burns through the anguish, regret, and duty of three generations of women facing a haunting deterioration. The effects dementia has on the afflicted and those around them is devastating and sorrowful, and yet there seems to be something much more sinister at work, as inky shadows lurk in every corner. Our footing is never secure on any one answer. 

Filmed in cold, blue light the home itself is an unwelcoming character with walls that practically breathe, and closets that seem like throats to a dark abyss. It seems to talk through constant knocks on the walls, and yet the house itself is also deteriorating as fast as the grandmother, rapidly being infested by black mold, nauseatingly realized in every stain. 

The superb performances are raw and deeply affecting as the characters face trauma from the past, neglect and abandonment. This is one of the best elements that women screenwriters and directors bring to horror. An emotional core as transcendent as any villain that resonates deeply and universally, and isn’t easy to shake. Just as the ambiguous ghost story culminates into a labyrinthian chase of sinister shadows there is a slight-of-hand, and the emotional through-line lands the ending. A beautiful, sad, horror film and one of the best of year.