Australian horror movies seem to be on the rise and Relic is the latest to arrive to severely creep out it’s audiences. In a style similar to the Babadook, this isn’t one of your by the numbers schlock jump scare movies. Relic slowly ratchets up the tension like a pressure cooker before releasing the steam valve for the climax.
When elderly mother Edna (Robyn Nevin), inexplicably vanishes, her daughter Kay (Emily Mortimer) and granddaughter Sam (Bella Heathcote) rush to their family’s decaying country home, finding clues of her increasing dementia scattered around the house in her absence.
After Edna returns just as mysteriously as she disappeared, Kay’s concern that her mother seems unwilling or unable to say where she’s been clashes with Sam’s unabashed enthusiasm to have her grandma back. As Edna’s behaviour turns increasingly volatile, both begin to sense that an insidious presence in the house might be taking control of her.
Relic is a brilliant example of how to employ the slow burn of an impending sense of dread and you having absolutely no control over the oncoming conclusion. With the heartbreaking portrayal of dementia, coupled with some beautifully acted scenes of a family loosing their mother/grandmother to this terrible disease, Relic is not your straightforward by the numbers horror, it adds a layer of family drama that you could be forgiven that you’re not actually watching a psychological horror at all.
The cast are simply terrific, for the mot part this is pretty much three hander with Robyn Nevin outstanding as the frail and fading away Edna. Emily Mortimer and Bella Heathcote are also fantastic as they struggle to come to terms with Edna’s mindset and the curious events that are coming to bear. Director Natalie Erika, has produced one of the better horrors of recent months after a slew of nonsense from the Annabelle/Nun series to the recent Fantasy Island and The Craft: Legacy doing absolutely nothing for the genre. Erika manages to create a sense of absolute foreboding, that by the time the end credits roll, you’ll realise you’ve been holding your breath the whole time and will finally be able to breath again.
With the building uneasiness and sheer claustrophobia of the proceedings, Relic may not be your super glossy CGI gorefest but all the better for it. If you simply want to be creeped out to the point where you won’t be able to wander round your house without the lights on, then Relic is the film for you.
Signature Entertainment presents Relic on Digital HD 8 January and Blu-ray & DVD 18 January 2021