Relic. Quick Review

This Australian indie from first time feature writer-director Natalie Erika James is the latest entry in what certain critics would deem as “elevated horror.”In reality, all this refers to is a film that prioritises atmosphere over plot. When grandmother Edna (Robyn Nevin) goes missing daughter Kay ( Emily Mortimer and granddaughter Sam (Bella Heathcote are haunted by personifications of the grandmother’s dementia. While the film does what it sets out to do in terms of establishing tone and atmosphere effectively it needs more proverbial meat on the bone to have any impact beyond the type of critics likely to fall over themselves praising slow burns like this. The performances from the three leads are excellent but they are deserving of better material then what the screenplay gives them. There’s certainly enough here for fans of indie horror to get something out of even if the film lacks any knockout elements.
What eventually elevated the film for this critic was it’s very polarising ending. There’s certainly an arguments to be made for and against the way the film chooses to conclude this critic thought the final 10 minutes were brilliant. Without giving too much away the ending dramatises core elements of grief and loss in the most effective way possible without overcoming to schmaltzy sentimentality. In this viewers mind the fact the ending sticks the landing so brilliantly is what makes the overall film worth seeing. Given other reviews, this ending will not work for everyone. The film may well be worth checking out for fans of slow-burn indie horror but those that don’t key in/are existing fans of the tone and style within the genre will struggle with it. This critic is going to air on side of positivity with a final score that reflects how brilliantly he thought the ending stuck the landing. Other viewers will argue the ending is pretentious nonsense. The great thing about films as a form of creative expression is that a large part of individual viewer reactions is entirely subjective. There’s no better example of that in current independent film making then Relic.

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