‘…aiming for the kind of generational distrust that fuelled Hereditary…’

It might only be the start of January 2021, but it’s time for our first full-on body horror freak-out of the new year, thanks to Natalie Erika James, whose debut feature should only be tackled by those steely of nerve and strong of stomach. Produced by Jake Gyllenhaal and exec-produced by The Russo Brothers, Relic has a decent provenance, but also has a USP in a crowded horror field; we’re harvesting a certain kind of discomfort that comes with getting old.

First up; be warned. This is a classy film, and not one that’s given to explanations, so if you want a nailed-down menu explaining the meaning of what you just saw; forget it. Fresh from her stint in Mary Poppins Returns, Emily Mortimer plays anxious mom Kay, who hopes that her daughter Sam (Bella Heathcote) will benefit from moving in with elderly mother Edna (Robyn Nevin) and her remote country pile. But things don’t go to plan, because Edna seems to be suffering from something more than dementia…

Relic is a serious minded horror that’s content to pick up on real-world issues, but plays them out by referencing genre tropes. Edna has vanished, and then returns, and seems a little different; like the family, the viewers are left to speculate on what’s gone down, but given the state of her physically, it was something very bad indeed. James seems to be aiming for the kind of generational distrust that fuelled Hereditary, and although there’s few of the knockout punches featured in Ari Aster’s film, the sense of creeping dread eventually works the same way.

Mortimer is pretty much good in everything, while Heathcote has shown her chops for horror in stomach-churners like The Neon Demon, Fifty Shades Darker and perennial tv soap Neighbours. They all give detailed, grounded performances, which pay off when Sam finds herself lost in the musty crawl-spaces of her granny’s house, and the walls seems to be closing in…Relic is more interested in tension, atmosphere and metaphors that jump scares, although the gore is extremely discomforting when it pops up. Decay and deterioration are the main ingredients here, and if you can bear the subject, and trigger warnings must apply here, Relic works wonders to make an effective feature play out on a short-film idea.

Relic hits the UK on Digital HD from Jan 11th and Blu-ray / DVD from Jan 18th 2021

Thanks to Signature for early access to this film.


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  1. I’m really surprised they let a 5 year old watch this! You tell your daddy he should be ashamed of himself.
    Watching movies like this will turn you into a hooligan. Or even worse, Scottish! 😉

                    • Went to see him give a talk on London’s South Bank, interesting guy. Great in many movies, Passenger 57 for a start. Demolition Man….

                    • Oh no, you mentioned Demolition Man. That was the movie I was thinking of! Of course, Stallone might have been so bad that he tainted everything, But I’ve watched the Blade trilogy too, so I feel pretty up and up on my Snipesopedia…

                    • I’m afraid that I found the Blade trilogy to be complete and utter cobblers.

                    • And for once in our long and established, but separated by a vast medium, careers, we can concur on something completely about some movies.

                      Is bollocks a curse over there? Cause if it is, I’d say the blade trilogy was bollocks…

                    • It’s cobblers, bollocks, rubbish, guff, muck, twaddle and cobblers again. Glad we had this talk. Don’t think I ever saw the third one, something died in me halfway through the second…

                    • Snipes quite an interesting guy, said he was only making vampire cobblers to finance his jazz biopic. Which never got made. Unlike his cretinous vampire trilogy.

                    • He was also a big tax evader here in the US. Funny how the guys making that much money seem to be the ones always trying to avoid the taxes.
                      Personally, I’m all for tax evasion. Taxes are evil. But you can’t preach out of one side of your mouth then try to pay out of your butt…

                    • He’s no role model when it comes to finances. You wouldn’t expect him to be short of a few bob. Very graceful man, moves like a dancer.

                      Can I ask, why during any electoral event, are there pics of people waiting hours to vote? Never waited to vote in my life. Never more than a minute in the booth. You have a tight grip on what’s happening, why is that?

                    • Those people, they’re the idiots. They’re like those people who stand outside of a department store all night to get $50 off a big tv on Black Friday or something.

                      The rest of us, we just go in, do our business and get out as quick as we can. I think it took me 30min tops in this past presidential election?

                    • Aha, there seems to be no coverage of the brisk voter. Makes sense.

                      I assume you voted for yourself.

                    • Exactly. The Brisk Voter has no tv presence, no catch. All those lazy slobs laying at home can’t identify with them. Us briskers, as we like to call ourselves, have things to do and places to be! No time for lollygagging on the couch while eating cheetos!

                      Absolutely I did. The Tyrant, Dr Lord Bookstooge for President. But without those voting machines of yours, there wasn’t a chance. But next election cycle, I’m a shoo-in!

                    • Yep, just in the process of getting parts swapped over the voting machines, but I’ll have them reprogrammed with your name on repeat for a rare 100% popular vote entirely for you. We should focus our campaign on the speed and efficiency of the voting process. Brisk Voters for Bookstooge.

                    • Brisk, I think that’s a tea here. I seem to remember they had quite amusing advertisements in the 90’s using puppets that looked like popular movie stars.

                      I can see the possibilities….

                    • Not all leaders are elected. But a landslide would rubber-stamp your dominance. How did your book give away go?

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