It’s nearly Halloween and whilst we question whether trick or treating will be allowed to happen, because God forbid the government allows kids to be fed, many of us shall be keeping indoors, looking to binge horror film after horror film this spooky season. Although there are countless modern, vintage and iconic classics to choose from, those looking for something brand new, I present to you, Natalie Erika James’ feature debut, Relic.
Relic tells the story of mother and daughter, Kay and Sam, played by Emily Mortimer and Bella Heathcote respectfully, who visit their mother/grandmother, Edna, played by Robyn Nevin, after they are informed that she has gone missing.
When they arrive they notice that some furniture has been moved position and mould is starting to grow all over the house. When Kay reveals to Sam that Edna has been worrying about someone getting into her house, the pair begin to worry about what might have happened to her.
Rather similar to fellow Australian horror film, Jennifer Kent’s The Babadook, Relic is the horror story manifestation of a real illness that plagues not only those affected by it, but those around them. But, despite sharing similar concepts of horror, this particular film is exceptional in its own unique ways.
If you’re expecting jump scares and horror cliché’s, then this isn’t the film for you as Relic is an incredibly atmospheric and mysterious film. Filmmaker Natalie Erika James subversively builds horror, not from a demon or monster, but from a haunting sense of atmospheric dread that slowly increases until it’s rather divisive, emotional, but in my opinion, surprisingly perfect finale.
As well as an outstanding sense of atmosphere and an ending that could leave you in tears, Relic also boasts three excellent performances from its three leading ladies. Emily Mortimer and Bella Heathcote are amazing in the film, however it is Robyn Nevin that steals the show as the ominous and creepy old woman that’s losing her memory in the most horrific way possible.
Overall, this is a horror film with a lot more to express than the average haunted house film and it does so with incredible creativity. With exceptional performances all round and an assured feature debut from Natalie Erika James, Relic is a provocative horror film that is scarier the more you invest into it.
Relic will be released in select theaters tomorrow, October 30th.