MESSAGE IN THE MOVIES
It’s a summons that every adult child dreads. Your mother has been missing for several days. Could you come back home and assist the police?
Kay (Mortimer) and her college-age daughter Sam (Bella Heathcote) respond to the call and travel to the home where Edna (Nevin) has been living alone for many years. It is a fairly large house for a single person and even larger when that person is not there. The domicile is filled with the detritus of eighty plus years of life alongside of old furniture, dust and grime. And – yes – quite a bit of black mold.
Kay and Sam haven’t visited Edna for quite a while, which particularly fills Kay with real regret. When Edna finally reappears back at the house, she is visibly confused and disoriented. Kay decides to stay for a few more days and Sam offers to adjust her college schedule so that she can extend care until they figure out a plan for a retirement community of some kind.
Yet there is much that is not quite right. Bathtub taps have a habit to run too long and overflow. There are strange locks on some of the doors and cryptic Post It notes scattered around the house. Edna is prone to sudden mood swings. Without getting too specific, the film suggests that perhaps the intervention from daughter and granddaughter is too little, too late. And with the threat of increasing dementia, things are primed to go completely off the rails.
Which they do.
Relic is not a film for everyone. Most horror fans will not appreciate its slow pace and lack of jump scares. Logical thinkers will want more things spelled out rather than intimated. If you are currently a caregiver for someone with dementia or Alzheimer’s, this may not be for you. (I personally found Relic to have much sympathy with this topic, which sets it apart from M. Night Shyalaman’s 2015 The Visit which is exploitative in comparison.) This film is unsettling, with an ingenious art design that reveals a house filled with hidden passageways, many doors, and a shifting perspective not only of physical dimensions but of the present and the past. The film concludes with a final image that is jarring and unforgettable, horrid and poignant at the same time.
I found Relic to be original and haunting, with a great performance by Robyn Nevins as Edna and a stunning directorial debut for Australian Natalie Erika James.
While there are some movies about family that may inspire you to call your mother, Relic is a film that may remind you to take care of your mother and to keep in touch on a regular basis.
Halo and Pitchfork Rating:
Three halos: A haunting and evocative film about a family dealing with the diminishments associated with aging.
Two pitchforks: Some swearing and a generous smattering of creepy images, including some body horror.
Do you have comments about this movie or movie review? E-mail your comments. (Your name and UM affiliation must be supplied in order for your comments to be posted.)
Rev. Bruce Batchelor-Glader
COMMENTS! Do you have comments about this movie or movie review?
E-mail comments. (Comments will be posted to our web site.)
The East Ohio Conference Office:
located in North Canton, OH,
near Akron-Canton Airport.
8800 Cleveland Ave. NW
North Canton, OH 44720
Local: (330) 499-3972
Toll Free: (800) 831-3972
Fax: (330) 499-3279
Monday through Friday
8:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
© EAST OHIO CONFERENCE. All Rights Reserved.