Relic is a film by the Japanese-Australian director and writer Nathalie Erika James, released in 2020. It’s a psychological horror/drama film, following a female holy trinity, represented by The Mother Edma played by Robyn Nevin, The Daughter Kay Emilie Mortimer, and The Granddaughter Sam Bella Heathcote. Alongside the house which is represented as a sinking ship. This film starts following the flow of the water going down to reach Edma while she’s standing in front of the Christmas tree barefooted and that’s how the whole film is structured waiting for the end of Edma. There are three Acts throughout Relic.
The first Act can be titled Edma‘s mysterious disappearance and it ends when she reappears. The second act, Edma is in power, and that ends with her burying the family album of photos in the garden hiding it and showing her weakness to her daughter, making the audience realize that she’s weak, she’s a victim but also, in a scary way, as Edma screams at Kay “I’m still your mother!” Act three or the “Survival Mission.” Like any other horror film last act is saved for struggling to survive and to finally discover what’s going on who is the monster, which we discover in Relic that it’s a cursed heritage window and cursed family tree that’s doing this to Edma and the rest of her living family.
The water represents a great fact, we see running water at the beginning of the film and at the start of act 3 which plays on familiarity, the creepiness you felt at the start of the film you feel again before it ends. The notes are not just notes scattered all around for art direction they play a main factor in the story, they tell the things that should’ve left unsaid. They throw out the hidden thoughts and emotions of the characters Kay couldn’t leave her mum because she’s simply her mother and she loves her but she doesn’t say it herself it’s represented on a note. Also, the overthinking and the trauma Sam got in when she entered the other side of the house we’re displayed in front of her as notes. The acting is believable as there’s no spoon-feeding for the audience in terms of script and acting.
The Cinematography is simple but serves its purpose, not much of creativity in the angles or camera movements as we usually see in a James Wan or an Ari Aster film. The Sound plays a major contribution to any horror film; it was well mastered in this one. Countable and weak jump scares throughout the film. Which might not satisfy a horror film lover. The film is more drama than horror. It plays on dementia and very much on the Mother-Daughter relationship. The fact of forgetting itself can be scary to some and by putting it inside a horror film, well that’s very much scary without any addition.
This film will hunt you for a few hours after watching it. Films like Relic: The Hidden Face (2011,) The Boy (2016.) If you’re a random viewer or a moviegoer you will enjoy Relic (2020) on the other hand if you’re a horror film lover you might dislike it, as it won’t give you the adrenaline rush you’re expecting. But always remember never watch a film by its review!