Relic | 2020 | R | – 3.7.5
A woman (Emily Mortimer) is worried when her elderly mother (Robyn Nevin) inexplicably disappears from her large, decaying and quite isolated house, and then appears without explanation but with a few bruises and apparent dementia. Exploring the house and the surrounding woods yields no answers, while many things go bump in the night. Also with Bella Heathcote, Jeremy Stanford and Chris Bunton. Directed by Natalie Erika James. [Running Time: 1:29]
Relic SEX/NUDITY 3
– A bathtub overruns and water pours across the bathroom floor, through a hallway, down a flight of stairs and into a downstairs room where a nude woman stands (we see her fully nude from the back including her bare back and buttocks). A young woman sits in a bathtub with water covering all but her knees and shoulders. A woman wears a low-cut sweater that reveals cleavage. We see a nude, creepy emaciated person with ribs poking against the skin and shoulders and abdomen (details are not clear).
Relic VIOLENCE/GORE 7
– A woman finds another woman stabbing herself in the face with a small knife (we see bloody gashes on her face); the wounded woman takes a step and her leg breaks (we see a bloody bone poke through the flesh) and she falls to the floor and pulls herself along (we see more bones break in her arms and other leg with more blood). A woman carries an injured woman up a flight of stairs, places her on a bed and she starts pulling off skin and flesh in close-up, separating it from her body (we see some bloody skin underneath and eventually dark, stretched flesh); she pulls her hair out and removes the skin from her face and head, then lays her down on the bed and caresses her tenderly before lying next to her (the flayed person looks mummified). A few dream sequences show a rundown cabin where there is a person (looking emaciated) seated on a bed and a decomposing body on the floor with mold growing on the walls; one time the decomposing body opens its eyes.
► A woman grabs another woman by the legs and tries to pull her through a hole in a wall; they both get back through the hole and the first woman pounces on the second woman and a young woman until the second woman hits her on the head with a pipe (blood sprays) and knocks her out. A young woman enters her grandmother’s room and hears her talking to someone; the young woman sees that the older woman has blood on her hands (she is using a small knife to carve a candle and has cut herself) and tries to help her but the older woman throws things on the floor and yells at her to get out.
► A woman quizzes her adult granddaughter about where she got a ring she is wearing; the woman then accuses her of stealing it from her, pulls on the ring and bruises the younger woman’s finger and the young woman storms out of the room. A man describes that his son had been locked in a closet by a woman and that he had paint under his fingernails from scratching the door to get out (we do not see the injuries and the young man is OK). A woman walks into a forest and her adult daughter follows her to find her eating photographs from a photo album; the daughter tries to pull the pictures out of her mouth and the older woman bites her on the hand (we see some blood). An elderly woman sits in a tub and we see darkened flesh on her chest and shoulders; she scratches herself and we see that there seem to be holes opening on the skin. A woman stands on a stool to see into a bathroom where her elderly mother is bathing and she falls to the floor (no injuries are seen); the elderly woman leaves the bathroom carrying a small knife in her hand and she goes to a room where she throws things around breaking things.
► A young woman investigates hallways in a house and when she realizes something is wrong she tries to go back the way she came, but there is no way out and the ceiling appears to be lowering; she pounds on a wall with a pipe, breaks through it and she and her mother climb through the hole later. A young woman wakes to rhythmic banging coming from another room in a house; she finds the washing machine spinning with nothing in it and turns it off. A young woman in a bathtub sees shadowy movement under the door and calls out for her grandmother; the shadow then moves away from the door. A woman wakes to noises in a house and sees shadowy movement inside a bathroom; nothing is there when she opens the door. A woman enters a room filled with boxes, she hears a noise in the closet, opens the door, sees a dry-cleaning bag moving as if someone is breathing in it, moves the closet aside abruptly and finds dark stains on the wall that look like mold. A woman hears thumping inside a wall and a dragging sound that leads from the mantel to the ceiling (we see a darkened smudge on the wall). A bathtub overruns and water pours across the bathroom floor, through a hallway, down a flight of stairs and into a downstairs room where a nude woman stands (please see the Sex/Nudity category for more details) as lights flash on and off. A woman buries a photo album in the ground in the woods.
► An elderly woman tells her adult daughter, “It’s here, under the bed” and when the woman checks under the bed, the first woman drops a book on her head and the second woman bangs her head on the bed frame and curses (no injury is shown). A few scenes show a heavily shadowed figure moving out of the shadows; once in a room where lights flash on and off, once under a bed as a woman looks under to see if anything is there, and a couple of times in hallways. A woman enters a bedroom and calls out to her mother who she thinks is in the bed, and she pulls back the bedclothes to find that her mother is not there. Dark stains spread across a stained-glass window and on a floor and walls in a house, and on the walls and bedclothes in a cabin.
► We hear a phone message when a man calls a woman to tell her that her elderly mother had not been seen for a while and that he went to check on her but she wouldn’t come to the door. A woman goes to a police station to file a missing person’s report for her mother. Many people gather and walk through a forest searching for a missing elderly woman. A Post-It note reads, “Don’t follow it.” A woman says that her mother threatened to lock her in a cabin in the woods when she was being a brat. A woman says of her elderly mother, “She forgets things” several times. A woman talks as if there is someone in the room with her and says, “You’re scaring me.” Two women argue in a few scenes.
► A young woman knocks on the door of her grandmother’s house and climbs in through the pet door when she doesn’t answer; the woman is not found inside the house and we see rotting food on counters, and what looks like mold on walls when the young woman and another woman search the house. A woman tours a retirement home for her elderly mother and cries alone in her car afterward.
► A doctor examines an elderly woman that had been missing for several days and she sees a dark bruise on her chest; we later see the bruise and it is large and very dark. A young woman sees a black spot appear on a woman’s’ back. An elderly woman shows up at her home and we see her bare feet with discolored skin (it’s not clear if it is dirt or from exposure); she cannot explain where she was. A woman finds blood on a woman’s nightgown. Three women brush their teeth and spit below the frame. A woman stares at her adult daughter, gets up from a table and urinates on the floor (we see a puddle on the floor).
Relic LANGUAGE 5
– About 3 F-words, 1 scatological term, name-calling (crazy, brat, retard), 4 religious exclamations (e.g. Jesus Christ, God, Jesus). | profanity glossary |
Relic SUBSTANCE USE
– A young woman smokes something on a porch (it’s not clear whether it is marijuana or tobacco) and shares some with a younger man.
Relic DISCUSSION TOPICS
– Aging, dementia, family, fear of losing everything, cognitive impairment.
– With elderly folks, it’s hard to tell if they’re deteriorating naturally or are becoming possessed.
Be aware that while we do our best to avoid spoilers it is impossible to disguise all details and some may reveal crucial plot elements.
We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and older reviews are not as complete & accurate as recent ones; we plan to revisit and correct older reviews as resources and time permits.
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