Relic is a 2020 Australian psychological horror film directed by Natalie Erika James from a screenplay by James and Christian White. The film stars Emily Mortimer, Robyn Nevin, and Bella Heathcote. It was released on 3rd July 2020 in the United States by IFC Midnight, and July 10th in Australia.
The story synopsis: A daughter, mother and grandmother are haunted by a manifestation of dementia that consumes their family’s home.
The film opens up it appears to be night time a bathtub overflowing with water trailing downstairs to a silhouette of an elderly woman standing in the doorway of her living room the Christmas tree lights fading in and out on her tree. We see her turn her face away from the room a shadowy figure appears before the screen fades to Title.
A Car is seen driving on a highway; Kay receives a phone call from Constable Mike Adler that her mother hasn’t been seen by the neighbors in a few days. The Constable himself has also paid a visit to Edna’s home with no luck in seeing her either. Sam and Kay are driving out to her home to see what is going on. Upon arriving they search the house not finding any sign of Edna. Kay goes to speak to Constable Adler informing him the last time she talked to her mother was several weeks ago. Edna forgets things often, flooded her home last Christmas, hasn’t driven anywhere as her car still sits parked at home. So the question remains Where did Edna Go?
A search party commences everyone goes out into the forest searching for any trace of Edna turning up nothing. Where could she of possibly gone? Almost like she’s vanished into thin air. Back at the family home Sam mentions the locks on the door questioning if they’re new? Kay informs her daughter that they are in fact new locks; that Edna called her several weeks ago claiming to be afraid of someone or something letting themselves into the house. Doors found open, lights left on and furniture shifted around. Sam questions her mother; Kay wondering why she didn’t tell her sooner. While Kay sleeps we see flashes of disturbing imagery then back to reality a hand comes into frame brushing hair out of Kay’s sleeping face. Morning arrives Kay wakes up hearing a teakettle whistling coming from the kitchen upon investigating Kay sees her mother Edna standing in the kitchen at the stove her back to her. Where did Edna come from? Where had she been these were questions Kay asked her Edna’s only response was “Tea?”. As if nothing had happened and everything was normal. Doctor Stanley proceeds to check her out finding nothing physically wrong with her as far as injuries go. She insists that Edna not to be left alone anymore. Which causes Kay to consider putting her mother into a nursing home as she is unable to care for her. Kay notices while doing the laundry later on there’s blood on Edna’s bathrobe but there’s no visible wounds on her at the time. questioning her mother about her whereabouts. Night time comes and Edna is sitting in front of her mirror she opens her nightgown just enough to see a giant black spot like abrasion on her chest. What could be causing that?
You start to notice the atmosphere shift in the film from Edna’s black spot reveal her behavior changes, becoming more unpredictable and violent towards herself and her loved ones. Burying her memories. She appears to be losing her sense of self. Tries to convince her daughter Kay that something evil and cold is in the house. Black mold starts to consume the house best way to reference what you see as a manifestation of Dementia. When I was a HHA I used to work with people who had Dementia; it’s a difficult disorder it truly changes a person. There’s personality changes, memory loss and the individuals reasoning becomes impaired. They forget who there family is and who they are. They lose sense of who they are that’s scary in my opinion.
Sam becomes lost searching for answers as to why her Gran is acting the way she is and why a certain room in the house is locked. This part of the house with the locked door becomes a “maze” to Sam making the house out to be bigger than it truly is. Meanwhile Kay finds her mother stabbing at her chest in the bathtub digging at the black spot. Edna is literally decaying away that is what Dementia does it strips away all that you are changes you leaving a shell of who you once were.
You will have to watch this film for yourself to know what happens in the end. My Background with working with people with Dementia made it easier for me to decipher the meaning behind the story of this film. Dementia can manifest into various forms of symbology I noticed several throughout this film. The horror idea is to literalize the concept of dementia as an actual force. It has envisioned this personification both as a creeping decay that resembles black mold, slowly overtaking Edna’s house, and as a creeping decay taking over Edna herself.
Overall I liked this film; the atmosphere was spot on and the story was good.The acting wasn’t bad either. In conclusion I recommend you watch this film. I hope you enjoyed my review.