‘Relic’ (2020) Movie Review: Suspenseful Horror At Its Best

Relic is horror of a different kind. This time, there are no supernatural, paranormal, or third kind demons. The only demons involved in this film are those of a very real disease known simply as Dementia.


Director Natalie Erika James launches her debut with Relic. This film isn’t exactly ‘scary,’ aside from some very James Wan style suspense, but it’s definitely one of the most unsettling films I’ve ever seen. The mother, Edna (Robyn Nevin) has gone missing. Kay (Emily Mortimer) and her daughter, Sam (Bella Heathcote) decide to take a drive to Edna’s home. It’s big, and it’s rural. They begin to find clues leading up to the disappearance that also proves that Edna’s dementia is setting in.


Once Edna reappears, she doesn’t tell her daughter and granddaughter where she’s been, but obvious signs of something ill have occurred. Dirt and bruises leave one to try to understand exactly what’s gone on, as Edna’s mind is slowly slipping away.

The house seems to mimic what’s happening to Edna, and that only gives way to the eerie setting we’re tossed into. (Mortimer) and (Heathcote) lead an amazing duo, but watching (Nevin) is the kicker to the film. There isn’t a lot that you can usually do in a horror film with three people, but I’m not one to complain. More isn’t always better, and in this case, the film proves itself throughout.

The cinematography in the film is incredible, and the audible sense of dread is very real, and the acting is spot on. Performances that are simply award-worthy should be noted in this film. Quite a few exchanges throughout the film help give depth to the characters and their relationships.


The set pieces built for the film are among some of the best you’ll see for an indie film and are definitely among some of my favorites. I cannot go into this film, however; and say that there are lots of exciting moments. Because there simply aren’t. It’s a slow burn, but one that I feel can be enjoyed with an open mind, and knowing a little of what to expect from the film.

Very much enjoying the film, I look forward to more from Natalie Erika James. She’s already teased three horror movies that she’s writing. So, as is usually the case with any new director I stumble upon, I’m really excited to see what’s next! Relic is now available in select theaters as well as Digital and VOD.

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