Reely Bernie Horror Fest: Relic – 2020

Origin/Director: Australia, USA/Natalie Erika James

Viewings Tally: This is my first viewing! I figured I should add a recent horror release to my list, and this one received above average reviews last summer.

Synopsis: When Edna – the elderly and widowed matriarch of the family – goes missing, her daughter and granddaughter travel to their remote family home to find her. Soon after her return, they start to discover a sinister presence haunting the house and taking control of Edna. [Letterboxd]

Reely Bernie’s Take: This is what true horror is all about – ominous, brooding, and reliant on the viewer’s imagination more than surface-level shock “value.” This is the movie that searches for what literally and metaphorically lurks in the closet in a room and the room within that closet. From point A to Z, the entire movie makes sense upon completion, but the journey is heart-pounding and even frustrating, and only until the denouement do you realize the aggravation is exactly the point. I don’t want to give anything away, but each symbol, action, and crawl through a hole in a wall fulfills a metaphor on grief and the relief that comes with accepting that grief.

Emily Mortimer and Bella Heathcote

Chicago Sun Times “film critic,” Richard Roeper, called it the “feel dread of the year,” and he couldn’t be any more wrong and sensationalist in his statement. I felt the tension lift at the end, I understood what talented Director Natalie Erika James was trying to convey, and, believe it or not, I enjoyed the bittersweet concept of “letting go” and even smiled during the credits.

Although this family could use a few therapy sessions and get in touch with their affectionate side, they are dealing with a disease and a universal experience all families encounter at a certain point.

And, it’s at this point that we all have to go back to that old, decrepit home we grew up in, walk up the stairs, and open that back closet door we knew to fear as children. It’s just as scary as adults…

The Shot that Won’t Let Go:

This movie works with ambiguity in shadows and utter darkness. Remind you of the ending to “Blair Witch?”

Final Score: 4 hidden metaphors behind the wall out of 5

Anyone else see this? It’s currently on Apple TV. Big recommendation!

16 thoughts on “Reely Bernie Horror Fest: Relic – 2020

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    1. I hope you and Bailey like it. It’s a bit more divisive in appeal than I thought it would be. I admired its “horror” execution and sincere explanation afterwards. It worked for me, but I could see why some might stay irritated, haha

      Liked by 1 person

      1. We will catch it soon. I asked him last night…Have we seen this? The reason I asked is because we have seen so many horror films because of me…he said no but it’s coming up. I let him round up the modern horror movies….I handle the old.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. The responses to this, that I’ve seen anyway, have been all over the place, so I’m glad to see you give it a thumbs up. Although when movies create a divided response, that sometimes makes me want to see them even more 😁 (I’m Thinking of Ending Things is another good example)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So agree, Tom! This is my type of movie, and I was fine being anti-I.T.O.E.T. What a self-contempt disaster. You can find my review in Letterboxd. It was too much of a downer for me to include in my blog. I always appreciate your opinion and connection. You’ve introduced me to a fascinating blogging world. I love being a part of it!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah it’s a massive world out there to discover. I really need to go back and give my own Letterboxd some love. It’s been cobwebs for literally months at this point. Maybe even a full year. Yikes!

        Liked by 1 person

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