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Relic is a physicological horror movie that sees a woman link her mother’s increasingly volatile behavior to an evil presence at their family’s decaying country home.
At first glance, Relic might seem like another horror movie, where a haunted house slowly consumes yet another unsuspecting family. However, on a closer look, you’ll find that the movie uses supernatural elements to mirror the real world and depict a terrifying illness.
Note: This post is full Spoilers, so if you haven’t seen Relic and don’t want anything spoiled, please don’t continue. If you’re looking for where to watch Relic, you can catch it on amazon, and then come back to read this review.
Relic essentially has three female protagonists from the same family: Edna, Kay, and Sam.
When we first meet Kay, she and her daughter Sam on their way to check up on her mum Enda. However, they arrive to find that Enda is missing and they spend the next couple of days searching for her.
During this period, we learn that Kay and her Mother have an icy relationship. They have not seen each other for months and are, in many ways, estranged. And while Kay tries to defending her negligence, we later learn that she feels guilty for leaving her mom alone.
After three days of searching with the police, Edna suddenly appears at her house. However, she has no memories of the past few days. This scene is the first hint we get that Enda is suffering from dementia. And while we initially think her case is mild, Relic cleverly reveals the real state of Enda’s mental health through two interconnected concepts.
The first concept is the black spot on Edna’s chest. When Edna’s dementia is still in its earlier stages, the spot appears like a faded bruise. But as the 75-year-old loses herself to dementia, the mark turns black and spreads throughout her body.
By the end of the film, this mysterious scar completely covers Edna’s body, turning her into a monstrous black creature that can no longer recognize her child or granddaughter, showing us that Edna has succumbed to dementia.
Relic mirrors this idea through its second concept, which is the black mold in Enda’s House.
When Kay and Sam first arrive, they notice traces of black mold around Enda’s house. However, as the movie progresses, Sam realizes that the mold has spread throughout the house, turning it into a monstrous labyrinth
Relic uses both the mold and the mark on Enda’s chest to represent the vicious illness that is dementia. And in the movie, both concepts slowly consume their victims until they turn into an unrecognizable monster.
After Edna loses herself to dementia, neither Kay nor Sam recognize her anymore. And when Enda attacks them, the mother and daughter flee for their lives.
But just before they leave, Kay hears her mother call out to her. And it’s at this point that Kay realizes that this was the same fate her great grandfather suffered.
We learn through Kay’s nightmares that her Great grandfather also had dementia. But when his case worsened, his family abandons him to die confused and alone.
Fed up with making excuses, Kay carries her mother to her bed and cuddles her despite her grotesque form. Thereby showing that Kay will always love her mom, no matter what form Enda takes.
However, when Sam comes to join Kay, she notices the same black scar on Kay’s back. Showing that Kay, and most likely Sam herself, have inherited the trait from Edna, and will suffer the same fate.
But considering that Kay breaks the cycle of abandonment in her family by caring for her mum, maybe things might end differently when her time comes.
Relic is a brilliant movie that disguises its real message of Inheritance and family duty, as something evil. The film tries to show how we must try to fulfill our obligations to our family, no matter how difficult or monstrous the task might seem.
I can’t recommend this movie enough. And If you’ve read this review and haven’t seen it, I hope you check it out.
P.S if you’re looking for more to watch this month, please feel free to check out our July Tv and Movie Guide.
- Incredible Story
- Great StoryTelling
- Deep Message
- Fantastic Cast
- Nonlinear Storytelling