July Release ‘Relic’ Has Amazing Storytelling Take For a Summer Horror, First-Time Director Gets to Premiere It at Home
If you ever dealt with a crazy relative, then you’ll relate to Relic, a new horror film in the vein of Get Out or Hereditary. Because, really, what’s scarier in America than our own families? From MAGA-hat wearing uncles to grandmas swearing like sailors, we fear the ones we love. Clearly, director Natalie Erika James knows about film, frights, and families. In her directorial debut, she displays a behind-the-camera talent far beyond her years.
The film has plenty of horrors but still manages to genuinely surprise audiences. This ain’t no Scooby-Doo whodunnit or campy slasher romp. And the creepy twist at the end is not your usual outro. Emily Mortimer plays the lead Kay with far more bone-density than her bird-skeletoned 30 Rock character. Bella Heathcote and Robyn Nevin round out the cast as Kay’s loving daughter and psycho mom. And, like all good horror, there’s also a creepy cabin in the woods. We take a closer look at Relic and its auteur director in this list.
Cover Photo: IFC
The Wonder From Down Under
Natalie Erika James is the hottest thing to come out of Australia since Chris Hemsworth chased a dingo who’d stolen his shirt. The Japanese-Australian director is based out of Melbourne and is definitely a name to watch.
Life Is Better Blonde
While James is a brunette, her incredible 2015 music video is for the band Life is Better Blonde. In three minutes and 33 seconds, James paints a powerful portrait of a jaded Japanese businessman who moonlights as an electric organ player.
James’s 2017 short film Creswick presages the family creeps of Relic. If you’ve ever wondered if your pile of dirty dishes bugs the ghosts in your house, then this is the film for you.
Sundance Film Festival
James was luckily able to get the premier she deserved at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, which occurred before the lockdown. Still, COVID-19 did mean audiences had to wait nearly half a year to get their pants scared off too.
Emily Mortimer seems like she’s in everything these days, but Relic really lets the high-pitched actor stretch her dramatic muscles. Mary Poppins this flick ain’t!
Beneath the Horror
Like Get Out and Hereditary, Relic uses the horror lens to expose deeper social issues. But don’t worry, the film is full of classic horror tropes, solid acting, great dialogue and is definitely not preachy.
The film follows Kay and her daughter Sam as they go to check on Kay’s own mother. If you’re guessing the old lady has been doing a lot more than hitting the casinos without telling her kid, then you might be on to something.
The Grossest Thing Ever
As Kay and Sam check in on their matron, they find some pretty gross stuff in the house. Let’s just say that however messy your roommates are, Edna has probably got them beat.
Relic was released on July 3, though we think going to a movie theater might be scarier now than any horrors on the screen. Luckily, the movie is also available for rent from Amazon, iTunes and other streaming services.