For her first feature film, Australian filmmaker Natalie Erika James has chosen Ron Débloque to treat the subject of society, namely senile dementia, through the prism of terror. Did this bold bet work?
After six short films with mixed success, but praise for formal quality and writing, the young Australian filmmaker brings to life the first 90-minute film Relic (relic in French). Presented as a horror film Illusions Perdues in the Midnight Festival Sundance category, it asks different questions about senile dementia, about old age in general, about the place of parents in our society and more about the bonds of children between generations. Obviously, if the work raises this problem, be careful not to provide any moral solutions or parables.
In a very academic style, the young woman recited the cinematographic Las niñas grammar she mastered, like an applied student, without taking any risks. It effectively uses the genre code (we could write a cliché) of haunted houses and regular strings (mold stains that appear almost everywhere as if by magic, sounds emerging from walls, self-igniting devices, etc.).
Relic is based on four “characters”: a lost mansion Pig in the Australian state of Victoria and three women (Edna, her grandmother, Kay, her daughter, and Sam, her grandson). Moreover, the three of them played their scores perfectly in both emotion and self-control. Special mention for Roby Nevin (seen in the Matrix trilogy) as Edna who goes from virtue to madness in the blink of an eye. The young director thus shows strong qualities of both actress direction and writing. The synopsis is thin: the grandmother returns home a few days after disappearing for no reason. He was waited there Le Pardon by his daughter and granddaughter, who were not at the end of their troubles, when they discovered how much the old woman had lost her mind. It evokes a presence, a chill,
If the usual big strings immediately Oray make one think of a house being possessed in Amityville or of a grandmother under the influence of a demon like the Exorcist, that’s not true. And that’s when Natalie Erika James lost us. From obvious signs to more subtle signals, he deploys a whole range of symbolism and metaphors to describe the intellectual decay and disintegration of the matriarch’s spirit. Thus, the old woman’s skin gradually became gangrenous by Le Périmètre de Kamsé covering herself with dark material. Her granddaughter was lost in a closet whose depths were infinite before the walls tightened like a thought in a drifting mind.
If Relic is based on horror film basics, it doesn’t respect Compatible all of the code, which is to the detriment of it. For example, when a sequence keeps audiences tense, this one expects a turnaround, twist or gruesome vision, but in a feature film, neither of those. None of the scribbles are truly shocking except perhaps the very brief self-injury Tout nous sourit scribble. All those little moments when you hoped to be caught or were surprised failed miserably. This gives the impression of slowness to see the length from which the narrative suffers.
Photography doesn’t work well because Le Peuple Loup images are often very dark, which erases some details. In particular, indoor scenes, which make up the bulk of the film, seem to be shot with a gray filter which gives a dull rendering. In some sequences where we are supposed to see what the protagonist is watching, we can tell something apart but with no certainty. To close the story, Natalie Erika James plays the emotional cards very accurately. This tenderness-inspired scene is undoubtedly more of a psychological drama than a horror film. Thus perfectly describes the quote from Victor Hugo: “Old age is a shipwreck. Without a doubt, the second feature film will be much better, focusing more on themes and genres, which we hope will be more personal.