Why do people enjoy dark drama
Relic - Dark Legacy
"Relic - Dark Legacy" // Start in Germany: October 30, 2020 (DVD / Blu-ray)
The shock is great when the older, widowed Edna (Robyn Nevin) one day disappears without a trace. Has she got lost in the vast forests that adjoin the remote family home? Your daughter Kay (Emily Mortimer) and granddaughter Sam (Bella Heathcote) are on the spot immediately and take part in the search. But even if they join forces, they cannot find any clues as to what happened to her. Until it is there again, reappearing as suddenly as it has disappeared. Where she has been in the meantime and what she has done, she cannot remember, just as her memory generally shows gaps in terrifying ways. While Kay and Sam are still arguing about what to do with the older lady, they notice that something else is completely wrong ...
It is certainly one of the most popular parts of the horror genre, definitely one of the most enduring: Haunted House Horror. Whether the classic Until the blood freezes or the TV shocker poltergeist, the franchise hit Conjuring - The Visitation or the Far East import Ju-on: The Grudge, the film history is crammed with examples of alleged haunted houses in which the protagonists are pursued by eerie beings. The reason for the continued success is clear. These enchanted locations are usually a family home, a place where you can withdraw and find protection from the threats of the outside world. But if that goes away and your refuge itself becomes a danger - where else do you want to go?
The drama of horror
The disadvantage of this recipe for success: It has been copied so often that you have to come up with a little something to actually show an effect. Creaky floors, moving shadows in the background or objects that develop a life of their own, you've just seen all of that, many, many times. And as is the case with repetitions, they lose strength over time. In recent years there have been a number of filmmakers who have faced the wear and tear by seeking a more human approach to the stories. Movies like The babadook and Hereditary - The Legacy or the series Haunted Hill House were horror and family dramas at the same time, told of disturbed relationships and real wounds that were reflected in a supernatural horror.
It is now going in a very similar direction Natalie Erika James with her feature film debut Relic. The director and co-writer puts a family at the center of her film, in which nothing seems to really work for a long time. Some of this is openly discussed, such as Kay's feelings of guilt for not having spoken to her mother in weeks. Other expressions are only expressed non-verbally, through looks, through posture. Three women from three generations, who are all connected to one another and yet find it difficult to access. The relationship, in which much is not openly addressed, is made more difficult by Edna's increasing mental decline. She always seems confused, lost in her own home, cannot remember what she did or said.
A labyrinth of the mind
Combining the topic of dementia with haunted house horror turns out to be extremely effective. Of course the genre is full of old people who think everyone is crazy but who are the only ones who know what is really being played. Relicthat on the Sundance Film Festival 2020 Premiered, follows a long tradition. What is unusual, however, is that this person is not dumped somewhere on the edge, but rather stands in the center. When Edna tells that something is wrong, that the house is changing, as a spectator you don't know: Which of it is real, which is an expression of an illness? This uncertainty about whether one's own perception can be trusted is a cornerstone of horror. But seldom has this been implemented so plausibly - and so painfully. The biggest horror about the movie is seeing a loved one fall apart before your very eyes. To witness how he becomes increasingly alien to himself and to others.
How strong Relic affects you depends largely on the extent to which you can empathize with this family constellation. If you don't succeed, you run the risk of boredom despite the short running time of only around an hour and a half. James takes a lot of time to get started, shows the audience a house in which one can feel very uncomfortable, but holds back with events. Only towards the end does she tighten the thumbscrews, but then in a way that you won't forget. Here she artfully combines elements that she has carefully prepared beforehand, allowing pure panic and deep sadness to come together in a finale that is one of the most beautiful and symbolic that can be seen in this area. But also to the most controversial: How few representatives of this genre invite Relic in addition, it actually demands to deal with the topics that the filmmaker addresses. The real horror is not the house, but what should be buried in it.
Country: USA, Australia
Director: Natalie Erika James
Script: Natalie Erika James, Christian White
Music: Brian Reitzell
Camera: Charlie Sarroff
Occupation:Emily Mortimer, Robyn Nevin, Bella Heathcote
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