Relic BFI: London Film Festival Movie Review

Relic BFI: London Film Festival Movie Review

Director: Natalie Erika James

Starring: Emily Mortimer, Robyn Nevin and Bella Heathcote

See more of our BFI London Film Festival Coverage here.


Mother, Kay and daughter, Sam travel to their home town and family home when they get word that Edna, the mother/ grandmother has been missing for several days. 

Tempers are running high with Edna’s disappearance, the relationship between Kay and Sam seem to be strained at best and things don’t seem to be as they seem in Edna’s home. Things out of place, extra locks on the doors, Sam and Kay share glances about these changes and we start to get an image of Edna and what might be ailing her in our minds. As if nothing has ever happened Edna returns home, seemingly unsure as to why there has been such a fuss. However, she does not seem to be as alright as she claims. 

Women shouting in forest in a blue rain coat
image from image.net

A real horror 

Relic is one of those horror films, similar to the Babadook and Don’t Turn on the light, where the horror comes from something very real. Whilst something is haunting these women, it is not necessarily something supernatural. What begins as a chilling, isolating ghost story, soon evolves into something else. 

There is a physical rot that’s stretching throughout the house as well as within the familial ties. Natalia Erika James delivers a thought-provoking feature debut Relic is a well crafted, chilling horror that explores the confusion, isolation and terror caused by diminishing intellect and a loss of a person’s sense of self. 


Young women climbing stairs looking up at camera that looks down on her
image from image.net

Relic is Painful and chilling 

Throughout Relic the audience is drip-fed clues as to the nature of what’s going on. Shifting walls, the room’s boarded up, memories flashing of generations before them. We are kept guessing and in a state of unease is this a haunted house? Or are these people haunted? 

Whilst Relic is not a gorefest/ or your typical all-out action horror. The cold creeping dread seeps in and grows in time. With some elements of body horror and an unseen intruded, Relic is tonally perfect for the painful, chilling reality of a persons decline. 

Further BFI: London Film Festival Reviews: Stray| Honeymood|

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