In times such as these, it can already be unnerving to know we shouldn’t leave the house. Perhaps that’s why it’s the perfect (or scariest?) time for a movie where the horror is within the home. Indeed, the original subject du jour of campfire yarns everywhere—a haunted house ghost story—is getting an intriguing new entry via Natalie Erika James’ Relic.
The film, which made waves in January at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, appears to be steeped in the Gothic tradition of journeying into the unknown and an undead past. That at least is what it might seem like to Kay (Emily Mortimer), the adult child of the elderly Edna (Robyn Nevin). One day that mother vanished into the night, and it’s the disappearance of her mother that brings Kay and her own daughter Sam (Bella Heathcote) back to their family’s decaying country home in order to discover what happened. What they find are clues scattered around the house, hinting at an estranged older woman’s growing dementia. Yet even once they get the grandmother back, not is all what it seems nor is their aged matriarch saying what other memories might still linger in her mind… and in her house.
The movie, which was co-written by James and Christian White, made a big splash at Sundance where IFC Midnight picked up the rights. With a 100 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 13 reviews, the film was the best received horror flick of the Utah festival—an event that has seen such recent horror classics like Hereditary, The Witch, and The Babadook make their world premieres. Obviously building off that buzz as it heads for a summer premiere, Relic also seems to follow in the footsteps of classic Gothic horror tales like The Innocents, The Haunting of Hill House, and Rebecca, but with a more modern familial twist. That is most welcome to us.
Relic, which is also produced by Anna McLeish, Sarah Shaw, and Jake Gyllenhaal, and counts Joe and Anthony Russo among its executive producers, is slated to premiere in both theaters and on VOD on July 10. You can find the teaser trailer for the film below.