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Let’s Talk About Saint Maud

I FINALLY got to watch Saint Maud. I’ve been waiting for this movie since last year but the release date kept getting pushed back because of COVID. So here we are February, 2021, the film has now been released on DVD/Blu-Ray, and is currently available on Video on Demand and Epix.

This is writer/director Rose Glass’s first feature length film, she’s more known for shorts. Impressive first film.

The film follows a timid hospice nurse, named Katie (Morfydd Clark- you may recognize her from Pride & Predjudice Zombies). Katie experiences a trauma from a past patient who she was unable to save with CPR. She becomes a born again Roman Catholic, (an extreme one) to cope. She takes on a new name, Maud, and is assigned to a new patient.

The patient is Amanda, played by (Jennifer Ehle). She is confined to a wheelchair suffering with stage four Lymphoma. Initially, the two hit it off, Maud is patient, gentle and kind. She shares some intimate details about her faith in which Amanda willingly listens and they share a moment. Maud becomes increasingly obsessed with saving the soul of the former dancer and choreographer. At one point Amanda refers to her as her Savior, and Maud takes this to heart. She ultimately destroys her relationship with Amanda through her controlling religious behaviors and judgements about her sexuality, resulting in her termination.

After feeling like she’s been rejected essentially from God, being ousted from her Savior mission; Maud finds herself exploring her old Katie ways. There’s a demeaning and ugly scene in which Maud, lost, turns to her past life of alcohol and men. She experiences more trauma after being sexually assaulted. There’s a heavy tone of trauma, grief and how quickly it can manifest into mental illness.

Possessed? Or just in her own mind?

Maud learns Amanda has a new caregiver who seemingly has a solid and friendly relationship with the woman she was meant to save. This unleashes some serious internal rage in Maud. We can’t tell if she’s actually possessed, or if her trauma and mental illness is just manifesting itself physically. Needless to say, she does some pretty shocking and twisted things. The religious tones in this film reminded me of Alice, Sweet Alice (1976) which shows us the extreme side of Christianity, and the Savior, or God complex.

Maud preparing for her final act of contrition.

Maud, robed in her finest sheets complete with her sacred rosary sets out on her final mission. Save Amanda once and for all. God told her to. At one point near the end, we see Maud with big brilliant angel wings as she takes her last walk to the beach. I won’t give away the ending. Spoilers! But it’s a doozy!

Maud unleashed

Even though I give this movie a good solid 🔪🔪🔪🔪/5, I still felt like something was missing. Was it the fact that we had to wait so long to see this movie? Was it simply hyped up to the point where it would be impossible to meet those expectations? Or was there something missing? Let me know in comments what you thought.

I did enjoy this movie, the acting by both Clark and Ehle was superb. This was a nice throwback to 70s horror. There were a lot of movies based around Christianity and Catholicism in the 70s. It was a slight slow burn in the beginning but it definitely kept me intrigued taking only one pause break for the loo. The violence and gore scenes were done exceptionally well. Not over the top, but gruesome and disturbing all the same.

If you were like me, waiting forever to see this film, tamper your expectations slightly and then you can appreciate the great film it is. I look forward to more feature length films from Rose Glass.

Official Trailer
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Saint Maud Movie poster –

Alternative poster –

Maud levitating –

Maud in her robes –

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Let’s Talk About the Dark and the Wicked

The Dark and the Wicked (2020)

I heard good things within the horror community about the Dark and the Wicked, streaming on Shudder, so I decided to give it a go.  A score of 92% on the TOMATOMETER and 63% Audience Score on Rotten Tomatoes made me nod, hmph, and go ahead and press play.

I’ve noticed a trend lately in horror movies with slow-burners.  See my piece on Possessor This is another one of those, but it is worth the watch much like that movie was so stick around.

Two siblings return home to their parents’ very secluded farm as their father is dying.  It’s pretty clear that they are not a close knit family.  The mother doesn’t want them there.  There are conversations that occur that lead us to believe they don’t really keep in touch or communicate well.  The mother has been caring for the dying father by herself and doesn’t seem to want help from the kids, Louise (Marin Ireland) and Michael (Michael Abbot Jr.). It starts to become pretty clear there’s something off about this farm, as well as their mother.  In a gruesome carrot cutting scene we discover the mother is tortured, maybe even possessed, we don’t know yet.  I’ll try not to give away spoilers here but something happens that results in both Louise and Michael having to stay and care for their father and the farm with the help of a farmhand and a nurse. 

Marin Ireland as Louise in a waking nightmare

The longer they stay the creepier things get.  Having what seems to be startling (and credit due here,) horrific waking nightmares that intensify throughout the movie.  Something is taking over this family.  In many ways it reminded me of the movie Relic, in the theme of grief and loss. There were some pretty shocking moments, some good jump scares, and the story progressed nicely. Though I found it a little slow in the beginning, examining the movie as a whole I get where writer/director, Bryan Bertino was coming from.  It was shot very wide at times and it’s very grim, representing a certain isolation or loneliness.  The slow beginning, to me, felt like the set up for this family that barely communicates, essentially isolated- bordering on estranged from one another.  It’s uncomfortably dour.

The siblings lightly acknowledge their lack of communication and emotional distance with each other, but nothing bonds a brother and sister quicker than a bunch of mysteriously and gruesomely dead farm animals. Am I right?  Brother Michael tends to the remaining animals and the farm while Louise tends to their father.  The siblings seem to love their father, they certainly don’t want to leave him alone after their own experiences.  

The nurse, obviously a woman of faith, in a conversation reminds Michael that she not only sees a lot of death but a lot of love.  Sometimes she’s the only one there when patients pass and there’s nothing worse than someone dying alone.  Michael confides in her that his mother felt like something was coming for them but that his Father was a good man.  The nurse agrees there is something foreboding about this place.  She can feel the fear.  She knows the family doesn’t believe in God but she does, and she says, “there are wicked things in this world and they can come for whoever they want, but there’s love here, and the soul needs love to keep it safe.” It was an impactful line.  After this, Louise and Michael try their best to protect and save their frail father.

There is a pretty gruesome scene involving the nurse and knitting needles you won’t want to miss.  The gore was done well.  It wasn’t over the top or gratuitous, it just really added to the horror of this film.  Whatever entity is threatening the family, it threatens or kills anyone close to them as well. (Again- no spoilers!)

Even if you do find it slow in the beginning, stay with it for a jaw dropping ending.  I don’t think you could be a true horror fan and NOT enjoy this movie.  I think it’s quite possibly one of the best horror movies to come out of 2020.  The acting was great, a stellar performance by Marin Ireland. The story was fresh and it was truly scary in parts.  There were even parts where I had to look away .  Five knives out five. 🔪🔪🔪🔪🔪

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Images from IMDB