Saint Maud (2020) Review

The trailer for this film looked so bizarre that I just had to watch it.  A great creepy atmosphere, and superb acting, but lacked a little narratively.

Certificate: 15

Director: Rose Glass

Screenwriter: Rose Glass

Starring: Morfydd Clark, Jennifer Ehle, Lily Knight

Genre: Horror, Mystery

Runtime: 84 Minutes

Rating: 3 Stars

Reviewed by: Pearl

There, but for the grace of God, goes Maud, a reclusive young nurse whose impressionable demeanour causes her to pursue a pious path of Christian devotion after an obscure trauma. Now charged with the hospice care of Amanda, a retired dancer ravaged by cancer, Maud’s fervent faith quickly inspires an obsessive conviction that she must save her ward’s soul from eternal damnation – whatever the cost. – By Toronto Film Festival.

Definitely choosing not to go down the conventional horror route, Saint Maud is unsettling and uncomfortable almost right away, and that feeling only intensifies the longer you watch.  This isn’t a horror in the strictest sense of the word, I felt no real fear throughout the film, instead there is just this overwhelming feeling of wrongness.  That although Maud is stoic and pious, there is something deeper that is a little unhinged and just…wrong with her.  The true depth of her crazy doesn’t really come out until the very end, ramping the tension up and up and up until the quite literally explosive conclusion, by which point we are all wondering how much of what Maud is experiencing is real and how much is just in her head.

And that is the best thing about his film.  There are so many ways to experience it.  Is Maud really caught up in some kind of religious plot, or is she having some kind of psychotic episode brought on by a trauma that happened to her recently.  It is definitely heavily implied that one of those scenarios is more likely than the other, but no definite answer is ever given. 

Some of the visuals in this film where just stunning and especially towards the end when things start to really go bonkers, we are treated to some absolutely beautiful moments visually.  The amazing musical score also goes a long way to helping create a tense atmosphere.  With a booming base that literally comes out of nowhere and kicks your heart right into overdrive.

But for me the film lacked narratively.  We don’t learn enough about Maud and the circumstances that have led her to make the decisions that we do.  We get crumbs, mostly from her friend Joy, that something terrible happened to her while she was working in a hospital and that is what lead to her religious conversion, we also learn that Maud is lying about a few things.  I would have liked to see her relationship with Amanda developed a bit more as it played such a large part in the film and was so pivotal at the end.

There are definitely some parts of this film that are hard to watch, I had to look away several times and still found myself flinching.  But for people who like their horror films a little more unconventional, this could be a great hit.  Considering there is a cinema open near you for you to get access to it.

Sint Maud is out in UK cinemas on Friday,

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