Film Review – Saint Maud (2020)

Great films are those ones that linger in your thoughts long after you have watched that film. Same could be said about those bad films. Rose Glass debut feature Saint Maud (2020), it’s an impressively chilling psychological horror that will terrorise your mind long after that first viewing…Your saviour is here!

When it comes to the horror genre, it will play on your fears, frailties, torment you or the protagonist. In Saint Maud it reminds us those ‘monsters’ themselves can be psychological and conceived from our own minds. Are they from our obsessions, addictions or God’s way of telling us our mental health is erradicating?

Morfydd Clark plays our titular God fearing young woman Maud. A pious nurse working in private care for former dancer Amanda Kohl (Jennifer Ehle) in the northern seaside town of Scarborough. Amanda is a celebrated performer ravaged by cancer, confined to a wheelchair. That doesn’t stop her enjoying those devices (drink, cigarettes, wild parties and sex). Maud is the opposite end of the spectrum, devout to her religious faith, sent to Amanda for one purpose, to save her.

Maud talks to God constantly, it gives her solace, however she’s also a troubled soul. When God speaks, it’s in growls even in times speaks to her in Welsh (voiced by Clark herself). Amanda mocks her faith in public, not so much when they are together.

Slowburner films can be a big switch off for many people, not this time. Suprisingly the film only has a 84 minute running time which is ample time for us to transcend into Maud’s unnerving, twisted world of fanaticism and Obsession. She truly beleives she’s doing the Lord’s work saving the hedonistic Amanda. Maud is never portrayed as a villain , merely a young woman full of empathy who’ll walk through pain (thumb tacks in the shoes). Flashbacks tease us, she’s not totally innocent and what’s manifesting inside her, is a cry for help. Lonely, isolated, struggling with her mental health. How she turned to religion we never exactly learn. nor do we understand if the voices she hears and talk to is heavenly or even real.

Morfydd Clark is exceptional as Maud, who becomes consumed as the one to save Amanda from the sins of the world. She is also so out of step with modern society. Jennifer Ehle is equally captivating as Amanda who in her final days is living rent free in sin city.

Once again the film’s score plays a pivotal part. Rose Glass has created something that doesn’t go for cheap thrills or a big body count. Adam Janota Bzowski‘s score gives the film depth and atmosphere and forbidding dredd. Saint Maud is am impressive debut feature that will linger in your mind long after you watch it.

★★★★

Horror, Thriller | UK, 2019 | 15 | Studiocanal | Dir.Ross Glass | Morfydd Clark, Jennifer Ehle, Caoilfhionn Dunne

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