As kids we grow up thinking that monsters who go bump in the night are what nightmares are made of, but as adults, we know that true terrors are found in everyday life.
This is the underlying premise of Relic, the critically acclaimed new horror movie which has premiered on Stan.
Relic tells the story of Edna (Australian theatre legend Robyn Nevin) the elderly and widowed matriarch of her family who mysteriously goes missing from her remote home in Victoria. Her daughter Kay (Mary Poppins Returns star Emily Mortimer) and granddaughter Sam (Bloom star Bella Heathcote) travel to the family home to help police search for her.
Edna returns, but it quickly becomes clear that a sinister presence is now haunting the house and slowly taking control of her.
The film, which was co-written and directed by Japanese-Australian filmmaker Natalie Erika James, utilises the horrors of the film as a manifestation of dementia, weaving supernatural themes into a film that looks at what it’s really like to watch a loved one slowly slip away.
Take a look at the trailer for Relic, streaming only on Stan.
The humanity behind the horror of Relic comes from the fact that it’s based on a series of events pulled from Natalie’s own family life.
The idea came to Natalie during a trip to Japan several years ago, to see her grandmother who suffers from Alzheimer’s. It was a trip she had kept delaying for one reason or another, and when she finally arrived to see her, it turned out she’d left it too late – her grandmother no longer recognised her.
In Relic, Robyn Nevin’s character Edna has been overtaken by a supernatural entity, one that causes her body to rapidly decay and for her to become a stranger to her loved ones.
For Nevin, the true grit of the story came from the complicated relationship between the family, and the sadness that comes from Edna’s condition as she loses her sense of self.
“Edna is still grieving the loss of her husband,” Nevin told Mamamia. “The house is all she has left and it’s a place of memories. But now those memories have become the cause of grief for her.
“There’s actually a scene in Relic where she tries to bury her photographs, she starts to chew the photos, to eat them. It’s out of some terrible need to eliminate them somehow because she’s in terrible pain from grief and is physically decaying.
“She has a very difficult relationship with her daughter and a much easier relationship with her granddaughter,” Robyn continued.