Relic. 2020. AU. Written and directed by Natalie Erika James. With Emily Mortimer, Robyn Nevin, Bella Heathcote. 89 min.
When elderly mother Edna inexplicably vanishes, her daughter Kay and granddaughter Sam rush to their family’s decaying country home, finding clues of Edna’s increasing dementia scattered around the house. After Edna returns just as mysteriously as she disappeared, Kay’s concern that her mother seems unwilling or unable to say where she’s been clashes with Sam’s unabashed enthusiasm to have her grandma back. Yet they both begin to sense that an insidious presence in the house might be taking control of Edna, as her behavior turns increasingly volatile. Natalie Erika James’s debut feature is an unforgettable new twist on the haunted-house movie, in which the onset of the matriarch’s Alzheimer's begins a familial decay. Embracing family responsibility and grief, and confronting a foreboding, dark force, the film is as much about sacrificial love as the horror of losing someone.