Amulet. 2020. Great Britain. Written and directed by Romola Garai. With Carla Juri, Imelda Staunton, Alex Secareanu. 99 min.
In Romola Garai’s directorial debut, a homeless ex-soldier who goes to work for a young woman and her dying mother soon realizes something sinister is happening: the moldy, creaking, mysterious old house contains a life force all its own. A mixture of haunted house movie and body horror with religion in the mix, Amulet cleverly explores preconceived notions of victim and savior as Garai subverts the gender roles of her main characters, Tomaz and Magda. At first, Magda seems to be the one in need of rescue but, really, it’s Tomaz’s past war crimes—rape—catching up with him that puts him in the role of the hunted. Through that, audiences get something we rarely see in horror: a man alone and afraid on screen.