Relic stars Emily Mortimer, Robyn Nevin, and Bella Heathcote in a tale that could be akin to Hereditary with metaphorical haunted-house angst.
Mortimer and Heathcote are mother and daughter Kay and Sam becoming embroiled in the latter’s grandmother physical and emotional state in a woodsy enclave away from the former’s busy Melbourne life.
A missing septuagenarian in Edna (Aussie stage thespian Nevin) turns up apparently in decent shape after three days with authorities and family prowling her whereabouts.
How this fractured unit reforms with further understanding of one another forms the crux of a tale moodily rendered by co-writer and director Natalie Erika James who draws upon her personal experiences with her grandmother.
The ultimate presentation may feel a bit less than smoothly plotted as the shadows and fogginess impart an aura encroached by the supernatural with humming heard within Edna’s place. There’s a bathtub, post-its and plenty of mold that adds to a stickiness which James uses pretty effectively with those typical fright night jolts.
Essentially a three-chamber piece, Relic has Heathcote of Dark Shadows journeying through Sam’s role relative to her mom and Gran with some arc and understanding. A vet with insinuating sensibilities, a cabin where Kay’s great-grandfather lived near her mother’s property informs her subconscious.
Perhaps a lesser known Nevin could be the wildcard in attaching an eerie, even volatile feeling bearing more than she or others can handle. A palpable bruising from physical decline provides some unexpected dramatic flourish in the final act.