Every one of us has a list of certain films that, for one reason or another, we know we’re never going to watch again. Maybe it’s because they were too disturbing the first time around, perhaps once the shock twist is known it loses its appeal. I’m not here to judge - no matter how good a film is, it doesn’t mean that it is endlessly rewatchable.
It’s not to say the film wasn’t enjoyable the first time, or wasn’t worthy of your time in the first place. A lack of rewatchability should never be mistaken for a lack of quality or value. The reverse of this is also true, just because something is very rewatchable doesn’t mean it’s good. Sometimes you just need any old crap to stick on the TV whilst you relax, that’s ok!
There are some great films that aren’t the kind you can watch in the background, though. Once you’ve seen them once and given them all their due attention, you’re done. No replay, no showing friends, no buying a new set of cinema tickets - after that first watch you know it’ll be your last.
Horror can be the ideal vehicle for getting across huge ideas or concepts. It doesn’t always have to be blood, guts and masked murderers - sometimes the scariest part of a film is the message it sends. Relic is one such horror to use its genre as a medium for its saddest, most universal truths: we all get older, and as we do we lose parts of ourselves until we die.
Depressing? Yep. Incredibly depressing. But it’s the emotion that the film makes you feel that makes it so great, it’s the mark of a well-made film that it’s able to affect you deeply and make you really think about the things it discusses.
Most of us fear the day that our loved ones start showing their age, start disappearing in front of our eyes until there’s nothing left. Relic shows that in a literal way, with every creeping inch of rot and mould being a metaphor for the slow decay of a beloved mother/grandmother’s psyche.
As well as delivering some good scares, it has a sympathetic story to tell. Watching can take a toll on you, by the end leaving you feeling a bit emotionally drained. It’s an important and genuinely beautiful horror experience, but chances are after all that emotion you’ll never want to put yourself through it again.