The directorial debut of Rose Glass, Saint Maud is a masterful work of psychological horror that filled me with ice-cold dread from start to finish. It’s just a damn shame not many people are going to be able to see it.
Saint Maud follows reclusive nurse Maud, played by the fantastic Morfydd Clark, who after a traumatic event has just become a devout Christian. Upon meeting her latest patient Amanda, a terminally ill retired dancer played by Jennifer Ehle, Maud takes it upon herself to save her soul from damnation, no matter what.
The true horror of Saint Maud is that it doesn’t let up physically or mentally.
From the very start, the film is filled with disturbing imagery with some of the most unsettling moments being blink and you miss it. This coupled with the extremely unsettling performance from Clark and the wince-inducing body horror, Saint Maud is a difficult watch in the best way possible. In terms of horror, don’t be wary of too many moments of popcorn throwing scares as they mostly take a backseat here. Mostly. The true horror of Saint Maud is that it doesn’t let up physically or mentally. Be it the self-harm Maud causes herself or the unrelenting feeling that something bad is about to happen, it is as if the film is wearing you down bit by bit over its relatively short one hour 24-minute runtime. Yet I couldn’t help but keep my eyes glued to the screen.
The minds behind the camera do everything possible to make those in front of the screen feel as uncomfortable as possible. Cinematographer Ben Fordesman’s use of tilted camera shots and focus on seemingly mundane items like soup are more effective than you’d expect, making your skin crawl and thrusting you into the shoes of Maud. But fortunately, it’s the less painful pair.
Rose Glass has made one of the best horror films in the past few years.
But the most impressive thing about this film is that it’s a directorial debut. Rose Glass has made one of the best horror films in the past few years (I can’t say 2020, nothing has really come out) with not all that much experience. If she can make this right now, Glass is sure to be a name to look out for in the future.
Having Saint Maud be my final experience at Cineworld is certainly sad but I’m grateful to go out on a high note.
Feature image credit: IMDb
Last modified: 22nd October 2020