Rose Glass' ambiguous masterpiece will leave you stocking up on rosary beads and bathing in Holy water
The brilliantly provocative first feature from the 30-year-old writer/director is a supremely immersive psychological horror that builds steadily throughout its tightly wound 83-minute run time.
Maud (Morfydd Clark) is a troubled private care nurse with dangerously novel ideas about palliative care. Inspired by her devout relationship with God, the pious nurse has big plans to 'save the soul’ of a terminally ill has-been dancer (Jennifer Ehle).
Clark is crucial to the unsettling mix and delivers a ferocious and wonderfully hypnotic performance that manipulates audience expectations. As she gradually peels off the mask of sanity, Glass’ exceedingly uncomfortable script steers into unexpected territory with confidence.
Faith triumphs over jump scares with flashbacks, dream sequences, and voiceover conversations with Maud’s holy master shining a light on her inner thoughts with devilish glee.
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The pacing is a relentless ball of lingering tension that preys on the characters' shared loneliness, before plunging into a satirical nightmare.
Cinematographer Ben Fordesman aids the movie’s suffocating atmosphere with his visual sensibility that is rich in metaphor, while Paulina Rzeszowksa’s production design delivers its own unique aesthetic that will make you question reality.
Adam Janota Bzowski’s insidiously haunting score evokes a sense of dread with every beat. A particular sound edit involving squelching blood-soaked runners will stay will you long after the credits rolls.
Saint Maud requires its audience to take a leap of faith - but based on it’s nerve-shredding ending alone - it’s a rare horror movie that deserves to be worshipped.