Film Review: Saint Maud

SNACK at The Glasgow Film Festival 2020

Saint Maud

This stunning, dread-soaked spiritual horror from feature debut writer-director Rose Glass centres on young, reclusive private nurse Maud (rising star Morfydd Clark) who lives her life in strict accordance with her faith.

Following an enigmatic tragedy, Maud is assigned to look after dying former dancer Amanda (Jennifer Ehle) where she develops an obsessive need to save her patient’s soul as her perceived Godly connection grows stronger. With her quite remarkable debut Glass’ direction is wonderfully-assured, creating an impressively oppressive atmosphere by utilising a foreboding score of pulsating drones, screeching violins and choral swelling that seems to suggest something lurking underneath the surface. This is coupled beautifully with a shrewd directorial technique of hinting at upsetting imagery that draws your attention in closer before quickly cutting away, making you doubt what you’ve just seen.

The increasingly-unpredictable drama swirls around Clark’s magnificent central performance who conveys a kind of restrained lost soul who could snap at any minute in a way that’s endlessly-fascinating to watch. Her character is used as a vessel to wrestle with the very idea of faith itself; is Maud’s mental health cracking or are her overwhelming experiences real? With shades of The Witch and Hereditary, this is a deeply unnerving and profound dose of primal, unforgettable cinema.

Saint Maud is released on May 1st.

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