Saint Maud (2021) movie review
Saint Maud is a horror drama from A24 and writer/director Rose Glass. The film follows Maud, a nurse who becomes fixed on converting her most recent patient, Amanda, who is dying. The film was finally released earlier this month after a lengthy festival run going back to 2019 at the Toronto International Film Festival. While audiences don’t feel as strongly as critics, the film has received fairly positive reviews since its release.
Saint Maud is truly fascinating, and for any indie film fans out there, a must see. That said I feel that I need to set the right expectations for anyone looking to check this one out. Saint Maud is a strange blend of horror, thriller, drama, and mystery. However it definitely leans in drama, then thriller, then horror, with some mystery sprinkled in. So if you are expecting a terrifying tone that will have you jumping if you watch it too late at night… yeah this isn’t that.
Okay that said, by the end of the film I really admired the tone! The film has a steady terror that seems to seep out the more Maud develops as a character. And honestly, it is as haunting as it is compelling. That said, there is a lull in the middle of the film that feels out of place on a first viewing. I say that because by the end I saw the importance of taking some time to work on the character driven story. That said getting to it on a first viewing does leave you with that Knives Out (2019) ‘Oh, what’s happening right now?’ feeling. And if Saunt Maud is anything like Knives Out (it’s not, but roll with it), that will mean that this stretch of the film does feel like a bit of a drag the second time around as well.
That said, I have to give credit to Rose Glass for crafting a wholly unique screenplay in Saint Maud. I don’t really want to give too much away here, as even the marketing for the film was very vague. However as much praise as I can bestow upon the totally fascinating story and character of protagonist Maud is well deserved. On top of that, the rest of the film supports the captivating themes, uh, religiously? The film is exceptionally shot, showcases some sharp editing throughout, and lands on its feet with some brilliant pacing by the end.
Okay look, I know that this one is tough to get into without giving too much away, but it is indeed a thoroughly compelling film that shows of the creativity of its creator. Everything aspect of this film works together in harmony to support a fascinating character arc that delivers on the promise of “an unholy terror.” While the film does slump a bit in the second act, if you don’t expect too many scares, you should still have a great time with this gem! I didn’t even mention the absolutely perfect performance from Morfydd Clark. Anyway, go check out Saint Maud! 8/10.
-So Saint Maud? Did you see it yet? What did you think? And what is your favorite independent horror film? (Or how about just from A24?) Be sure to leave a like or a comment below and let us know! And if you liked this review and you want to read more like it, let us know below what you’d like us to talk about next!
-review by Ryan Prince