Saint Maud (2020). Photo Credit: A24

Saint Maud (2020)

"Never waste your pain." - Maud 

One of the best first features I have seen in years, Saint Maud is a horror film like no other.

A young nurse named Katie has suffered a trauma (perhaps killing a patient while attempting CPR), and she has since switched to palliative care. She adopts the new moniker Maud and becomes a hospice nurse for a dying ex-dancer, Amanda. Amanda has stage four cancer. Maud becomes convinced that her new purpose in life is to save Amanda's spiritual soul before she passes.

Maud never goes to church, yet she truly feels God speaks to her. She punishes herself with intense body-horror tactics: nails in shoes and picking away at her self-inflicted wounds. Maud prefers to live alone with her thoughts and internal conversations with God. Others appear to be a nuisance to her as she works on her goal - to save Amanda's soul.

The detail in which Maud's visions appear to her are striking. She feels the presence of God inside her; she hears his voice; she even levitates. She writhes in physical ecstasy. She goes through a crisis of faith, and then comes barreling back like a train out of control. 

Director Rose Glass is not afraid to push the psychological, and religious aspects of Saint Maud as far as possible. The intensity of Saint Maud is non-stop, yet when the film ends (at just 84 minutes), you are completely blown away. Saint Maud is a brilliant horror film, a dark, disturbing thrill ride that will shock just about everyone (and offend a few for sure).

The horror genre certainly has its share of cliches lately (even the self-referential horror films are now becoming passe), so it is refreshing to see such a uniquely original story. Saint Maud is a full-tilt, psychological freak show with impressive performances from Morfydd Clark and Jennifer Ehle.

Only time will tell, but my gut tells me this one is destined to become a horror classic. (B+)

Directed by Rose Glass
Starring Morfydd Clark, Jennifer Ehle, Lily Knight, Turlough Convery
Genre: Horror

Photo Credit: A24

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