Personally speaking, Rose Glass’ debut horror film ‘Saint Maud’ was one of the films I was most looking forward to in 2020. Then, the pandemic happened which pushed the highly anticipated film back until late January, where it debuted in theaters, and then later on streaming services that aren’t the most commonly used.
Regardless, when I dove into ‘Saint Maud’ last night I was excited to see the latest offering from A24, who had built a solid reputation for delivering solid horror offerings such as ‘Hereditary’ and ‘Midsommar’.
The original approach to telling the story of the unraveling of a disturbed young nurse was both unsettling and captivating. Maud, who was brilliantly played by Morfydd Clark, seemed to be trying to distance herself from her unsavory past for the new, overly-devoted believer who seems intent on saving those who she believes are in sin, or more eloquently, mirrors who she was.
Maud latches on to the dying Amanda, a former famous dancer who is withering away due to cancer, and obsessively re-living her glorious past. Maud gravitates towards her weak condition, and tried to alleviate her sin. Through this, Maud believes it will bring her close to God, and give her the positive meaning she lacked in a former life.
However, Amanda’s flippant approach to Maud’s idea of faith, and Amanda’s lack of it, drive a wedge between the two, and escalate Maud’s psychosis. Maud dives back into her old habits of hard drinking, random sex, and social detachment, which only fuels her rapid loss of grasp on reality.
‘Saint Maud’ drives down a road that is horror story telling at it’s best. Glass’ depiction of Maud’s sense of reality versus reality, especially in the final scene, really hit home. It’s easy to connect with Maud as a person who struggles with self-image, and coming to terms with her past as she tries to hold others to a standard she once struggled to achieve.
While Saint Maud won’t be full of jump scares, there is plenty of horrific imagery and tones that will leave a lasting impression, while also giving horror fans something new and juicy to sink their teeth into.