Rose Glass has thrown a massive sledge-hammer into the horror genre mix with her seriously impressive debut feature, Saint Maud. Focusing on Morfyyd Clark’s Maud – a recently converted Christian and private nurse – who believes God has a plan for her to save the soul of her dying patient, Glass’s film isn’t for those with a sensitive disposition.
What I really liked about Saint Maud is it’s relentless, even when nothing appears to be happening. Even when things seem quiet – and there’s several moments of purposeful reflectiveness – you know something is simmering under the surface. That’s a credit to Glass’s framing, Clark’s performance and an eerie score that all combine to create such an atmosphere.
Religion is, obviously, a big factor in this Saint Maud, yet the film runs so much deeper. Reflecting on loneliness, trauma and grief, with the role of faith used as a vauum for both, Maud is clearly still getting over a life-altering incident that lingers – sometimes subtly, sometimes not – in the background.
It is some of the imagery – particularly in the final third – that will stay with me for a long time. Not one to be creeped out by much on the big screen, two incidents in the last 10 minutes of Saint Maud’s were imprinted in my brain and made me dash out of the screening as soon as the lights went on. This won’t be for everyone: it’s dark (both in tone and aesthetic) and intense, but if you love your deep-seated psycho-horrors then you’ll love this.