Saint Maud: Film Review

Saint Maud

I am a horror wuss so I always have to contemplate whether I’ll be able to cope before I agree to see one. The resounding praise for Saint Maud was the main reason I cast my fears aside, sucked it up, and checked it out – and I’m glad I did because it is the best horror I’ve seen in a long time. 

This British psychological horror follows Maud (Morfydd Clark), a private nurse who moves into former dancer Amanda (Jennifer Ehle)’s house to provide hospice care as she battles cancer. The newly devout nurse becomes dangerously obsessed with saving her dying patient’s soul. 

Rose Glass‘ assured directorial debut is an intriguing blend of unsettling psychological thriller and genuinely horrifying body horror (not for the squeamish!). Thankfully for me, it wasn’t terrifying the entire way through as Glass focuses more on developing the story, who Maud is, and her relationship with Amanda, than doling out random scares. But this means when the scares do come in – particularly in the last 30 minutes – they are all the more terrifying, shocking and effective because they are well earned and not cheap or shallow. 

The sound design really helped build the tension, sense of foreboding, and this feeling of eerieness and creepiness with its pounding bassy soundtrack. The whole time I was unsure where it was going to go or what Maud was going to do next and it lost its way very briefly in the middle but Glass brought it back for the sensational finale that will stay with you for hours after you’ve left the cinema. 

Clark cannot be praised enough for this role, which required serious emotional and physical work. Maud begins as this restrained enigma and while we are never given her entire back story, we have enough to work with. Clark gives Maud humanity even when she truly loses the plot and becomes a danger to herself and others. 

I cannot recommend Saint Maud enough. It is short, it whips along at a zippy pace, and doesn’t outstay its welcome. It also made me wince, made me jump, made my heart pound like crazy, and certain imagery is still firmly implanted in my brain weeks later. 

In selected cinemas from Thursday 8th October 

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

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