When the saint goes marching in

Will Ferris
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Saint Maud (15, 83 Minutes)

In a world of never-ending misery, that good old British approach of taking it on the chin and trusting Etonians who guzzle tax-funded Moët & Chandon on tap has left us back where we started, except this time there’s an added dose of sadness, humiliation and anger.

Not only are thousands back in ICU, as productions are again delayed and venues close, cinema has now been put on its own life support. So, when I was asked to view supposedly ‘the best horror film of the year’, I thought it probably worth a shot given it’s going to be the only horror film of the year.

Saint Maud is a perplexing tale that examines an argument of faith influenced by mental illness. Maud, or Claire, or Carol, or whatever her name may be, is a young nurse providing palliative care for terminally ill choreographer Amanda, who Maud reckons needs a bit of purifying.

But Maud’s obsession sends her off on, to put it lightly, a bit of a mad one.

This is indeed a dark film during dark times. For her debut, director Rose Glass has merged her obvious love of horror (spot the Exorcist references) with a blatant opinion on religion, particularly religious extremism.

Her script is bleak, but funny – a positive trait, but then again, I’m particular. I do not want to be chucking my evening curry up or fainting in the aisle at the sight of a little girl screaming profanities. I want to be amused, then scared, then hooked, then questioning it all – something that Glass has achieved.

Welsh actress Morfydd Clark is terrifying as Maud. Who needs jump scares when all she needs to do is look a bit dodgy to put you on edge?

When she’s not narrating a love letter to “God” (or whoever the hell she’s talking to), she’s scuttling in and out of the shadows like Nosferatu or Dominic Cummings. I would rather have a lobotomy from Nurse Ratched if it meant I didn’t have to be in the same room as Maud.

It’s great to be in a cinema again. It almost leaves you without the wish to criticise, but alas that’s what I’m here for. Saint Maud is freaky, but short. Snappy, but too complex for it. There are too many questions and too many unresolved arguments.

Truth be told, I don’t know what I saw. Which angle am I supposed to look at this? Religiously? Psychologically? Both?

Then again, if it takes all that malarkey to get to heaven, I think I’ll give it a miss.

RATING: 8/10