Prepare to hide behind your fingers as unsettling psychological chiller Saint Maud arrives in Cineworld.
Directed by Rose Glass, the movie centres on a lonely young woman named Maud (Morfydd Clark) who takes a job as a convalescent nurse. Her latest client, critically ill ex-dancer Amanda (Jennifer Ehle), seems intent on living a life of sin and excess, despite her worsening condition. This prompts Maud to embark on a terrifying quest to save her patient's soul – but what is driving the decision?
Finding out is the fun part in this critically acclaimed British horror. Reviewers have already lauded the film's atmosphere and performances: Indiewire's David Ehrlich raves, "Rose Glass' taut and trembling Saint Maud transmutes a young woman's spiritual crisis into such a refined story of body horror that genre fans might feel like they're having a religious experience."
1. It's got a brilliantly unnerving performance from Morfydd Clark
Perhaps best known for her dual role in as Dora and Clara in David Copperfield, Welsh actor Morfydd Clark is one of the UK's rising stars. Saint Maud is her first starring role, and she sinks her teeth into it with a performance that contorts both physically and psychologically. Clark will keep you guessing throughout as to Maud's motivations and murky past, apparently caught between redemption and damnation.
Any great horror actor has the ability to get beneath our skin, and this is something Clark achieves brilliantly. Writing for The Hollywood Reporter, critic Leslie Felperin raves that Clark plays Maud with "subtlety but also white-hot fervor". You'll have to watch the movie to discover exactly what that means.
Clark is well-matched by Jennifer Ehle as the tempting and insinuating Amanda who appears to draw out Maud's darker side. Together they form a creepy double-act that will make your skin crawl – in the best possible way.
2. It's a memorable feature film debut from Rose Glass
Making the jump from short films to features is never easy, but Ross Glass makes it seem effortless, cloaking Saint Maud in atmospheric hues of light and shadow. Having studied film and video at London College of Communications, she then started to make a name for herself with striking short movies, including the eerie Room 55. (You can check it out below.) Further experience as a runner and cinema usher followed before her breakthrough with Saint Maud, a movie whose inspiration may surprise you.
“I told one exec try and imagine Maud as Travis Bickle, if Travis Bickle was a young Catholic living in an English seaside town…The tone and world stayed fairly consistent, it was just the mechanics of the story that changed quite a bit”, she says. “I always wanted it to be an intimate psychological story told on a very grand scale.”
Glass' assured handling of setting, theme and performance cements Saint Maud as a confidently creepy and visually arresting chiller. It places her alongside the likes of Jennifer Kent (The Babadook) and Natalie Erika James (the upcoming Relic) as one of several women leading the charge for provocative and stimulating indie horror.
3. It'll remind you of some of your favourite horror movies
We don't want to give too much away, but imagine the body-mangling terror of David Cronenberg crossed with the repressed tragedy of Carrie and the operatic hysteria of The Omen. Then you're some way towards imagining Saint Maud. However, the movie brilliantly synthesises these influences together to emerge as something unique, which will leave you thoroughly unsettled and exhilarated.
4. It'll definitely get you into the Halloween spirit
It's been a tough year, but Halloween is always fun, right? And Saint Maud encapsulates the spirit of what makes horror so entertaining. By meshing vivid imagery with thought-provoking undercurrents and strong performances, it's the perfect movie to watch on the big screen as the nights draw in and the ghouls come out.
Forget costumes and trick or treating. Instead, revel in a brand new horror movie that promises the advent of exciting talent, both in front of, and behind, the camera.
5. It's our next Cineworld Unlimited screening
For the first time in many months, we're delighted to be bringing Cineworld Unlimited members a brand new preview screening. Saint Maud will play in advance on Monday 5th October, ahead of its general release on Friday 9th October. For those who have struggled with their absence from the cinema, this is your chance to watch a dynamic and eerie new horror movie in advance of its release date. This is the chance to be the envy of friends and family, and also your chance to spread the word about a bold new release.