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Saint Maud {Film Review} 2021 | A24's Latest Horror Film

Anyone familiar to my previous posts know how much I adore A24 and there entire collection of films. With much anticipation, in 2020, I was eagerly waiting my birthday month for there new horror release, until the worldwide pandemic sadly altered my plans. Months later, with a makeshift cineplex, projector and it's digital release I was finally able to watch it.


Saint Maud is a religious horror film, that follows traumatized Maud as she shifts her career into being a private care nurse for a retired dancer on her death bed. Maud's obsession with faith ultimately leads to destruction as she is determined to save her soul at whatever costs are necessary.


When the first trailer dropped, I had already put it up on a pedestal. The use of the Billie track, the upside down shots, and the ominous imagery had me as a horror fan completely bent head over heels. After watching the film I will say... they do show a lot in the trailer, a surprising amount actually, however it didn't ruin the experience watching the film and I still absolutely enjoyed it.


There are many layers to horror films and Saint Maud falls into that eerily creepy category, with no jump scares, or abrupt imagery. It's more of a slow wide eyed, eyebrow creasing, 'are they or are they not going to cross that line' sort of horror.


I screamed watching this film, and not because I was frightened but at the execution and slow unraveling of events. Sturcturely the story beats play out perfectly, giving us very little information to start and feeding the audience at precise and specific moments. With that said, if your not fully invested or paying attention to the details in dialogue, imagery, or items on the screen it's not as enjoyable when trying to piece together what's happening in the film.


As a horror fan, this film had me grinning from ear to ear and as a dancer, I've always loved the connection horror and dance have to each other and how it was explored in such a different approach in Saint Maud than other films. Dance specifically didn't play a large role in the film but movement, and the relationship of movement and horror was a principle focus.


There are some excellent shots in the film, with an emphasis of shadow and light, framing and more specifically orientation. They play with perspective to mess with the sense of direction that's reflective in both the character and what's on screen. Flipping shots upside down, or long rotating shillouted shots that had my head spinning watching the film. I appreciate how singular they make these choices as it's not overplayed taking away from the main focus as spectacle.


I immedelaty wanted to rewatch the film after viewing to pick up on those little details scattered throughout the whole film, which gives it bonus points for me as I love to go back, rewatch films and discover new things. I was so hyper focused watching the film that I managed to spot some major spoilers given throughout the film, that to my knowlgade at the time didn't seem that important until the final climax of the film.

The ending of the film had a shocking reveal, but not entirely surprising if you had some suspicions like myself. Don't get me wrong I was still stunned but not blindsided. There are so many puzzle pieces that leads to the final outcome, that must be compelled obvious rewatching another time. It's difficult to get the ending of a horror film right as they most times aren't fulfilling or satisfying.


Has Saint Maud replaced my favourite A24 film of all time...no. Does it shift my ranking of their horror releases...slightly. However, I thoroughly enjoyed watching this film, and am anticipating rewatching it again shortly.

7.5/10




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