Actor-turned-director Romola Garai makes her function debut with this achieved upscale British horror with touches of Eraserhead and Alien; it’s that specific sort of crepuscular indie chiller which you could possibly name “physique horror”, the place the physique in query is each single manky, mouldy floor and inanimate object. The movie may not totally take in all its photographs and concepts, and the dynamic between the male lead and two totally different feminine co-stars within the story’s “previous” and “current” sections feels in some methods like a barely redundant duplication. Nevertheless it’s fashionable and well-acted, and leads as much as a surreal picture of evil.
Alec Secareanu performs Tomas, an ex-soldier from a central European conflict zone haunted by his reminiscences. Whereas in uniform, he had befriended a fugitive civilian known as Miriam (Angeliki Papoulia) and in that discipline of battle he had turn into responsible of violence and evil – symbolised by his unsettling discovery within the woodland of a pagan amulet buried within the soil, whose shell motif eerily recurs throughout him. Now Tomas has made it to the UK as a refugee, carrying his anguish round with him, and twinkly-eyed nun Sister Claire (Imelda Staunton) seems to take pity on him, providing him a spot to remain in a crumbling, derelict previous home with Magda (an excellent efficiency from Swiss actor Carla Juri), a younger lady who lives there with an invalid mom dying, in agony, from some anonymous illness within the topmost bed room of the home.
Naturally we hear this lady’s unearthly screeches and groans, and we’re permitted more and more express glimpses of her monstrous look. However there’s something unusual about Sister Claire, and it’s an enjoyably unsettling and startling efficiency from Staunton. May or not it’s that Garai has studied Kathleen Byron’s efficiency within the Powell/Pressburger traditional Black Narcissus? Amulet is flawed, but it surely does a great job of alchemising drear into worry.