8.5/10 A24 continues to be the consistently best film studio out there today and “Saint Maud” is another example of their stellar track record. Following in the footsteps of other A24 horror classics like “The Witch”, “The Lighthouse”, “Hereditary”, “Midsommar”, “Green Room” and countless others, “Saint Maud” takes a simple premise (a religious nurse struggling with her faith tries to save the soul of a dying, lesbian patient) and a lean running time and injects the film with fear, disturbing imagery and amazing film making, adding up to an unforgettable horror experience. This is a film for horror fans as non-horror fans and some religious people who are easily offended may want to steer clear of this film. Morfydd Clark is the breakout star and while she has acted in other projects (and will be joining Amazon’s upcoming “Lord of the Rings” series), this is her biggest role to date and she knocks it out of the park. I hope her star power continues to grow as she shows great screen presence and has been able to act across virtually all genres. The biggest credit has to go to writer/director Rose Glass, whose singular vision expertly comes across here. Her commanding presence over the look and tone of the film is incredibly mature for someone making their first feature length film. The cinematography slowly spins out of control, much like our lead nurse, Maud. The editing displays flashes of disturbing recollections, visions and hallucinations to keep the audience unsettled at all times. Finally, Adam Janota Bzowski’s brilliant score is one of the best scores of the year, yet sadly has been missing from the Academy Award conversations (most likely due to it coming from an independent horror film). Horror composers really have an opportunity to play with sound editing/mixing and look for any kind of creepy noises to add to the instrumentals and Bzowski pulls this off brilliantly. Glass is even able to make something as simple as soup bubbling look ominous and disturbing. I loved that we get glimpses of Maud’s back story without being force fed everything or dumped on by exposition. We don’t need to know everything about her past. We only need to know what lead her to this moment and Glass knows this. She has created a fever dream of a film where you don’t always know if what Maud is seeing and feeling are just hallucinations, God working through her or Satan misleading and commanding her. This back and forth mystery struggle is what makes the film better the more I think upon it. The only minor mistakes I found were that the film does borrow certain elements from other horror films (including the aforementioned A24 release, “The Witch”) and a couple of moments were slightly predictable (particularly the second the final scene started). These minor sins won’t be enough to dissuade you from seeing this fantastic film. My biggest complaint as someone who watches hundreds of films a year are films that are forgettable. “Saint Maud” has the great strength of being extremely memorable and if you are a fan of horror films, this is a must see if you’ve got a strong stomach. I’ll be keeping my eyes on Clark and Glass like God watches over us…

#MaudsNotDead / #NursingAHangover / #Soul2 / #PrayerTaker / #MatthewMaudLukeJohn / #PrideAndPrejudiceAndDemons

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