Horror-mystery Saint Maud (2019) follows a pious nurse who becomes dangerously obsessed with saving the soul of her dying patient. The movie premiered on September last year at the Toronto International Film Festival, and this was the official plot published by the festival:
There, but for the grace of God, goes Maud, a reclusive young nurse whose impressionable demeanor causes her to pursue a pious path of Christian devotion after an obscure trauma. Now charged with the hospice care of Amanda, a retired dancer ravaged by cancer, Maud’s fervent faith quickly inspires an obsessive conviction that she must save her ward’s soul from eternal damnation – whatever the cost. Making her feature film debut, writer-director Rose Glass cannily lures the audience into this disturbed psyche, steadily setting up her veritable diary of a country nurse for an unnerving and ultimately shocking trajectory. Morfydd Clark (also at the Festival in The Personal History of David Copperfield) portrays the sanctimonious Maud with an intense stoicism that belies a disquieting vulnerability, as Maud desperately vies for absolution and solidarity from her embittered patient (an enthralling Jennifer Ehle, also at the Festival in Beneath the Blue Suburban Skies). Glass tenderly captures this relationship with an empathetic gaze that first assumes an ethereal, dreamlike atmosphere – but it isn’t long before Maud’s dogmatic candor incites an irreconcilable friction that spirals her mind into a suffocating confluence of creeping doubt and paranoia. As Glass tightens the screws on her misguided martyr, well-placed nods are made to religious horror forerunners like William Friedkin‘s The Exorcist(1973), further contributing to the film’s increasingly dread-filled malaise. And when this insidious fever climatically breaks, the consequences are devastating and terrifying in equal measure.
The movie has been described as “a chilling and boldly original vision of faith, madness, and salvation in a fallen world”, and called an “exquisite religious psychological thriller”. Acclaimed director Danny Boyle even described Saint Maud (2019) as “a genuinely unsettling and intriguing film. Striking, affecting and mordantly funny at times, its confidence evokes the ecstasy of films like Carrie (1976), The Exorcist (1973), and Jonathan Glazer’s Under the Skin (2013)“.
Saint Maud (2019) is the debut in a feature film of writer and director Rose Glass, after her successful fantasy short film Room 55 (2014) and being part of the horror anthology A Moment of Horror (2015) with her segment Bath Time. Morfydd Clark, Jennifer Ehle, Lily Frazer, Fiona Thompson, Turlough Convery, Noa Bodner, Lily Knight, Rosie Sansom, and Marcus Hutton form the main cast of the movie.
After its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, Saint Maud (2019) has also been part of international festivals like Fantastic Fest, London Film Festival, AFI Fest, Festival International du Film Fantastique de Gérardmer, Fantastic Film Festival Australia and Glasgow Film Festival. A24, who has the distribution rights for the movie, has scheduled its USA release for the 3rd of April, 2020, and other international release dates in May 2020. Here you can watch the new official trailer for the movie:
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