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Saint Maud can establish Morfydd Clark and Rose Glass as major new talents in British film

Indie film reviewer and Bishop's Stortford College student Charlie Hughes is full of praise for the "genuinely horrifying" Saint Maud...

"Your saviour is coming" tease the posters for Rose Glass' deliriously terrifying debut feature. Indeed, in the wake of Tenet's somewhat disappointing box office and another No Time To Die delay, cinema must look to a new saviour: Saint Maud.

Emerging star Morfydd Clark astounds as the titular Maud, a lonely Catholic nurse assigned to care for terminally ill Amanda (Jennifer Ehle), who lives in a gothic, hill-top mansion. Consumed by an increasingly obsessive piety, Maud believes that she is on a mission from God, not just to look after Amanda, but to save her soul.

Morfydd Clark as Maud. Picture: PA Photo/A24 Films/StudioCanal/Angus Young
Morfydd Clark as Maud. Picture: PA Photo/A24 Films/StudioCanal/Angus Young

Glass' narrative is deliberately ambiguous, leaving the audience to question the reality of Maud's experience right up until the film's shocking final shot. Having previously tricked audiences with her dual, comedic roles in Armando Iannucci's The Personal History of David Copperfield, Clark's versatility is a perfect match for the material, delivering a shy, yet furious performance that recalls the likes of Catherine Deneuve in Repulsion and Sissy Spacek in Carrie.

Although the shadow of such horror classics looms large over Saint Maud, it is very much its own beast. This is in part due to Glass' uniquely unsettling approach, dispensing with cheap, jump-scare thrills in favour of slow-burn dread to culminate in a genuinely horrifying climax. Adam Janota Bzowski's chilling operatic score and Ben Fordesman's brooding cinematography only enhance this chaos as Maud descends into madness.

Despite its horror trappings, the greatest achievement of Saint Maud is the empathy it displays towards its central character. Maud is a 21st-century Travis Bickle, searching for redemption but alienated by society. Such a singular vision will surely establish both Clark and Glass as major new talents in British film.

Rating: 5 out of 5

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