Nearly a year has passed since A24-distributed “Saint Maud,” the directorial debut for Rose Glass, was supposed to be released in theaters. But this past weekend a limited run of the psychological horror film hit some theaters across the country, with a wide-VOD release coming mid-February.
The film follows Maud (Morfydd Clark), a lonely nurse with a clearly disturbed past as she tries to not only cope with the grief associated with her previous actions but also save the soul of her new patient Amanda (Jennifer Ehle) from what she views as certain damnation.
To describe this film as a disturbing romp would be an understatement but it’s the best I can give as far as preparing a viewer to watch it. Not only disturbing but also quite sad, but masterfully directed, acted and choreographed.
What becomes clear throughout the film is that Maud is a sad, lonely person who tries to use her religion to fulfill herself and to try to explain her own mental illness. This is a fascinating study of organized religion, specifically how it can be extremely detrimental for people in an already rocky mindset, as we see her slowly transform into a new person who does heinous things in the name of the Lord.
As the film progressed, I felt for Maud — how she is misguided and hurt by false narratives, and how this eventually ruins aspects of her life. She tries to be better and truly believes in what she’s doing without questioning it, slowly destroying herself in the process.
This is a great film, that’s not without its flaws. It’s certainly a bit too slow in certain aspects and has some clearly unneeded moments, but it’s a slow burn, churning out answers in a snail-like pace that pays off in a climactic finale. I loved it, and certainly believe it will be revered by many.
Jordan Lester is a movie reviewer and concert photographer. He lives in Dunn.