Saint Maud is a stunning debut feature from director Rose Glass, is it a
horror or is a tale of mental illness, I’ll leave you to decide. One thing
that it is certain, it’s scary.
Maud (a powerful and utterly mesmerising performance from Morfydd Clark) is
a private nurse who is given gainful employment looking after cancer
patient and former dancer Amanda Kohl (Jennifer Ehle).
From the beginning things don’t look or feel right, a short voice over at
the start gives the impression that Maud might not have left her previous
job under the best of circumstances. Horrific flashbacks show a screaming
and blooded person writhing around on a hospital bed. Glass throws in some
more pieces to the puzzle when Maud meets a fellow nurse (Lily Knight) who
tells her that what happened in her previous job wasn’t her fault.
Maud (in a voiceover) also chats to God who makes it her task to save the
soul of Kohl.
Up to a point Kohl is happy to be saved but things take a turn for the
worse when Maud starts interfering with her life and she’s sacked.
Finding herself in a squalid bedsit the voices in her head become more
frequent and her behaviour becomes more erratic, self-mutilation and
horrific seizures start to make you wonder if she really is possessed by
some inner spirit.
The power in Saint Maud, and where it differs from so many scream in your
face horror films, is in the realism of the story, is Maud touched by God
or possibly the Devil or is she just in fact a loner who suffers from
terrible mental illness?
Saint Maud is a powerful piece of filmmaking and one of the scariest, if
not the scariest horror film of the year.
Highly recommended and not to be missed.