What To Expect from Exorcism-Horror ‘Saint Maud’

From the studio that brought you films like Hereditary, The Witch and Midsommar comes A24’s latest delve into the horror genre: Saint Maud, a film that ditches the occult for something altogether more sinister.

The directorial debut of Rose Glass, Saint Maud follows reclusive nurse Maud (Morfydd Clark) who, after an unknown incident, begins to go down a path of devout Christianity. Upon meeting her latest patient, a retired dancer dying from cancer, Maud takes it upon herself to save the woman’s soul from damnation—no matter the cost.

Trailers for the film may have been out for a while, but they certainly left a lasting impression, with more dread and discomfort then you get in most feature-length horror films today. Just from the trailers, it’s clear this isn’t a film to see with the family, and those with a weak stomach should stay away. Body horror seems to be the main instrument of fear here, but by no means the only one. While moments in the trailer do make you wince or avert your eyes, there is also an underlying sense of dread, showing that if this film is done right, can be a great psychological horror as well. And if that doesn’t get horror fans excited, maybe the opinions of those who have seen it might.

After premiering at the Toronto Film Festival on the 8 September 2019, Saint Maud quickly made a name for itself, being picked up for distribution rights by A24 and Studio Canal. Safe to say critics loved it, with the film receiving a Special Commendation in the Official Competition section of the London Film Festival. Jury president, Wash Westmoreland, stated that “this dazzling directorial debut marks the emergence of a powerful new voice in British Cinema.”

Websites like Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic also hold the film in high regard, with a rating of 93% and 76 out of a 100 respectively. The former’s consensus reads: “A brilliantly unsettling blend of body horror and psychological thriller, Saint Maud marks an impressive debut for writer-director Rose Glass.”

Saint Maud premiered over a year ago now, but despite that, this British horror film hasn’t actually released in the UK yet. It was scheduled for release on 1 May, but due to the recent pandemic, it was officially postponed to 9 October 2020. With the release finally just around the corner, Saint Maud makes for a perfect Halloween screening.

Words by George Bell


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