Amulet Movie Review
Caring round the clock for a parent in their last stage of life sounds burdensome, but the mother in Amulet puts things in perspective.
The feature-length directorial debut for Romola Garai, Amulet immediately cements the actress-turned-helmer as one to watch. Though a slow burn through and through, the horror-thriller gnaws at you from the darkness until it finally, and suddenly, reaches out to rip your throat out.
Unsettling in all the right ways, Amulet is a dark and disturbing little film that hides its intentions for much of its running time. Garai’s patient writing builds to its gnarly climax, but even early on she masterfully draws you in without major hints at which direction the film is going to go. The film, painted in grays and browns and grimy sludge, looks fantastic, but it’s the tone in which Garai strikes just the right balance. Despite a consistent sense of sinister dread, she develops a strong and humanistic bond between the two leads--which makes the climax all the more powerful.
Both Alec Secareanu and Carla Juri are terrific in their respective roles; Secareanu especially taps into Garai’s vision, delivering a performance that feels fully in sync with the story at hand. He’s engaging, relatable even, and yet his own dark secrets haunt both him and the audience. He and Juri have great chemistry together, too.
Amulet may be a little too slow for some audiences, but with some patience--and God knows how little patience I have--it’s well worth a viewing. As for the mother… best leave her upstairs. With a few padlocks on her door.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.