There’s just something about using horror as a vessel to explore deeply buried trauma that makes for really stunning cinema. And though production and distribution company A24 is no stranger to this genre niche, there’s something unique about their latest horror outing that separates itself from the rest. Rather than transforming its tragedy into a plainly paranormal fare, director Rose Glass’s debut Saint Maud instead sees its horror filtered through a religious lens.
Finding a reason for death and pain is something that we all struggle with. The world is full of darkness, and at times, it seems like a hopeless wasteland. Why do we feel pain? What happens after we die? These are the questions that plague nurse Katie after failing to save the life of a patient under her care. Faced with grief, guilt, and trauma, the only way for her to find meaning or solace is to turn to religion. Taking on the name Maud, she becomes a devout Roman Catholic and comes to see every tragedy as part of God’s greater plan.
Now working as a private palliative care nurse, Maud is assigned to care for Amanda, a famous dancer who is now confined to a wheelchair, terminally ill with stage four lymphoma. Faced with the tragic story of her new patient, Maud finds herself in the position of a savior, destined to save the soul of the dying dancer. However, religion is a slippery slope for our Saint Maud, and her devotion isn’t quite what it seems on the surface.
Though I don’t want to give too much away, as the journey Maud takes us on is one that is rife with jaw-dropping moments, Saint Maud is a film that will pull you in until the last stunning shot, which deftly defines the reality of what we have been witnessing.
Is Maud truly the saint she believes she has become or is death and pain simply a meaningless part of the human experience?
Saint Maud is now available to stream exclusively on EPIX. — Bren Swogger
Photo by Ben Fordesman | Courtesy of A24
Bren Swogger is a journalism major at Pacific University Class of 2021. They currently live in Oregon City, OR. They are the creator of Indie/Alt Magazine, and also write for Vortex Music Magazine in Portland.