11 October 2009 | Samiam3
A recommendable monster movie for fans
One of my favourite B-movies is Peter Hyam's the Relic. Although it isn't a terrific movie, It has several strengths. Firstly, it is atmospheric and quite suspenseful, both of which are generated by Hyam's exceptional photography skills (he is his own DP). Secondly, it is convincing as a monster movie, even with a slightly limited budget, the creature works well both as an animatronic and as a GG model. With many films, it is one or the other. Thirdly, although the story is not that original, it does a fairly good job of hiding the cliché. The Relic paces itself nicely, putting the pieces together one at a time getting more and more interesting until it is ready to unleash its energy.
It begins in the tropics of Brazil. Antropologist Dr. John Whitney works for the Chicago Natural History Museum, which is about to open an expensive new exhibit. They are very busy, so when Whitney's latest shipment of findings arrive, the crates are put aside for the moment. One scientist however Dr. Margo Green becomes intrigued with the packing leaves in the crates. They appear to contain a bizarre animal protein. Meanwhile on the other side of the city, Lt. Vincent D'Agosta of the Chicago PD is investigating a mass homicide. The crew of the cargo ship on which Dr. Whitney's crates were sent are all dead and in pieces. his search for answers takes him to the Museum. After a night guard is discovered dead and decapitated in the basement level, D'Augusta is convinced that the perp is hiding somewhere within the building. Is he right?, and will he be able to convince the museum to close on the night of their big gala opening? In addition, do all these gruesome murders have something to do with the protein that Dr. Green has discovered, a protein that can turn an insect into the size of a football! It is going to be one heck of a night, and it is up to Dr. Green and Leutenat D'Agosta to save the day.
If I were to write a paper on cinematography, I would for sure make the Relic one of my body points. Peter Hyams builds a very dark, frequently claustrophobic environment, and many of his tricks work perfectly. One of which is his decision to shoot the monster mostly in silhouette to avoid the chance of it looking fake.
Of course there are some area where the film is not so strong. I wouldn't say that the film offers intelligent acting or dialogue, but in truth, not many B-movies do, so if you are like me, you will let it slip and enjoy the film for what it is, a deliciously eerie, and slick monster flick.