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  • Warning: Spoilers
    I saw this film the other night for the first time in years and I have to say that I think I enjoyed it then just as much as I did when I saw it all those years ago in '97 when it was first released.

    The Relic is a very enjoyable "creature feature" with quite a few good tense moments, the odd occasion of dark humour, and some very nice practical effects some of which still hold up even in this day and age. Is it an amazingly original film? No, but it definitely doesn't deserve some of the criticism that I've seen some people give it.

    Up until recently I never even knew that this was actually based on a book, but after reading some reviews in regards to the book, I'm actually a wee bit surprised at how different the movie seems to be from it, most notably the character of FBI Agent Pendergast. Now I'm not naive enough to not know that a lot of movies can - and often do - drift away from the books (Stanley Kubrick's version of The Shining being a great example), but it seemed strange to leave out such a big character. In saying that, I've not read the book so I can't really compare one over the other, but as I mentioned earlier, the film is still enjoyable in it's own right.

    The cast do a decent job for the main part, but the only thing I didn't really like was that Tom Sizemore was a bit over-the-top for some of his scenes. He was still good, but it was just those few moments that stopped him from being that bit better.

    If you've never seen this film before don't expect a huge array of creature CGI effects either - or a huge array of CGI effects, period. There are CGI moments, but the vast majority of effects you see in the film are practical, which isn't altogether a bad thing because how many films get released these days where it's nothing but CGI to compensate for an anorexic story line (Pacific Rim anyone?). Here, story precedes effects.

    If you've not seen it before then The Relic is definitely worth a watch.
  • SKG-21 December 1999
    I am not a big fan of these types of movies, but I have to say I was reasonably entertained for the most part(Admittedly, I watched this on TV, which could increase my tolerance level, but then again I saw JADE on TV as well). It sets things up nicely before the chase, it doesn't throw in a romantic angle just for the sake of throwing it in, the two leads, Penelope Ann Miller(remember when she was in big movies?) and Tom Sizemore, are both good, and once the chase starts, it's gripping. Admittedly, there are some flaws; having read the novel first, I knew how the creature came to be, which robbed some suspense(and while I appreciate that they had to take a shortcut to explain things, this was a little TOO short), while the photography needed to be dark, it was too dark at times, and Miller's colleague Greg(I forget the actor's name) veered uncomfortably close to stereotype. Still, this was an entertaining time-waster.
  • murrydan9814 March 2009
    The monster movie bites back in this suspenseful thriller. All the elements are there fore the build up. Artefacts are brought from South America which unbeknown are carrying ancient religious powers. Its a cliché from other films including th e start of 'Exorcist' but here its done beautifully.

    With the archaeological find now in Chicago and no one getting suspicious by the dead bodies that came with it- they can't be too bright otherwise they would dump the find in the harbour and that would be the end of the film.

    Politics overrules those that start to worry that they may be dealing with something more that what appears to be on the surface. And then all hell does break loose.

    Relic is a good introducing to suspenseful films for those that don't normally see them.
  • A researcher at Chicago's National History Museum returns from South America with some crates containing his findings. When the crates arrive at the museum without the owner there appears to be very little inside. However, police discover gruesome murders on the cargo ship that brought the crates to the US and then another murder in the museum itself. Investigating the murders is Lt. Vincent D'Agosta who enlists the help of Dr. Margo Green at the museum - she has taken an interest in the contents of her colleague's crates. Unknown to both there is a large creature roaming the museum which is gearing itself up for a benefit reception which the city's mayor is to attend. A horrific monster, haunting the lower-levels of the museum, shows up uninvited. Peter Hyam's "The relic" is a atmospheric, sinister, dark horror movie that scared the hell out of me! I loved the book and the films just as good. There's lots of gory decapitations and the creature effects from Stan Winston studios are beautifully done. A dark work of art, not some crappy "Monster-on-the-loose" film many have called it. 10/10.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I really liked this film, as much for what went unsaid as for what was. The film gives us some odd ideas concerning characterizations.

    For example, Detective Vincent D'Agosta (Tom Sizemore) is a VERY superstitious policeman. He obviously believes that old-fashioned good luck plays a major role in life- witness his response to the idea of stepping over a corpse ("Don't step over it! It's bad luck!") and the importance to which he attributes the position of a dropped penny (Face-up or Face-down.) And indeed, luck DOES play a major role for him: he enters the security control room just AFTER the two guards on duty have been killed and the monster has departed; when he runs after Brantley in the tunnels he finds the creature's lair and the decapitated body of Brantley just AFTER the Kathoga has headed upstairs for a snack.

    I also like the characterization of the Kathoga. Unlike the Alien in ALIEN, the Kathoga doesn't seem interested in killing anything for the hell of it. It kills the humans for the hormones it needs to live, and it kills the first of two dogs (we don't see it, but obviously the dog attacked it, hence its response was quite normal.) When the other dog whimpers and cowers against a wall, the Kathoga stops momentarily to look at it, but since the dog doesn't possess the necessary hormones and isn't attacking, the creature moves on.

    On to special effects. I liked them, too. The attack sequence in which the beast makes a standing leap at the SWAT man on the rappelling line, soars in a perfect arc through the air and brings the guy down is a great visual piece. The monster itself was very well animated.

    One more thing: in most older horror films where someone ships something, the item sent causes some sort of havoc once it reaches its destination; in this film the item shipped provides the key to what the creature is and how it became what it was.

    I think this is worth the time of anyone who likes a good, old-fashioned monster movie.
  • The Relic has had some harsh reviews from a number of people. But I must say what a good film it was. The film takes horror movies back to the way they are best. It left film fans with a sense of what a horror film is all about. The cast of Penelope Ann Miller and Tom Sizemore carry the film to a point that you are on the edge of your seat. The effects are some of the best I have seen in a long time. When I came out of the film, I was hoping they will do the next book but it does not look like it. If you do like to see a horror film that makes you look over your shoulder when you go in the basement when see this.
  • Overall I liked this movie until I read half the reviews--done before, simplistic, not realistic, etc. It is not a GREAT sci fi movie, but it is not as ridiculous as most of the genre. Best feature is that none of the major characters behave idiotically to further the plot. One never feels compelled to yell "Turn around, stupid!" or "No. Don't go into the basement alone!" or "Please turn on the lights!" or (to the heroine) "Don't you remember it's invulnerable to bullets?" The heroine is afraid throughout the movie (shouldn't she be?), but is she irrational at any time? The curmudgeonly, wheelchair-bound senior researcher is trapped on an upper floor, but does he emerge at the end from his place of hiding behind the computer console? The detective is disbelieving at first, but does he obstruct and endanger in the end? The science may be unbelievable (it's like finding a mummy curse) and that prevents this from being a great sci fi, but the behavior of the characters seems authentic (researchers who know their environment) and that is this movie's major strength.
  • Folks complain about the fact that this movie lacks realism on the technical side of things. Supercomputers and bio-jargon are all over the place in this movie. That's all true.

    However, I do not watch movies for education. I watch them for entertainment. This movie scared me silly, and *that's* why I give the film an 8. It had some cheesiness - including the computer junk - so it doesn't rate a ten, but it was certainly a pretty darn good horror flick.

    One great thing about it is that they knew where and how to end it. They brought the story to a close before you got bored with the monster. Kudos to the writers for making it fearsome all the way to the end, and also to Tom Sizemore for doing a great job with his character. He's a pretty believable cop.

    Find a friend with a big TV and watch this thing in the dark with a cute girl. You won't be disappointed if you're looking for a good story with a good scare. It ain't Shakespeare, but it's definitely worth watching.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    The reason why films with huge monsters are so worn-out nowadays is because we have seen so many of these menaces since the 50's that we hardly find believable that someone runs or screams if he or she knows that a big monster is on the rampage. The Relic fixes that matter with a clever idea; the characters don't really know what they are facing. This was what made great all the monster movies in the past.

    Peter Hyams with The Relic delivers the necessary amount of scares and also generates some real suspense, and construct the ambient of museums and archeology correctly.

    Both Tom Sizemore and Penelope Ann Miller are great here, and it is a real mature detail that the script doesn't force a romantic involvement between them. This kind of details may appear to be useless but they actually allow the scriptwriters to be more creative. In that aspect Vincent D'Agosta (Sizemore) is really an unusual hero, plenty of flaws he certainly is not the all-ready for action cop we'll expect, and Dr. Margo Green (Miller) is the same case but as sidekick.

    The movie doesn't let the viewer take a breath, and has some unexpected revelation and some well achieved gory moments but not abusive. A sample of what were monster movies before the coming of things like Anaconda and its clones.
  • When a shipment of artefacts returns to America from South America the police find decapitated bodies on board the ship. When a similar murder occurs in the Chicago museum Lt D'Agosta suspects a psychotic killer and shuts down the museum. With political pressures to keep the museum open for an `opening gala' for Chicago's rich and famous, D'Agosta is forced to give way but sets the place up with a police presence to deal with any trouble. Meanwhile scientist Margo Green suspects that an empty crate of mysterious leaves may have been more than just that and examines the potential that a virus on the leaves caused some sort of creature to evolve. When the same `evolution' attacks during the gala setting off the security alarms and locking down the museum it becomes a fight for survival and escape.

    When this came out in the cinema I felt that that was not the best place to see a film like this and decided to wait for video or TV. I finally saw it on TV last night and feel that my gut feeling was right – the small screen is the best place to see this film. At a cinema you may have higher expectations than you would if you watched it in the comfort of your own home on a lazy Saturday night and that might have hurt this film because honestly it's not that good a film. However as a video you perhaps have a lower expectation and then this film is a nice little surprise.

    It is without it's own style or ideas but it is an effective monster movie which, in a nutshell, is really what it is. The film follows the traditional formula of all these types of things – monster loose, location sealed or remote, characters separated and picked off in the order you expect until the hero gets the better of it. In that sense this is without any new ideas but and doesn't shine on the plot front but it is an effective little movie. Not particularly scary but more gore than I expected and the film manages to keep the beast frightening by keeping it in the shadows for the majority – even after we've seen it, it is still shot in darkness. In fact the way the film is moved into darkness adds to the tension and makes it more exciting. Of course it isn't fantastic but it does do what you expect a monster movie to do, which is my point. It's main weakness is that it plays it very straight (although the mood made by the darkness helps this) many monster movies have successfully gone more tongue in cheek and done well (Deep Rising from the same period comes to mind. However, having gone the straight road the film does stick to it well despite a very unlikely explanation for the beast.

    The cast are par for the course with this type of film – no big stars but support cast given bigger roles. Sizemore is on good form and is at home in the lead of this type of film, I doubt he could carry a blockbuster but he is good. Miller has done better films and she is OK, sadly she is lumbered with all the science stuff and isn't as impacting until near the end. To contrast the two characters there was a 20 minute spell in the middle where both Sizemore and Miller are absent from the action (in different areas) – I noticed Sizemore's absent but it wasn't until Miller came back that I noticed she was gone. The rest of the cast are the usual monster food and you can almost predict who will live and die without 30 seconds of them being introduced – selfish arrogant scientist? How long do you think he'll last!?

    Despite this and other clichés the film is good enough to watch as long as you know what you are getting – it is certainly better than a lot of the creature feature movies you can get at your video store and the mood produced by the director in all that darkness helps it along nicely. Not great but better than average for the genre.
  • This one is my favorite of all monster movies. It has the perfect violence and gore. As the monster itself. Before I bought this movie I checked out some comments at IMDb, and they where pretty good. So I spent my savings on it, and when I got home I saw it alone at night. I jumped a few times, specially on the see where we see for the first time the monster attacking. The story is awesome and imaginative, like the ancient relic and the lost tribe that makes a drink with some leaves that further in the film we see that those leaves carry a red fungus that contain lots of different animal hormones. He drinks the drink, and starts to feel strange, and later he transforms into a creature that needs those leaves with the fungus to survive. If he doesn't has the leaves he rips off peoples heads and eats its hipotalamus(part of the brain)that contain the same hormones. Then the monster goes to the coal tunnels and reaches the museum, and strange murders happen in the museum. The special efx are good as so the mechanical beast. Tom Sizemore has a good role playing detective "Vincent D'Agosta", so as Penelope Ann Miller playing Biologist Margo Green. Both acting and dialogue is very good. And I truly recommend this one if you are a "monster" movie lover like me.

    I give this one 9 stars. Enjoy it if you dare see this movie.
  • On its own, The Relic was a fairly decent movie (but it scared the heck out of me at the theater). Compared to the book, though, it falls short of its brilliance. I was disheartened that FBI Agent Pendergrast was not in the movie; he was the best character in the whole book. The monster was ugly, no question about that (my congrats to Stan Winston's team). But without Pendergrast, the story wasn't as terrifying as the book. And with the movie killing off Dr. Frock and Gregory, there's no way Reliquary (the sequel to Relic) can possible be made; since those characters are key to the story.
  • This just might be the best monster movie I have ever seen, with a believable and action-packed story, good acting and thrilling special effects - thrilling because they bring something thrilling to life; the monster. I think the strength of the movie is in the casting of Penelope Ann Miller in the lead role. She is a terrific actress, who should have lots more screen time than she's received - and she's not your typical scream queen. She starts out as a very believable forensic anthropologist and her reactions when she sees the carnage the creature has left are totally believable. And the ending, where she employs her scientific prowess to fight to the last, is great.

    This is one well-conceived and believable story featuring themes such as rapid evolution and mixed DNA. Furthermore, Penelope Ann Miller is superb in the leading role. While the good stuff doesn't begin until about 40 minutes to the end, it sure gets good, with the suspension, action and terror rising. Of course, the main attraction of The Relic is the monster. Similar to Jaws, the actual monster is hidden for much of the film. There, however, the similarities end. When the wait is over, The Relic reveals itself to be an excellent beast, aesthetic and even beautiful. It's stupendously brought to life with excellent animation. The scenes with the monster wouldn't look out-of-date on the screen today.

    Overall rating: 8 out of 10.
  • Released in 1997, "The Relic" stars Penelope Ann Miller and Tom Sizemore as a biologist and detective in Chicago who team up after a series of brutal deaths at the Chicago museum where the former works. James Whitmore, Linda Hunt and Chi Muoi Lo co-star as scientists at the museum.

    This is a gory monster movie made with a whopping budget and an intriguing sci-fi concept concerning the creature, but it's hindered by bad lighting and bland characters. As far as the former goes, this is one of the darkest movies I've ever seen that doesn't take place in a cave. Regarding the latter, Sizemore is good, but Miller is only serviceable with the rest of the characters being merely okay. I suppose it doesn't help that the story lacks dramatic drive. People laud the film for not throwing in a romantic subplot between the protagonists, but SOMETHING needed done to make it more compelling. How about throwing in some teens visiting the museum – something! Nevertheless, there are some legitimate scares, the kills are utterly savage and the monster, location and sets are good.

    The film runs 110 minutes and was shot at the awesome Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago, with interior/studio work done in Los Angeles.

    GRADE: C+
  • 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.
  • This is one of these movies where you don't expect much, just another crude horror mix. But if you watch it you will be pleasently surprised. It is not a bad movie. In fact it's very good, and more of a thriller really than a horror film. The story is well told (D Preston and L Child did a great job in putting their marvellous novel on screen) and although obviously a lot shorter than the book none of the important elements are missing. Especially in the beginning you might get the impression that P Hyams is more concerned with the camera work than the actual directing but as the movie continues these thoughts become secondary - together with an interesting cast he achieves to make the movie as good as possible, considering it's obvious limits. Another thing that I was very impressed with were the special effects. There aren't many but the ones they have are great. Especially with FX I tend to believe less is more. Instead of spending their money on lots of crudely made effects the makers of this movie keep you in suspense until they unleash their monster. Well done - go and see it (and read the books - The Relic and Reliquary)
  • Warning: Spoilers
    "The Relic" sucks?!?! Uh, I think not.

    All the negative reviews this film has received leave me scratching my head in total shock and disbelief. What is wrong with all these people? "The Relic" was just about the single most entertaining monster movie I had seen for many long years prior to its release. To this day, I am still struggling to understand what made the novel so special. Some people here seem to believe the book was better than the movie. Well, you know something, folks? The book was flat-out garbage! Perhaps I'm being too critical when I say that. But, in all honesty, I have always had trouble getting through books with more than one author. I guess that was the main reason why I could never finish the book this movie was based upon. The writing styles of the two authors kept conflicting and never quite fused.

    This was easily Peter Hyams' best overall film! Regardless of what the nitpickers may claim, the script was very well written, the dialouge was snappy, and the monster was just about the most ferociously terrifying thing I've seen on a movie screen since "Alien." Believe me when I say that Stan Winston really outdid himself with this bad boy! All throughout the film, before we even see this creature, you hear an unsettling wheeze that sets your spine on edge. I kid you not. It gets to the point where you're literally asking yourself, "what is making that noise?" That was the fun part of this movie for me. I loved that aspect of it. And, of course, when the people in the museum begin turning up with their heads missing, that's when the real roller-coaster is set in motion.

    I would advise anybody reading this to simply ignore all the negativity they've read regarding this film. It is nowhere near as bad as these cynical reviewers are making it sound. Check it out! And, if you really want a cool effect, watch it on Halloween night with all the lights off!
  • When I got this movie, I was under the impression that it was a typical action adventure where there are some strange deaths and people assume it is some killer creature. Well, I was right on that part. But this movie is actually pretty scary, choking up some genuine chills especially when you are not expecting them. Tom Sizemore and Penelope Ann Miller are great together in THE RELIC, a must-see for all fans of horror and action adventures.

    Linda Hunt and James Whitmore are also good as supporting cast members. This movie is one of the better horror films of the last five years as it is very original, taking a traditional plot and giving it a new touch.

    You may find these kinds of movies stupid, so stay away, this movie is one of the better films of the genre, that is for sure. There are some seriously good death sequences in this movie and some very notable special effects from the Jim Henson Creature Shop. Director Peter Hyams (the guy behind END OF DAYS) has done well, creating a masterpiece of modern horror that is liable to stay within your memory long after you are done watching it.

    THE RELIC: 5/5.
  • With some of the dire, drab and boring horror movies which are getting good credit and reviews it was nice to jump in a time machine, thanks to terrestrial television (and the Horror Channel), and see how horror should be done.

    This was a breath of fresh air especially after watching The Babadook.

    Though there's a lot of action in the film and a smidgen of science fiction there's more elements of horror. There's an occult/religious angle, there's a demonic beast on the hunt for its next victim, which it dispatches in a very nasty way indeed, but most of all there's tension and suspense by the bucket-of-blood load.

    All of this is handled brilliantly under the experienced direction of Peter Hyams, he does a great job of keeping so many components from spilling over while keeping the story believable. Taking a story of this magnitude and getting the reader/viewer to believe it could actually happen is a skill. The first time they think this cannot be real then the writer and director have lost. So respect is also due to the writers and screenwriters for a very impressive job. If somebody want's to make a decent Stephen King adaptation then they should take notes from this movie.

    More respect for the creature creation wizard Stan Winston as this is some of his finest work in the horror genre... except of course "John Carpenter's The Thing". The scene where the beast catches a member of the S W A T team while he's running away and pulls his head off his body is awesome; this would have been spectacular to see on the big screen and one of the reasons I prefer wet-work over CGI in effects.

    Though there are no big name actors in the film they still give credible performances. The only one that partially hams it up is Chi Muoi Lo, who plays Dr Grant Lee, his character is meant to be annoying but Lo does tend to go over the top; luckily enough he's not in the movie much.

    This is an enjoyable horror film which romps away joyously in the action sequences and slows to a creepier pace in the suspenseful scenes. This film speaks to more than just horror movie fans and I would definitely recommend this to everyone to watch just once.
  • A massive, mutated, hybrid monster with a taste for human brains is on the rampage in Chicago's Museum of Natural History, and with the guests at a fancy gala evening trapped inside the building, there's no shortage of juicy grey matter for the creature to feast upon. Tough cop Lt. Vincent D'Agosta (Tom Sizemore) and beautiful evolutionary biologist Dr. Margo Green (Penelope Ann Miller) risk their thalami and hypothalami to do battle with the beast.

    The Relic is a formulaic monster-on-the-loose movie full of stereotypical characters, predictable plot developments, and scientific gobbledygook (the exposition might have made sense in the novel, but it is rather sketchy here), but despite the over familiarity of the material, the film still has enough going for it to make it a blast for avid creature feature fans. Peter Hyams handles the direction in his usual technically proficient manner, making good use of his creepy setting (some reviewers complain that the film is poorly lit, but I had no problem with that), delivering plenty of atmosphere, tension, excitement, and well staged scares along the way. Top notch effects also add immensely to the overall enjoyment factor: designed by Stan Winston, the creature is an impressive creation brought to life with practical models and limited use of CGI (which still holds up pretty well), and, once the film kicks into top gear, the gore is graphic and frequent, not a lot of time going by without someone having their head ripped from their body. It might not be all that sophisticated, but it sure is fun.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    The Relic is an entertaining, well-written and at times genuinely suspenseful monster movie. It doesn't pretend to be anything other than B grade in tone, but it does have an interesting and surprising plot twist, which is revealed late in the movie.

    The Relic features a very impressive monster, both in design and execution. The 'Kathoga' is a full-scale 'physical effect', much like the Alien Queen in "Aliens" or the T-Rex in "Jurassic Park", and was created by the late, great, Stan Winston and his creature studio (he created the others mentioned, also). It is among some of the most convincing monsters ever created using physical effects, including those in "Alien", "An American Werewolf in London" and "Predator".

    The film is directed by Peter Hyams, who has made some great 'popcorn movies' over the past thirty years, including thrillers ("Capricorn One", "Narrow Margin", "The Presidio"), science-fiction ("Outland", "2010: The Year We Make Contact", Timecop"), and action ("Sudden Death", "End of Days"). He is also a cinematographer, screenwriter and producer, with his own distinct lighting style. It is rare to see a film made this way nowadays, with heavy use of smoke, anamorphic lenses, and subdued, almost film-noir lighting. Since so much is in shadow, many details are lost on DVD, because the format lacks sufficient resolution. The results would be far better in High Definition (on Blu-Ray disk, for example), or on the big screen, as intended by the director.

    The writing is solid and well-paced. Dialogue is snappy and never reveals too much, too soon. The cast is perfect, with some memorable supporting players among them. The score, by composer John Debney, works very well, adding greatly to the atmosphere of the film. The setting, The Chicago Museum of Natural History, is a major character in the film, and is used to full effect.

    Movies of this kind, which combine a well-developed plot with humor, big production values and a cast of adults (not just teens with adults for support) are rare nowadays, sadly. The Relic is an underrated film that deserves to be seen by fans of the 'monster movie', or 'creature-feature' genre.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    "The Relic" is a film that will make you jump and squirm in your seat, it's THAT good.

    What results (in the novel and film) is a grotesque reptilian-mammalian creature that decapitates its victims and devours the one part of the victim's body that can supply the creature with the missing hormonal concoction: the human hypothalamus. Taking place mainly in the fictional "Natural History Museum of Chicago", the film offers viewers what goes on behind museum walls, like that museums only show about 2% of their collections that can sometimes reach numbers in the millions, or that the common domestic beetle cleans carcasses of their flesh in preparation for taxidermy. Aside from the educational aspects, the film also offers some of the most complicated human-creature interaction scenes ever filmed, as well as breath-taking visual and creature effects, most of them more complicated than the "Jurassic Park" series's scenes. The film also shows some of the most visually disturbing images (many which were cut from the final picture), like 2 on screen decapitations, and bodies being severed in two (please keep in mind though, all these scenes are done in taste, as opposed to the more famous "Nightmare on Elm Street" or "Friday the 13th" series.) And even if you don't include the gore, just the lighting and ambiance of the film is eerie in itself. Other films, when attempting to show a "dark" scene, light up the picture with blue lights, allowing the audience to see the advisory right behind the main characters.

    In "The Relic" though, most of the scenes are lit only by a flashlight, allowing the audience to see only what the characters see. "The Relic", even though it did not get many good reviews, is an excellent film that gives you many thrills in under two hours. By the time the film is over, and if you're really into it, I guarantee that your pulse will be up by about 20 more beats per minute.
  • ... and I am talking about the IMDb universe, because I am not currently registered to do entertainment reviews on the other inhabited planets. Still, just a guess, I think this horrendous adaption of a Preston/Child novel would likely qualify as awful in those realms as well. In fact, I suspect that this single film was responsible for the fact that very little of Preston/Child's later works -- many of which were just brilliant -- ever caught another bid from Hollywood.

    So what can we say about Peter Hyam's bizarre attempt to turn a wonderfully mature, adult, mystery novel into Jaws 36?

    * IMDb rating is dead on. Thank you, IMDb reviewers

    * an all-star cast is completely lost when competing with the CGI creature. Only Penelope Ann Miller shines. (This reviewer has always considered her an under-appreciated actress -- this was done just after she stole the show in Witch Hunt, one of the most obscure but entertaining movies ever. Tab to Amazon and order that!)

    * the movie is so off-kilter that, by the climax, the audience is as likely to be rooting for the creature (single-minded, focused, acrobatic, athletic, all good and admirable qualities) as his prey.

    Whatta waste.
  • ovidnine21 August 2012
    I remember seeing this movie in the theaters when I was 17 and enjoying it. I saw it was on Netflix instant and gave it a whirl...

    I'm not going to rip into this movie because it was full of clichés, its a monster movie for goodness sake. As far as the "ancient idol/horrible monster/kill everyone around" genre goes, its not bad at all.

    I enjoy Tom Sizemore as an actor and while the script was what one would expect of 4 credited (and lord knows how many uncredited) screenwriters, I felt he did a good job as his character. Honestly for a movie of this type, the acting was just fine. They weren't required to do much, but that was OK.

    However, if you watch this movie, get used to entire scenes where you have no idea what is happening because its so dark. I understand, keep the settings dim to create fear (and realism, the power is out most of the time though why everyone in the museum works in near total darkness 99% of the time is a bit mind-boggling) but I can't be scared if I can't see what's happening when I'm supposed to!

    Dark, extremely dark shots keep the viewer in the (I can't do it), keep the viewer confused in many scenes. It was bad enough that a moderate length movie (109m) seemed MUCH longer and not in a good way.

    Much like gimmicky camera tricks or abuse of slow-motion (I'm looking at you John Woo) can ruin a movie, the overly dark nature of so many shots just leaves you sitting there wish you could tell what the hell was going on.

    I will say, possibly watching it on a larger screen, or a better quality television (mine is a 32" Sony LCD, nothing fancy) might mitigate lighting issues a bit, I don't know.

    Overall, its an OK movie for the genre that is partially ruined by not being able to tell what the hell is going on.
  • This movie was really good. It happens to be my favorite horror movie! I read the book when the movie was in theatres. I loved the is my favorite book. But unfortunately.....I didn't get to see the movie. I waited years for this movie. I finally rented it this year and watched it. After 4 years, I wasn't disappointed. But the same night I saw this movie, it debuted on tv for the first time. Sucky coincidence, huh? All I'm asking is that you watch the movie and make your own decision about the movie.
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