Dir/Wri: Romola Garai | Cast: Imelda Staunton, Carla Juri, Alec Secareanu, Anah Ruddin, Angeliki Papoulia | UK Horror, 99′
Best known for her roles in Atonement and I Captured the Castle, Romola Garai has a stab and writing and directing in her fantasy horror debut Amulet, a sinister migrant movie that slowly mutates from fable territory into macabre melodrama with allegorical undertones.
At the heart of it is Tomas (Secareanu) a traumatised soldier who fetches up in London, possibly as an asylum seeker, and then falls into the capable hands of Imelda Staunton’s kindly nun. Phew! – you think – until things turn increasingly bizarre when he finds board and lodging in a dilapidated house with Magda, another enigmatic migrant with a turbulent past and a very sick mother. Tomas is clearly on shaky ground, falling for Madga’s hearty stews, yet somehow unable her to stomach her bathroom facilities. Then there’s Miriam (Papoulia), another mysterious woman who attracts his attention with her seductive pleas for help.
Emblematic of our unstable times, Amulet is very much about shifting sands, transient people, the Devil we know, or, at least we think we know. And ‘sick building syndrome’ becomes a repulsive reality when Tomas tries to repay Magda’s kindness by doing a few jobs around the house. MT
ON UK RELEASE from 28 January 2022