Click here to return to the main site.

DVD Review

DVD cover

The Relic


Starring: Tom Sizemore and Penelope Ann Miller
Distributor: Fabulous Films / Fremantle Media Enterprises
RRP: £12.99
Certificate: 15
Release Date: 27 April 2015

A Natural History Museum anthropologist sends back two crates from a formerly undiscovered region of South America before disappearing. The ship (rather like the one in Bram Stoker’s Dracula) arrives with the crew all dead, and Detective Vincent D’Agosta is put on the case. When the crates are opened at the museum, one of them contains only leaves. A security guard is found horribly mutilated and decapitated. D’Agosta suspects an unrealised connection between the two events. He closes the museum to conduct a thorough search, but when a high-profile fundraising gala comes round he is forced by the mayor to reopen for the night. While the bigwigs are partying, D’Agosta is searching the lower levels for a deadly, predatory creature. Meanwhile, evolutionary biologist, Margo Green uncovers the truth about the leaves and the animal-related viral fungus on them. When she conducts a computer breakdown of a secretion from the creature she makes a startling discovery which changes everything...

It’s some time since I last saw this film and, although I think I enjoyed it more on the first viewing, it remains a fun little murder mystery/monster-by-numbers flick. The characters are strong and easily identifiable; caricatures of sorts. There’s the nice scientist, the scheming and back-stabbing scientist, the selfish mayor, the police detective who is unreadable to his subordinates and has an idiosyncrasy (in this case, he’s very superstitious), and a genuine and practical museum curator. The monster itself is kept behind the camera or in deep shadow for at least two-thirds of the film. This, as we all know, is very sensible because the unknown terror has significantly more power than the reveal – no matter how good the special effects are.

The plot itself is an amalgamation of two essential ideas. The first involves an almost 1920s plot of bringing back something dangerous from a lost tribe in the South Americas, and it causing havoc in the civilised Western world. The second is a kind of Michael Crichton Jurassic Park tale of a creature being created (in this instance, by accident, or at least natural selection), using animal DNA to find a form. Even then, its given shape of a fast-moving Alien-acting dinosaur raptor is somewhat unimaginative. Again, the attempt to recreate fire using special effects is woefully unconvincing. The sequence when it chases someone whilst on fire simply reduces the antagonist to a cartoon character, and I wondered if it should really be chasing Shaggy and Scooby.

On the whole though it’s an entertaining romp, and that’s what counts. For some reason I always mix up The Relic with Mimic; although the Del Toro movie doesn’t follow the same plot, there are similarities of style and location. In particular, hunting a monster (or being hunted!) in dark passages underground.


Ty Power

Buy this item online

Each of the store links below opens in a new window, allowing you to compare the price of this product from various online stores.