The Relic


SF elements

big monster chasing people through dark corridors


Crates of leaves have been shipped to the museum, and no-one knows why. But a load of dead people have been found on a ship, and detective Lt Vincent D'Agosta [Tom Sizemore] suspects a connection. Evolutionary biologist Dr Margo Green [Penelope Ann Miller] find the leaves have a strange effect on a beetle. Then chaos ensues during a gala evening at the museum, and people start losing their heads...

For some reason, this gets good reviews. But it's just a so-so Alien rip-off, with lots of running around in the dark. [pyrotechnics] My willing suspension of disbelief took a knock early on when Dr Green, for no apparent reason, decides to visit the museum's Superstition exhibition alone, at night, just after the first grisly murder -- and then, again for no apparent reason, decides to get very scared and run away from it. She does manage to redeem herself a little with her knowledge of pyro-chemicals later on, however.

The effects are nothing special, either. Most of them are managed by shooting scenes in the pitch dark, through a sprinkler downpour, with each shot lasting a split second. The monster itself looks plasticene. [searching for the light] And Dr Green has a fetching pair of those flat lensed spectacles that are only ever seen on actors playing scientists.

The actors do at least manage to deliver the above-average biological technobabble smoothly. But why are their labs always in pitch darkness, lit only by the spookily glowing computer screens? Do these people not know how to use light switches?

Rating: 4.5

[ unmissable | great stuff | worth watching | mind candy | waste of time | unfinishable ]

reviewed 6 May 2000