THE RELIC, A Classic Reflections Movie Review

THE RELIC, A Classic Reflections Movie Review

The slightly overlooked 1997 film, The Relic is a great mix of what makes a horror flick a fun popcorn experience. If you like the monster-of-the-day kind of movie, this one is for you.

Directed by Peter Hyams, (Capricorn One, Outland, The Presidio, End of Days), it's based on the novel of the same name, written by Doug Preston and Lincoln Child.

The movie stars Penelope Ann Miller, Tom Sizemore, Linda Hunt, James Whitmore, Clayton Rohner, Chi Muoi Lo.

One of the producers of the film is Gale Anne Hurd, whose resume includes the Terminator film franchise, Aliens, The Abyss, Tremors, Virus, Armageddon, a bunch of other great films since then and some oddball TV series called The Walking Dead.

Hence why I found the film a fairly decent flashback experience of a film.


The film starts out with a scientist named John Whitney discovering a curious substance in South America and managing to get it shipped back to his Chicago museum office. One thing leads to another and we have a people-eating monster rampaging through a museum.

But how we get there is a surprisingly decent set of story events that don't overdo the idea that this is a monster horror flick.

It's a classic set of events, starting with a mysterious murder on a shipping barge, which leads to more murders in the city, ending up at the museum that our scientist worked at.

There's a murder at the museum and during the investigation it is discovered that Whitney's office gets ransacked. Why, we don't know.


The film is full of tropes and each one by themselves is not too much, but they soon start to pile up. Every character has a whimsical humor edge to them. Everyone has a joke here and there.

The characters are tropes in and of themselves...

Miller plays the scientist looking for funding.

Sizemore plays the demanding, commanding detective.

Hunt is the museum proprietor that wants to make sure their big social shindig can still be pulled off, despite the dead body in the bathroom.

Lo plays the aggressive, opportunistic scientist who will do and say what he needs to help him secure his funding.

Yet despite the bucket full of tropes, it does not feel too overdone. They all feel like they fit right where they are.

For the era of this flick, you can see this is when CGI is just starting to get the hang of it and starting to look pretty decent in most shots and angles.

That is, when the monster is not hiding in shadows.


Overall, it does not feel like a waste of time to kick back and watch an escapist horror flick for 1 hour and 50 minutes. The monster hides from the viewer for the first act and slowly reveals itself throughout the second act. By the time the third act comes out, whoa boy!


Here's a tidbit: in Germany the film title was Das Relikt. In Denmark, Forbandelsen (translated, The Curse), Greece: To Apolithoma (The Fossil).

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