Now "The Relic" starts of quite intriguing, but like most creature flicks declines in quality steadily as the films runtime increases. After I finished watching the movie I was not in the least bit entertained, in fact numerous times I found myself peeping at my watch and pausing the DVD to get something to eat. The main problem with "The Relic" is it fails to really captivate the audience; the people I watched it with really were not focusing the least bit, even when the creature was rampaging around killing people in rather surprising ways.
Now "The Relic" essentially concerns a strange monster that has appeared in the Museum of Natural History in Chicago. The creature then roams around the premise after night killing people and eating their brains (in particular there pituitary glands and their hypothalamus). Initially the museum staff and the local police force assume the creature originated from crates in South America that contained some unusual fungus loaded with animal hormones. What happens is anything that eats the fungus receives massive doses of the hormones, and it rebounds along the evolutionary tree and creates a monster, which is what we see in the movie. Sounds good- but be surprised, the film contains no elements that even make a creature feature worthy of viewing, just for fun.
The flaws of the film begin with the science. What I have noticed that is becoming more and more common in movies, is for film makers to attempt to make a rather unintelligent film seem smart; by loading it with scientific terms and theories. Most people will actually sit back and admire this, as is science lover I simply can't. Now we are lead to believe that overdoses of hormones generate changes in an organism. Sounds OK but no it's actually quite flawed. First of all the film claims through the plot that ingesting large amounts of hormones can physically change a persons DNA, and turn them into another creature, this could not be further from the truth. For example; say if a creature like a human drinks some dog hormones; he\she will feel quite sick but will not mutate in anyway into a dog, no matter after how long. This is because at a cellular level the human lacks mechanisms to respond to it. This not so obvious flaw makes the film to me, seem really unintelligent. All right enough with the science.
Now the science is really not the biggest problem, the film also suffers from quite bad CGI. Now one thing that bugs me with horror movies is; computer generated monsters. The problem with this is CGI often in these cases is poor, and it often distracts from any horror the director is trying to express. Think Jaws and Alien they had no CGI (yes I know it was not available at the time, but this is still a valid point) yet they were scary. You know why? Because everything happened on the set when they were filming, hence the actors could respond to the creature, and the creatures looked farm more real then CGI counterparts of a modern day era in film-making. Like most modern day horror films "The Relic" fits this new age perspective, for the worst. What we are left with an un-scary creature that looks laughable.
Perhaps the most striking flaw of "The Relic" is its non-coherent structure. The film lacks a distinct narrative ark, this makes the film seem awkward and uncoordinated to watch. The film starts of well all the important characters are introduced adequately, and so is the creature. But suddenly, almost randomly the creature appears in mass about say an hour in and the conclusion happens. The flaw is the fact that it really lacks the suspense to build up to the finale. This assists the film in really achieving nothing more than annoying viewers, especially very critical individuals. After all perhaps the easiest way to make a film flow and seem authentic is to have this narrative ark. A film which has the negative ark enables the audience to look forward to a conclusion of the film, and not as I have said before become frustrated and bored.
One final striking flaw of "The Relic" is the creature design. The creature looks rather awful. It seems as if someone just cut pictures out of National Geographic, glued them together and computerized it. Now the creature appears to be a large lizard, with a horses mane down its back, claws from a bird and finally a face that looks distinctly similar to a Predator (from the Predator franchise) and to top it of; an extendable snake tongue. Yikes, yeah that's pretty creative isn't it; gluing some animals together and attempting to pass it off as a visual treat.
Overall "The Relic" will definitely go down in history literally as a relic, and not as a good film, nor a good creature-feature. Poor creature design, and incoherent story disguised by poor science make the film fail on many levels with the only slightly redeemable characteristic being the occasionally striking deaths and gore- if that fancy's your taste. "The Relic" scores a 2.910 in my books. While the film does posses some gore, it never becomes overly disturbing so any children 13 and over should be fine viewing it.
Review by BigBirdtheBum from the Internet Movie Database.