Movie Review: Amulet

There are movies with big-name actors attached to them and a huge special effects budget that can blow your hair back and knock your socks off, metaphorically speaking, and then there are lesser-known movies that don’t have a lot of presence but are still creepy as hell and make you wince with barely any effort. Stating that Amulet is one of the latter is fairly accurate, but the truth is that the movie is kind of a slow mover and requires that the audience actually pays attention to what’s going on as Tomaz, a former soldier that is assigned border patrol duty, feels like kind of a hopeless case who was put out of harm’s way for a reason and is fairly listless as the movie goes along. That changes when a woman attempting to cross the border, Miriam, comes into his life. It should be mentioned that while digging in the forest for one reason or another, Tomaz comes across an amulet in the shape of a woman, kind of, that becomes a big part of the story later on. 

After it’s established that Miriam stayed with Tomaz for a while, and something traumatic obviously happened, the movie flashes forward to show Tomaz living in a derelict building with other individuals, working as a day laborer in London. When a fire is set in the building he’s forced to stumble out and is found by a nun that many Harry Potter fans should recognize. Imelda Staunton plays the part of Sister Claire, a kindly old nun that recommends a place for Tomaz to stay as she takes him to the home of a young woman named Magda, who is at that time caring for her invalid mother. While Magda is reluctant to have Tomaz stay in her home at first, it’s shown that the two begin to bond after a while as Tomaz begins to fix up the crumbling home and becomes friendly with Magda as they begin to accept each other. 

That’s all well and good until strange sounds can be heard and Tomaz begins to suspect that all isn’t right in the house. When he begins to see things that aren’t there the problems really begin since while attempting to clear a clogged toilet one day he finds a large, live bat living in the bowl somehow. The creature bites him before he can kill it, but at that point, it’s fair to say that he’s more than a little creeped out and is starting to wonder if he’s in the right place. There are a couple of moments in the movie when Tomaz actually thinks of running away, of getting as far from the house as he can. He also experiences flashbacks to his time with Miriam, which become far more revealing as at one point he became attached to her and actually forbade her to leave, even when hearing that she wanted to reconnect with her daughter. At one point Miriam ran, against Tomaz’s advice, and the result was that Tomaz attacked and raped her, leaving him with a serious moral conundrum. As the story comes back to the present it becomes evident that Magda’s mother is getting worse and worse, and it’s finally revealed after a few disgusting images that Magda’s mother is inhabited by a demon, which both she and Magda are charged with containing so that it doesn’t escape to harm anyone else.

Now determined to save Magda from this fate, Tomaz speaks to Sister Claire about the matter but is told that this is simply the way things are. When he tries to kill the demon the first time, Magda’s mother bites him, then removes the knife from her body as, under the guidance of the demon, she’s about to kill Tomaz before Magda stops her. The second attempt is successful, but it’s also more revealing since the story of the person that owned the home comes to light as Tomaz realizes that it’s not Magda’s mother, but the original occupant that murdered his wife in order to marry his daughter, it’s too late. Tomaz becomes the new host and demands that Magda be his guardian. As a result, however, he begins to give birth to the bat-like creatures that were initially coming out of the other host. 

The one upside of this movie is that by the end the audience gets to see that Miriam is still alive and did reunite with her daughter, while Tomaz, as the demon-infested host, is now being driven around by Magda, who is free of the house and appears to be in much greater control of her life as the credits begin to roll. To say that this movie is creepy is pretty accurate, but holy hell if the imagery wasn’t enough to give a person the willies.  

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