Director: Peter Hyams
Running Time: 1 hour, 50 minutes
A mythical creature from Brazil makes its way to the Chicago Natural History Museum where it wreaks havoc on its staff and patrons.
"The Relic" is a horror film directed by Peter Hyams and is based on a novel by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. It stars Penelope Ann Miller as Dr. Margo Green, an evolutionary biologist who works at the Chicago Natural History Museum. Joining her is Tom Sizemore, who plays Lt. Vincent D'Agosta of the Chicago police department, who is investigating a series of murders where the victims have been dismembered. Each of these victims have also had their hypothalamus removed. Hypothalamus is the buzz word for this movie and is repeated over and over, primarily by Sizemore's D'Agosta. We are not exaggerating in the slightest, this word is probably uttered more times than the characters call each other by their own names.
"The Relic" is the most basic kind of monster movie. A scientist working in Brazil ships something back from the Amazon to Chicago and it turns out to be a violent creature with an insatiable hunger for specific hormones found in the hypothalamus. The acting and story surrounding this premise are both pretty poor. It takes an awful long time for the movie to get going, and the entire first portion is downright dull. Watching bad actors speak bad lines only gets exacerbated by this slow pace. There isn't a whole lot of tension, and watching scientists punch numbers and letters into a computer randomizer program is not the least bit enthralling. When the gore finally does come later in its run time, the dismembered bodies and the blood they create are pretty well executed, but are still not satisfying enough to justify such a long tease for next to nothing. The monster itself looks pretty cool, and at first, we thought it was just a practically made, good looking creature in what we assumed was a low budget monster movie. After a little research, we found out the budget for "The Relic" was between $60-70 million back in 1997. Keep in mind, "Jurassic Park" had a budget of $63 million just a few years earlier and it looks a thousand times better. Knowing this was actually a fairly big budget monster movie, it makes the quality of the creature far less impressive, and the low budget look and quality of the rest of the film is rather inexplicable.
With characters we don't really care about, dialogue that is not enthralling, and a story that is not very gripping, all "The Relic" is left with is one decent looking creature combined with a few instances of good blood and guts effects implemented in an overall forgettable film. We wanted to like this movie, but just couldn't get past these glaring missteps.
My Rating: 4/10
BigJ's Rating: 5.5/10
IMDB's Rating: 6.1/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 78%
Do we recommend this movie: Meh.
One year ago, we were being scared by: "Creep"
Two years ago, we were being scared by: "Black Sheep"
Three years ago, we were being scared by: "Halloween"