I had been looking forward to this movie for nearly two years. I remember the trailer vividly. A handful of dark, religious imagery, the promise of manipulation, possibly even demonic, and all of it tuned to "All the Good Girls Go to Hell" by Billie Eilish. Plus, it was an A24 production, and for the most part, those have been original, memorable, and when it comes to horror, creepy. I don't know what got lost in translation with Saint Maud, but the best word to describe this film would be "tedious." Despite being only an hour and twenty-five minutes, this film feels like an eternity, not even bothering to be a horror movie until the last twenty minutes. And even then, it was severely lacking.
Maud (Clark) is a pious nurse with a dark past. Something happened at the hospital she worked, and it cost her her job. We don't know what it was, even though it's crucial to understanding her character. She's now a private carer, and she ends up working for a dying ex-ballerina named Amanda Kohl (Ehle). Maud believes she can speak personally to God, so she tries to use this power to help Amanda find peace through the Lord. Instead, Maud ends up mocked and ridiculed for her piousness. She then hooks up with random strangers, speaks to God (who is Welsh by the way), and decides the only way to give Amanda peace is to brutally kill her in the name of God. But most of the film is just watching Maud be a nurse and occasionally have her fireside chats with the Lord.
Maybe it's my fault. Maybe I had built this film up too much over the years. But this is something I've noticed particularly in A24 horror movies like Midsommar, It Comes at Night, and this film. This whole budding subgenre of "elevated horror" is a crock of shit. It exists only so self-righteous critics don't have to admit they enjoyed a horror movie. And elevated horror sucks all the joy and excitement out of horror, leaving just the harsh, psychological darkness. Who wants to sit through that? Horror needs an enema, my friends, because right now, it's full of shit.