Gritty, creepy and otherworldly, Amulet is a Sundance Midnight section shoe-in.
We first meet a past version of Tomaz, a soldier assigned to guard an isolated post deep in the forest during a war (with little detail given on the war’s actual players). Past Tomaz is soon joined by a woman he shelters as she attempts to flee said war. In the present, Tomaz is a homeless man who loses shelter in a fire and discovers that a nun rescued his belongings. The nun convinces him to live with Magda and her dying mother, earning his keep by repairing their dilapidated home. Scenes switch between Tomaz as the strapping soldier and the grizzled vagrant, as his past relationship with the fleeing woman begins to alter course and he starts to realize the unsettling nature of Magda’s mother, Magda herself, and the home they live in. Discoveries Tomaz makes border between terrifying and ethereal, and, eventually, his history begins to affect the present.
With jump scares few and far between, Amulet relies on an unsettling score, creepy visuals and awkward/ominous interactions between characters to give Sundancers an elaborate dose of horror. Coming out of the show is almost like waking up from a weird nightmare that makes you question what was in that last shot you took at the bar.
Our recommendation: Make plans for late-night coffee after the show with your fellow viewers; you’ll want to discuss, honestly, what the hell just happened.
Directed by Romola Garai, 99 minutes
Tuesday, Jan. 28, 11:30 a.m., Prospector Square Theatre, Park City
Thursday, Jan. 30, 11:30 a.m., The MARC Theatre, Park City
Saturday, Feb. 1, 11:59 p.m., Tower Theatre, SLC