The meaning of the film “Amulet”

The film “Amulet” was filmed in 2020 by one of the representatives of the new wave of horror, Romola Garay, an actress who made her directorial debut with this work. Original title: Outside. The project is presented in the form of a chamber phantasmagoric play with a claim to “sublime horrors” and the style of the Italian giallo. Thrillers Perfection (2018) by Richard Shepard, The Apostle (2018) by Gareth Evans, Witches by Lucas Feigelfeld (2017), Relic (2020) by Natalie Erica James can be put on a par with Amulet.

The key to revealing the plot moves and narrative schemes in Romola Garay’s film is an ancient artifact that the protagonist named Tomaz accidentally dug up in the forest. A mysterious amulet – a figurine of a woman with a headdress in the form of a sea shell (the image of the foremother) – is present not only in his flashback visions, but also in the events of his current life. Two other characters are related to the stone figurine of the coastline – women from the past and the present protagonist. At the end of the picture, the amulet that he once gave to Miriam in order to protect and protect the girl returns to her again from Magda, the one that Tomaz fell in love with in the present.

Throughout the timing, the viewer is completely confused about how the figurine is connected with Magda. Only at the end it becomes clear that this is an attribute of the demonic Deity, with the help of which the main character is drawn into the funnel of infernal evil. And then I want to give the film a more accurate name – “Amulet for the sinner.” A mystical, multi-layered thriller, playing with classic images and pagan symbolism, tells the story of why and how an idealistic good guy turned into a sinner doomed to eternal suffering. The meaning of the picture “Amulet” is revealed gradually, when comparing the starting points of the plot with the psycho-emotional triggers scattered along its course.

After the events of the civil war of the 1990s in Yugoslavia, the immigrant Tomaz was forced to settle in London. It is difficult for him to establish his life without housing and permanent income. An elderly Catholic woman shows mercy to a former military man suffering from PTSD. Sister Claire reports that a lonely young woman lives on the outskirts of the city, caring for her sick mother. She will take a guest, providing him with housing and food, on simple terms: help with the repair of a dilapidated mansion. Tomaz agrees: he will have the opportunity to sleep not in a rooming house, but in his own room, read books and write a scientific work on philosophy. A man falls in love with the pretty and pious Magda, not suspecting that a house with an inverted cross on the facade will become a “virtue trap” for him.

The romantic feelings that Tomaz feels for the mistress of the house are hampered by visions from the past. As soon as he wants to kiss a woman, he sees Miriam. He met this girl during the war, when he served at a checkpoint near a forest road. Saved a refugee from a chase, helped her cross the border to reunite with her daughter. But he felt guilty in front of her for allowing sexual intercourse with the use of violence. Soul-saving conversations with his sister Claire gave him the idea that forgiveness can come if he becomes the savior of Magda.

In the course of the plot, a terrible secret of this place was revealed – the old woman in rags turned out not to be Magda’s old sick mother, but the embodiment of ancient evil. With screams and groans, she gave birth to vile monsters at night. The young woman’s mission was to destroy them. It was necessary to release the beloved from the mysterious and strong bonds by which she was connected with the inhabitant of the attic of the mysterious house. When Tomaz, determined to kill the demon, burst into the room, he was swallowed up by a huge sea shell – exactly the same as was on the head of the stone figurine-amulet. Blood gushed from his stomach and a monster appeared that looked like a toothy bat.

There was a piece of old newspaper on the floor of the room. There’s a note on the search for Christopher General. This man killed his wife in order to cohabit with his young daughter. On the eve of the trial, he disappeared. In the memory of the protagonist, Magda’s story emerges that her friend used to live here, from whom men’s things remained in the house. On one of the toolboxes, he saw initials matching the killer’s name. Tomaz realized that he had destroyed the one whose place he had now taken. He became another sinner, doomed to eternal suffering. And Magda will be his caretaker, keeper and mistress. She is a companion of the violators of the sixth commandment, whom the demon Asmodeus incites to one of the main human sins.

Final shots. Magda is driving a car moving along a forest road. At the gas station, she stops and enters the store. The saleswoman asks: “We have now forgotten everything and live as before?” Magda replies: “No, they haven’t forgotten.” An amulet is placed on the counter in front of Miriam and her daughter, along with the money for the purchase.

One can easily understand the semantic meaning of the film – about ancient evil, the inevitability of punishment for grave sins, about self-forgiveness and forgiveness, if one takes into account the main message of the director when viewing. From the very first frames, “Amulet” hints to the viewer: all the characters here are not who they seem.

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