Studiocanal commits to releasing the excellent 'Saint Maud' into cinemas this week

Watch: The trailer for Saint Maud’s trailer

It’s a dark day for the UK film industry today with Cineworld announcing plans to close 127 Cineworld and Picturehouse sites as of Thursday this week.

Odeon has also announced plans to limit opening a quarter of its sites to weekends only, while the boss of Vue admits the chain is ‘looking into its options’ to ensure the future of the chain.

However, Studiocanal has confirmed it will stick to its plan to release new horror film Saint Maud into cinemas nationwide on Friday, 9 October.

“We’re committed to giving audiences the chance to see this film on the big screen supporting British film and helping to ensure UK cinemas are provided with new content,” a statement from the distributor reads.

Morfydd Clark in a still from Saint Maud. (Studiocanal)
Morfydd Clark in a still from Saint Maud. (Studiocanal)

“It’s a stunning debut by writer-director Rose Glass, featuring a breakout lead performance by Morfydd Clark and a stellar supporting turn by BAFTA and Tony-award winner Jennifer Ehle.

“It deserves to be seen by as many people as possible in cinemas.”

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I was lucky enough to see Saint Maud as it was intended: in a cinema (at a press screening) before the pandemic closed down screen around the world. In fact, it was the last film I saw at the cinema before lockdown and it has haunted me ever since.

Welsh newcomer Morfydd Clark gives an indelible performance as Maud, a pious nurse haunted by visions, who forms a dangerous bond with a terminally ill patient in her care (Ehle). It’s a darkly humorous and deeply disturbing feature debut with a superb sense of its location and setting. The bleak, rainswept Welsh seaside setting evokes a creeping sense of dread that mirrors Maud’s descent into her own depths of hell.

Morfydd Clark in a still from Saint Maud. (Studiocanal)
Morfydd Clark in a still from Saint Maud. (Studiocanal)

Don’t expect Conjuring-style jump scares though (although it has some surprises) as Glass’s film is a psychological horror in the vein of Hereditary or The Witch, to type of which tend to live longer in the memory.

As markets in the US, especially New York and California, remain closed during the pandemic, it has caused many studios to cancel releases. With limited releases to draw customers back in, cinemas have been struggling to make ends meet since reopening after the coronavirus lockdown.

The cinematic ecosystem is a delicate balance: The studios need cinemas to make money, and the cinemas need studios to release new films to draw customers in. Whether the release of Saint Maud will help or hinder the cause remains to be seen.

Morfydd Clark in a still from Saint Maud. (Studiocanal)
Morfydd Clark in a still from Saint Maud. (Studiocanal)

Tenet, the film many hoped would save the cinema industry, seems to have had the opposite effect. Its global box office remains a fraction of Christopher Nolan’s previous releases like Inception and Dunkirk, giving studios cold feet about releasing their films during these uncertain times.

The picture in the UK looks a bit rosier though, as the sci-fi thriller made more than £5 million at the UK and Ireland box office over its opening weekend on the August bank holiday as it became the first big blockbuster to debut post-lockdown.

Saint Maud will open in UK cinemas on 9 October.