An ex-soldier renovating an old house finds more than just refuge in the actor turned writer-director’s pulsating gothic shocker

Offering yet further proof that the future of cutting-edge horror is female, British actor turned writer-director Romola Garai’s impressive feature debut, which won enthusiastic applause at FrightFest last year, is a moody, brooding chiller that goes from slow-boil creaks to rapturous, hallucinogenic madness. Set largely in a decrepit building whose mouldy walls mirror a creeping moral malaise within, Amulet plays adventurously with subversive sexual politics and reconfigured horror tropes, conjuring a heady parable rich in ritual and intrigue, built upon sturdy subtextual foundations.

The Romanian actor Alec Secareanu, who proved such an engaging screen presence in Francis Lee’s God’s Own Country, is Tomaz, an ex-soldier from an unnamed, conflict-torn country, now struggling to survive in squalid London. In his dreams, Tomaz is haunted by fable-like visions of the past: unearthing an amulet while stationed in a remote forest; meeting a fleeing woman who collapses in desperation; taking her in, giving her shelter and promising to help reunite her with her daughter.

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