The Relic (1997)

7.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 7/10

Kind of interesting story, fun creature

The movie is too dark and action is often hard to see, generic characters

Movie Info

Movie Name:  The Relic

Studio:  PolyGram Filmed Entertainment

Genre(s):  Horror/Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Release Date(s):  January 10, 1997

MPAA Rating:  R


So you’re saying this might delay our opening?

A researcher in South America sends crates back to the Chicago Field Museum for an exhibit on local superstition, and with an ancient tribal relic, comes something else. A creature is stalking the museum, decapitating its victims and consuming parts of their brains. When the museum goes into lockdown mode during the big opening, it is up to a superstitious police detective named Lt. Vincent D’Agosta (Tom Sizemore) and an evolutionary biologist named Dr. Margo Green (Penelope Ann Miller) to uncover the origin of creature and stop the killing.


Cool creature! Just wish I could see it throughout the film

Directed by Peter Hyams, The Relic adapted the 1995 novel Relic by Lincoln Child and Douglas Preston. The movie did well at the box office and was met with mixed reviews.

The Relic isn’t a piece of art or very good, but it is quite entertaining with a lot of good moments. The story is full of generic stock characters (the smart woman, the tough-as-nails cop, the conniving coworker, the wise elderly professor, etc., etc.). The story is kind of an Aliens with a bit of mystery tied in to the search for the creature’s motives and the source of the mutation that caused it.


If I could see what was going on, this would be an awesome scene!

The novel was set in New York City, but the movie shifted it to Chicago Field Museum because the New York’s Museum of Natural History didn’t like how the museum was portrayed. Apparently, the Chicago museum didn’t mind being portrayed as a museum that was willing to open the day after finding a security guard decapitated in the bathroom. It’s all business in Chicago. The shift in location also doesn’t make as much sense with the arrival of the ship…this means that the boat managed to make it all the way to Lake Michigan before the creature killed the crew.


Run Penelope from the CGI fire beast!

Despite that, the movie is does have fun points like the creature picking off rappelling rescue men one at a time as they lower themselves. The whole movie is quite gory, but the film’s biggest problem is that the screen is so dark to determine what is occurring and it is often hard to see the Stan Winston creation. The ending sequence with the fire also looks pretty dated by today’s standard with the CGI creature pursuing Penelope Ann Miller.

The Relic is a rather forgotten horror, sci-fi, thriller. It is like Alien and could be a nice substitute if you are “Alien”ed out. The novel version of The Relic had a follow-up story called Reliquary released in 1997.

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Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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