Relic (2020) Movie Ending, Explained – What is the implication of the black mark found on Edna’s chest?

The horror genre frequently serves as an effective means to symbolize controversial topics. The gradual crawl forms the core of Natalie Erika James’ debut film as a writer-director. Co-written with author Christian White, it is an evocative story that offers the most gratifying type of thriller and the most unsettling movie of 2020. Relic (2020) is a well-rounded narrative that presents a truly poignant yet realistic story about dementia and the way older individuals are cared for when they can no longer live independently. Relic erodes our sense of security by revealing that we have created a legacy of abandonment destined to persist for generations.

Emily Mortimer, Robyn Nevin, and Bella Heathcote deliver exceptional and sharp performances. They treat the material respectfully, unlike a typical pulp genre piece. Everything just seems deeply affecting in how it depicts the terrible loss of our humanity. The narrative aims to provide a disturbing experience, and it achieves it by steadily building suspense. Spoilers lie ahead for those who haven’t seen this spine-tingling horror film. 

Relic (2020) Plot Summary and Movie Synopsis:

It’s Christmas night, and a bathtub overflows with water, beginning to flood inside the house. The scene follows as the water starts dripping downstairs to the first floor. An old lady named Edna stands there, seemingly lost in her thoughts and deep in hypnosis. At that exact moment, a sinister figure moves in the shadow. A year later, Edna’s daughter Kay and her daughter Sam come to check on Edna, as her neighbor calls them to check on her because she has not been seen for a few days, which concerns them.

They hear creaky sounds and other noises when they arrive at Edna’s house. They notice several doors now have new locks, and the house seems to be getting old and falling apart. There is mold everywhere in the house, and they also find some placed notes throughout it. Some written things seem ordinary, but others are unsettling, and it appears that Edna might have dementia. They call and report to the authorities and conduct an extensive search that spans multiple days.

We later learn that Kay and Sam live in different cities and have grown distant from Edna. While Sam seems to care more for Edna than her daughter, Kay, Sam experiences a strange feeling when she feels someone breathing next to her inside a walk-in closet, but she sees no one else. Sam also discovers that Edna’s neighbor’s son Jamie, who has Down syndrome, refuses to come inside their house because he looks scared.

As night sets in, Kay dreams of a vintage and old cabin in the middle of the woods and sees her mother sitting there. When Kay attempts to enter the cabin, she discovers an old, rundown man sitting alone on his bed, covered in dirt and grime. Black mold starts to coat the windows of the cabin. Kay suddenly wakes up, goes downstairs, and finds Edna casually making a drink in the kitchen.

They immediately call the doctor and don’t find anything else wrong with her health. She seems healthy except for a big black mark on her chest. Despite that, Edna still doesn’t tell them where she has been. The doctor suggests that Sam and Kay must stay with Edna to keep her and have her condition monitored. Meanwhile, Kay is having a hard time balancing her work life and her responsibilities in her family.

Therefore, she decides to seek a nursing home for her mother that could help them. Edna gives Sam a family heirloom ring while she is cleaning the house. As she continues, she finds a sketchbook that Kay’s father or her grandfather owns. The old cabin from Kay’s dream is the exact same cabin sketched in the book. Kay informs Sam that the cabin was the first house on the property and that Kay’s great-grandfather resided there.

The great-grandfather eventually passed away, apparently due to dementia, and was abandoned by his own family. Some parts of the old house were integrated into the house where Edna currently lives. That night, Kay hears some noise. She sees Edna seemingly talking to herself in the living room, telling Kay, “It’s nothing,” and she brings her back to her bedroom. Edna strangely asks Kay to check underneath her bed.

Kay thinks something might be alive underneath as she hears breathing. However, she is drawn away before she can inspect it closely. They proceed to go to sleep, and the following day arrives. Kay takes a trip to view a retirement home and breaks down in tears afterward. She feels overwhelmed by the idea of relocating her mother to such a place.

Sam had the chance to spend the day with Edna, and the two seemed amused. Sam begins to move into the house to monitor and care for Edna. As the day continues, Edna starts showing intense signs of dementia. She even casually accuses Sam that she stole the family heirloom ring she gave her and attacks Sam to get it back. A moment later, Sam finds Edna gazing into the walk-in closet.

A still from Relic (2020).
A still from Relic (2020).

Edna mysteriously says that she thinks that something came in through the closet. She also utters to Sam that the house looks unfamiliar and memories are being lost. During the night, Sam is terrified because the washing machine randomly turns on and off. On the other hand, Kay dreams the same dream she had of the old cabin and makes it clear that the color of the mark on Edna’s chest is the same color as the mold that covers the window.

The next morning comes, and things get more sinister when Sam discovers Edna is talking to herself while cutting her hand with a knife. When Sam tries to intervene and stop her, Edna behaves violently. Sam is startled by her behavior and decides to visit Edna’s neighbor, who has a son with Down syndrome, and ask why his son Jamie is scared to come over to the house.

The neighbor makes it clear that Edna and his son used to play hide and seek, and Edna locked him in the walk-in closet for hours. When she came over to check on his son, she heard him screaming and attempting to scratch his way out of the closet. Because of what happened, the son has not been allowed back inside and remains traumatized by the experience.

At that exact moment, Kay runs into the woods outside her home after Edna. She finds Edna attempting to eat some photographs and bury some photo albums. Edna explains that she thinks it is the only way to keep the memories safe from what they see in the house. Kay emotionally hugs her mother and asks her to move in with her to be able to watch her every day, and Edna agrees.

Relic (2020) Movie Ending, Explained:

What’s hidden in the walk-in closet?

Sam decides to return to the house and visits the walk-in closet. She spots a hallway hidden beneath a heap of objects. Sam enters the hallway and realizes there’s a hidden passageway inside. Even when she attempts to return, she can’t find her way out. Her surroundings seem to change, and she becomes even more stressed as she navigates through the maze. She also finds some notes placed in her grandmother’s handwriting as she walks, making it clear that this is where Edna was lost in the first part of the film.

What is the implication of the black mark found on Edna’s chest?

Kay and Edna return home and attempt to locate Sam but don’t find her. Kay prepares a bath for her mother. When Edna enters, we see a black mark again covering her chest. The bathtub starts to overflow, and when Kay returns to check on her mother, she discovers the door is locked. When Kay tries to look through the bathroom window, she witnesses Edna stabbing herself in the chest. Kay forcibly opens the door. Edna immediately runs and escapes while Kay runs after her into the walk-in closet and the maze. When Kay finally reaches Edna, she sees how Edna starts to peel herself from her face to her legs.

Underneath Edna’s skin, there resides a sinister demon-like appearance. What Kay initially believed to be dementia seems to be a case of possession. It clarifies that this same ailment also affected Kay’s great-grandfather. Kay goes deeper into the maze as the horrifying devil-like dermis Edna chases after her. Kay eventually finds Sam within the maze. Sam discovers a steel pipe and starts pounding her way through the maze wall back to the house. Sam crawls through the hole just as Edna draws near. Edna attacks Kay while climbing through the hole, subsequently directing her aggression toward Sam. Kay fiercely hits Edna with the pipe until she is fatally injured.

What is the future that awaits Kay?

Afterward, Kay and Sam hastily make their escape from the house. As Kay leaves, she hears a faint whisper of her name, seemingly from her mother’s voice. Even though they have the chance to escape, she recalls how her great-grandfather was forsaken in her dreams and saw a note from her mother saying, “I am loved.” Kay stops and opts to go back to the deformed figure lying on the ground. Kay carries the figure upstairs to Edna’s bedroom.

Upon arrival, Kay removes Edna’s last remnants of human skin and hair, revealing only the almost lifeless creature before her. She kisses the creature and places it into the bed, then goes into the bed and embraces it. Sam witnesses everything and decides to join her family. She also gets into bed and sees a small black mark on Kay’s neck, just like the big mark on Edna’s chest. The ending of Relic indicates that Kay will eventually face a similar fate as her mother and great-grandfather.

Read More: Everything Coming to AMC Networks (AMC+, Shudder, Acorn TV, Sundance Now, ALLBLK, HIDIVE) in September 2023

Relic (2020) Movie Trailer

Relic (2020) Movie Links: IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes
Relic (2020) Movie Cast: Robyn Nevin, Emily Mortimer, Bella Heathcote
Where to watch Relic
Ashlee Manalang

Ashlee is fervently devoted to exploring the intricacies of films in great detail. She’s also psyched about discussing economics.