Relic | Crooked Media
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May 07, 2024
Ruined with Alison Leiby and Halle Kiefer

In This Episode

Halle and Alison find what mold and trauma have in common to ruin Relic.

Follow @ruinedpodcast on Instagram and Twitter for show updates!

Check out @theradiopoint and @crookedmedia for more original content!







[theme music]: If scary movies give you dread. Keep you up late night in bed, here’s a podcast that will help you ease your mind. We’ll explain the plot real nicely then we’ll talk about what’s frightening, so you never have to have a spooky time. It’s Ruined.


Halle Kiefer: Hello. Welcome to Ruined. I’m Halle.


Alison Leiby:  I’m Alison.


Halle Kiefer: This is Ruined. It’s a podcast. We ruined a horror movie for you. 


Alison Leiby: For you. Halle, how are you? 


Halle Kiefer: I’m okay. I took the week off work, my vacation week, and I did just nothing. 


Alison Leiby: Nothing is so great. 


Halle Kiefer: And, you know, and I talked about my, ADHD journey out here before, but I’ve never been able to not do nothing before, if that makes sense. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah, yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: Because I would always be panicking. It’s like, okay, I have to use my week off to do a million things. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: And this week I said, I’m going to do two things. And I’ve done neither, I’ve not finished either of them, but I’m almost finished with—


Alison Leiby: Nor should you. 


Halle Kiefer: So I just did a little bit every day. I got my haircut, I bought a sandwich. 


Alison Leiby: Hair looks great. 


Halle Kiefer: Thank you. And it just feels like a revelation in in these trying times. No, but I mean like, to just do nothing is the greatest trip of all. I wish I was the kind of person like I enjoyed. I it’s like being on, dating apps people like, I tried traveling, I don’t enjoy traveling. I don’t want to do it. I want to stay home. I want to lay down. 


Alison Leiby: I actively hate traveling. 


Halle Kiefer: I hate flying, I hate packing, I hate the anticipation, I hate I hate getting to the airport. I hate going to the hotel. I hate every part of it. 


Alison Leiby: Right. 


Halle Kiefer: If I could materialize somewhere, obviously, I’d love that. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. Yeah. If I could teleport to a beach. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. 


Alison Leiby: And then off the beach. That sounds great. I want to be in my, like. Unless I’m at, like, a luxury location. I don’t want to be in a hotel. 


Halle Kiefer: And listen, I’ll be honest, I rarely am. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: It’s not the kind of vacations I have. 


Alison Leiby: I don’t have luxury vacation money, so I really hate traveling too, I get it. 


Halle Kiefer: So. But that’s that’s been real nice. We wanted to. Well. Well, Alison, how are you doing before we get into it?


Alison Leiby: Oh. I’m good. Little allergy season is upon us, and I’m—


Halle Kiefer: Here too, here too. 


Alison Leiby: I’m already feeling. I’m sure you could hear it in my nose. 


Halle Kiefer: Oh no you always sound like this. You know—


Alison Leiby: Oh okay. That’s good. I always sounds like I’m having an allergy attack. I did treat myself. I like, just had a late night last night and also allergies, and I’m just like. And I ordered a sandwich, and I got a, what I like to call a luxury lemonade. Well, we talked about this. 


Halle Kiefer: Ooh okay, refresh my memory. 


Alison Leiby: I well, I got this one. It’s, ginger turmeric, sparkling lemonade. 


Halle Kiefer: That sounds delicious. 


Alison Leiby: It’s like. It’s like. I’m sure it’s nothing, but I’m like, it brought me back to life. Like it like. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. 


Alison Leiby: The ginger is nice on your stomach. Like the lemon is like alkali. Whatever. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. 


Alison Leiby: It’s all good for you. Technically. I’m sure it’s got, like, a pound of sugar in it or something, but it was delicious. It wasn’t sweet, though. It was delicious. And I was just, like—


Halle Kiefer: Ooh a savory lemonade sounds really good. 


Alison Leiby: Like, it’s like it was just, like, super tart and kind of spicy and, like, it’s just a hint of sparkling, like, it’s not like a soda. It’s just kind of got like, an effervescence kind of after effect. It’s like my favorite beverage I’ve ever had.


Halle Kiefer: Damn okay. 


Alison Leiby: Every time I don’t know even know if like—


Halle Kiefer: Where do you get it? 


Alison Leiby: Like, I don’t even know if I like the food at this place. It’s it’s just like a a coffee shop sandwich, kind of like daytime restaurant in a building near me. And they make the lemon. It’s not like bottled or canned. It’s just really good. And I feel like I want—


Halle Kiefer: You could make it yourself. Is what I’m hearing. 


Alison Leiby: I guess. I’m like—


Halle Kiefer: Well not you, but somebody. 


Alison Leiby: Something someone could, make this at home. I, I could not I can’t place exactly what’s happening with it, but it’s delicious. So that’s what’s new with me. And then, Rizz has been seeing ghosts. He’s been screaming at the ceiling a lot today. So if that is in the background of this at all, you’ll know there are ghosts here. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: But I treated him to some strawberries for breakfast because he loves strawberries. 


Halle Kiefer: Oh, I didn’t know that cats are fruit—


Alison Leiby: He licks them.


Halle Kiefer: Okay. 


Alison Leiby: Like, it’s that’s his beverage. Like, we both have, like, a stupid drinks this morning. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah, probably the texture. I feel like the texture of a strawberry would be really satisfying. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: But also when you say ghost, you do. You know that you mean mice in the walls, right? 


Alison Leiby: I would rather it be ghosts. [laughs] I would prefer ghosts to any critters. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah, because ghost typically don’t leave their shit around. And also, they’ve never been known to spread the plague that we know of. 


Alison Leiby: Yes, that’s true. And also, they’re already dead, so they won’t make a smell when they die in the wall. [laughs]


Halle Kiefer: Thinking speaking of things that are, dead yet alive. Our Patreon. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: Thank you so much, everyone who’s been joining this year so far, it’s been so great. We’ve been instructed by the powers that be to please plug the Patreon. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. Yeah, this is that. 


Halle Kiefer: And this is it. We, do two. Well, depending on what tier, you can have up to two more episodes per month. 


Alison Leiby: Yes—


Halle Kiefer: Because we’re insane. 


Alison Leiby: We’re insane. We record six of these a month. It’s. It’s breakneck. 


Halle Kiefer: What are you doing? 


Alison Leiby: I don’t know. 


Halle Kiefer: Honest to God, we have an off that we go. Like, what are we doing with this—


Alison Leiby: You’re watching six movies a month.


Halle Kiefer: How do we keep this pace? 


Alison Leiby: It’s nuts. But also, you’re getting episodes a week early. Also ad free episodes, which me personally, I’m always. I’m all about paying for not watching and listening to ads. I just don’t I can’t do it. And, it if you’re at the top tier, I, you get a ticket to the live show every month, which, even if you can’t watch it, it lives on for 72 hours online. So like, that’s automatically, you know, a piece of the puzzle for you. There’s all kinds of movies that people sometimes are begging us to do, but it’s like, surprise, we did. They’re on the Patreon. So, and you can join our Patreon, I think, at If that’s wrong, I’m sorry. I don’t know how to get to it. This is not a podcast of two technically savvy people we’re two dumb idiots. 


Halle Kiefer: What we are is we’re the we’re the, we’re the. You go into the basement, we’re sort of this, this, this mammalian creature that you can suckle off our teats, but we’re we’re not sentient, you know, what a human is, but we we still deserve to be treated well. But we’re not alive. Where an alien—


Alison Leiby: Not quite alive. 


Halle Kiefer: —on a planet, yeah, like we’re alive, but our our our intelligence exists elsewhere. But but when you suckle, it’s not the alien milk. It’s simply a description of a horror movie that you could go see and probably have seen it, because we also have lot of people who do that and listen.


Alison Leiby: Yes. So anyway, that’s There’s a bunch of different tiers you can join. We understand that this is your hard earned money and we appreciate it. And we want to make sure that if you’re spending money on this podcast because you love it, that we’re really giving you something so full extra episodes or a week early, no ads, live show tickets, it’s a fun place. 


Halle Kiefer: What more could you ask for? 


Alison Leiby: What more could you ask? 


Halle Kiefer: Probably more. But again, we’re horrific at this.


Alison Leiby: We don’t know what that is. If there’s something that you wish we would do on the Patreon, please tell us. We don’t know how you should do that, but let us know. 


Halle Kiefer: We really are like a mystery Science Theater 3000 where we’re just on a spaceship with no way to contact anyone. Except, of course we can. I don’t know how to, but, on that note, speaking of being trapped somewhere, unable to communicate, to an outside realm. We are kicking things off. It’s it’s may it’s, the month of Mother’s Day. The month of mothers. So it makes sense. You’re suckling at our podcast teats. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: We are kicking things off with a movie that I saw that came out in 2020, but I have yet to do for the podcast. And that, of course, is the movie Relic. Yeah, this is a 2020 movie. It’s Australian. So, you know, I was hyped for that. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: Directed by Natalie Erika James and it was based on a screenplay by Natalie Erika James and Christian White and starring Erika. I’m sorry. It stars Emily Mortimer, who I, of course, immediately associate with 30 Rock. 


Alison Leiby: Hollow bones. 


Halle Kiefer: Oh, hello you remember me? Hollow bones like a bird. Incredible. Phoebe. I believe is the name of the character. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: So imagine sort of what happened to Phoebe that led her to putting on a British accent and going and tricking Jack Donaghy into marrying her despite having avian bird syndrome in which you have hollow bones. 


Alison Leiby: If you have avian bone syndrome. Yes, yes, yes. 


Halle Kiefer: We always like to start things off. We like to have Alison watch the trailer for the movie. Alison, what were your thoughts on the trailer for Relic. 


Alison Leiby: I didn’t like that. 


Halle Kiefer: Ah hah, mm hmm. 


Alison Leiby: I do not like watching this. This is in the. This is in the cat. I feel like there are, like, personal subgenres for me. 


Halle Kiefer: Yes. Mm hmm. 


Alison Leiby: Which, like, which is, worst thing ever. Like the, like, movies where I’m just like, there’s not a second of this I could watch. 


Halle Kiefer: Now, could you flesh this out, maybe give us, like, is there a visual that leapt out from the trailer? 


Alison Leiby: I mean, the trailer is great. Just cutting together. Kind of like, you know, what’s going on with grandma and then, like, her cutting meat and, like, you know, very, like little visceral, everyday things. But the, the one thing that was chilling to me in the scene, but I also don’t know what I was looking at was when, Gram Gram is in bed and Emily Mortimer, she’s like, there’s something under the bed. Can you, can you look, could you check for me? And she does look. And it’s like a very chill. Like it’s just it’s so slow. I don’t know what was under the. But it’s so dark that I couldn’t really see like was there something and what was it? It seemed like there was something and that it should not have been there. But I didn’t like that whole sequence. 


Halle Kiefer: There is something maybe like even now, it’s a classic for a reason. It’s just I feel like the one good shot of it, you know, imaginary as well, is, when our main character leaned over and looked under the bed. Never that scary. Evoking childhood. Also the idea that someone might be under your bed. Still scary as an adult, horrified to think about what are they doing down there? Nothing good.


Alison Leiby: I don’t like it at all. And also, like, Rizz hangs out under the bed a lot and I always go looking for him. And I was like, you better be alone down there. 


Halle Kiefer: I feel like he would come running out. Like you’d be the first to be upset that someone was out of the bed. You can go first.


Alison Leiby: I do like. Well, he’s never going to protect me, he is always going to let me know what’s up. Like, if someone’s here, I will know because Rizz will be running around like a maniac. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah, I grew up with a wiener dogs, which I—


Alison Leiby: Wiener dogs. 


Halle Kiefer: They’re so good. But, like, they could never defend the family. But, boy, if anyone came within 500 yards of the house, they would letting you know. Which I think has some value. Not in this particular film. There’s nothing a dog could have done about what’s going to happen to these people. But, yeah, it would have been nice to have them around, I suppose. We always, like, take a baseline. Scary. Alison, how scary do you find the concept of being an old woman? 


Alison Leiby: I mean, horrifying every single second of the day. 


Halle Kiefer: The horror held above every young girl’s head, becoming a woman. And then even worse, a woman who is old. [laughter] Terrifying stuff.


Alison Leiby: Grown? Yeah. I don’t want, like, just like old age is scary to me. I think also like, because, like when your mental faculties, faculties start to deteriorate, like it’s destabilizing. 


Halle Kiefer: Absolutely. 


Alison Leiby: Like the reality of, like dementia and Alzheimer’s and, like all of that stuff is very scary. But like, in general, like, how do you know when you’re losing it? 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. 


Alison Leiby: Like that’s that’s very and that’s like maybe not specific to women, but you know. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. 


Alison Leiby: But added that you have wrinkles and my god what an absolute nightmare. 


Halle Kiefer: Let’s say you’re just shambling around. People look down on shambling. But it’s I enjoy shambling. 


Alison Leiby: I would love to shamble more. 


Halle Kiefer: I love to shamble I love to putter. But yes, this is a story of, three generations of a family. And what happens when they’re old? I mean, as someone who I’m turning 40 this year, and I have come to the conclusion I’m not going to have children, you know, and I support everyone who wants to have kids, truly. Especially if you’re queer, trans, you gotta try to do whatever you can to try to figure it out. I, I, I reject us being cut out from the reproductive project the way they’re trying to do it, but, I do I do imagine I’m going to be end up in sort of a nomad land. 


Alison Leiby: Me too. We can do it together. We’re the same age. 


Halle Kiefer: Well, and that’s the best case scenario, is that we have, six gals shambling around a two bedroom. Somebody’s sleeping on the couch. That’s what I—


Alison Leiby: A commune of old women. That’s what I want to be living in. 


Halle Kiefer: Done. So we’re going to do that. 


Alison Leiby: Great. 


Halle Kiefer: Let us know if you want to apply to the commune. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: There will I will be a lot of lesbians. So I imagine we will be having sex with one another. So we’ll just have to figure out the politics of it. You know what I mean. 


Alison Leiby: Of course.


Halle Kiefer: After that, it’s just a chore wheel. And we’re good. You know what I mean? And let us get into it. Would you like to guess the twist in Relic. Alison?


[voice over]: Guess the twist. 


Alison Leiby: Would you say there is a twist? 


Halle Kiefer: No, I wouldn’t say there’s a there’s a twist. So I would say, what do you think happens at the end? 


Alison Leiby: Yes. Okay. I think that there’s a dead body in that little house and that grandma has been eating it. 


Halle Kiefer: Great. Love it. Perfect.


Alison Leiby: She’s been eating a dead. Her dead husband. 


Halle Kiefer: Love it. Could be—


Alison Leiby: There’s a movie. 


Halle Kiefer: Now there’s a movie. Copyright. Copyright Ruined podcast 2024. Do not steal it. And let’s begin ruining Relic. We see, again, we start with a number of, ambient sort of, untethered images that, that come together, and that most horrifying of images, a elderly woman’s nude body. First we see lights. There’s sort of a Christmas lights flickering on and off, and a house, a bathtub overflows and pours down. 


Alison Leiby: No. 


Halle Kiefer: And of course, I as a renter, I’m like, well, the water damage. I mean, my God. 


Alison Leiby: My God.


Halle Kiefer: Hard wood. You’re ruining it. The water spills down the stairs, soaking the carpet, and we see it run out of the first floor. We see, Gran. And, you know, as we previously mentioned, standing nude, clutching a towel, staring into the living room at the Christmas tree, and next to it, a figure stands up from a chair. 


Alison Leiby: No. 


Halle Kiefer: Relic. 


Alison Leiby: Well, we’re off to a running start. 


Halle Kiefer: Hell, yeah. We follow a car, it holds Kay, who is, Emily Mortimer and her twenty something daughter, Sam. We hear a call that Kay received, from someone. It sounds like he’s from, like a super or like a management company and saying, like, hey, no one has seen your mother, your neighbor. The neighbor hasn’t seen her for, like, a week. So we’re just want to let you know. So they’re going up to check on her. This is one of my for some reason. Not like some reason, but of all the chilling fears, I do feel like one of my parents. Or both of them getting loose and disappearing is so terrifying. Because it does happen. 


Alison Leiby: It’s so scary. 


Halle Kiefer: I and and once it began—


Alison Leiby: I’m putting an apple tag on my parents the second—


Halle Kiefer: We got it. 


Alison Leiby: I feel confident in them. 


Halle Kiefer: Barcode Apple tag the thing that dogs get. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: You got to keep track of them. 


Alison Leiby: Microchipped. 


Halle Kiefer: And everyone doesn’t think of it until it happens. And then it’s like I’m getting a call letting you know the worst things already happened. So you have to come and try to figure out what to do. 


Alison Leiby: Right? Fix the worst thing ever. 


Halle Kiefer: Exactly. So they get to, the grandmother’s house. The grandmother’s name is Edna. They call for her, no one answers. Luckily, Sam is able to crawl to the dog door, which is a fucking huge dog door. 


Alison Leiby: What kind of dog? 


Halle Kiefer: I don’t know. 


Alison Leiby: Not a wiener dog. 


Halle Kiefer: Not a wiener dog. And also I’m like, is it an Australian thing? It has like a cover you put over it versus like a smaller one. But let’s. It’s a Great Dane. 


Alison Leiby: Sure I suppose. 


Halle Kiefer: A big fat ass dog. We see, Edna makes and carves candles, so she has a candle station. So she’s always kind of carving them into different shapes, which would be a fun thing to do, you know, after you—


Alison Leiby: Join a commune.


Halle Kiefer: Unfortunately, next to that is the fruit bowl, which is full of rotted fruit. So this woman has been gone for at least a couple days. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: Kay tells Sam to wait. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: Downstairs goes in her mother’s room. We see a sheep under the covers. Emily Mortimer is a great actress. Of course, we see her in that moment. Realize that her mother is dead and then pull back the covers. It’s just the pillows. It’s just pillows. Her mother is not in the house. We also see that the house has a bunch of post-it notes everywhere. So next to her side table it says, take pills, girl. I’ve got, well, minor affirmation post-it notes, but I got post-it notes on my my medicine cabinet. 


Alison Leiby: I do have one post-it note. It’s on my front door on the inside, and it just says bathroom candle because I often light a candle in there and I’m like, oh, I’ll forget and I’ll burn this whole building down. So every time I leave, it’s like, did you blow out the candle in the bathroom? And honestly, it’s probably saved my and many other people’s lives several times. [laughter]


Halle Kiefer: That’s very clever. I will say, now that I am, medicated and have some sort of short term memory, I being able to remember about a candle I is a real feather in my cap. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah, look at that. 


Halle Kiefer: Because I was not that I use candles a lot. Because. Because of exactly that fear. But, boy, whenever I did, I did assume that everyone would be dead when I get back. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah, it’s it’s a it panic. Just absolute panic. 


Halle Kiefer: Kay and Sam, they walk downstairs and Kay sees an arm chair turned towards the window with a blanket on it, and she reacts like she’s seen a dead body, which Sam clocks, but she doesn’t know why her mother would be perturbed by that. Like it’s not in and of itself—


Alison Leiby: It just is a chair. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. Okay. So Kay tells, Sam, stay here and I’m going to drive and make a police report. So Kay drives to police station. It’s already started to torrentially rain. So her mother has been gone, maybe not a full week, but it’s at least been a couple days. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: And now it’s raining. Right.


Alison Leiby: Not great. 


Halle Kiefer: And we see Kay sit down with the police officer. And of course, she immediately feels guilty because a cop’s like. Well, how long has it been since you talked to her? And Kay says it’s probably been a couple of weeks. Like a couple of weeks. She’s like, I know. And he’s like, well, we talked to your neighbor Alex. He said he saw her about a week ago so we could at least narrow it down. And she gives the police, a photo of her mother Edna, taken last year at her birthday with a little cake. Back at home, Sam’s just going through all the rooms, trying to, like, look for clues. And, her grandmother has a big junk room, so it was, like, full of old files. All this stuff that, like, you know, you’re going to get to at some point, but it’s like, well, it’s not gonna be this week, so maybe in the future. I your old ironing boards. You’re like, how do you recycle that? 


Alison Leiby: Fuck do I know. 


Halle Kiefer: And she looks at a photo of her grandmother and grandfather, who we can presume has already passed on. It’s sort of a garden party. How are as soon as the rain really starts to let in, she hears a sound of knocking or thudding, seemingly coming from inside the wall. Nope. She goes to examine it. It’s not the wall. It’s in fact, inside a door. A door which has a lock on the outside and which opens to a large walk in closet full of, like, bedding and dry cleaning, you know, sort of the the cloth goods. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. A linen closet.


Halle Kiefer: That’s not something you typically would have to lock from the outside. 


Alison Leiby: Nope. You can have as many towels as you want. 


Halle Kiefer: Exactly. They’re usually not escaping. And as she turns, she sees the plastic around a hanging suit. Exhale and inhale like the plastic starts to expand and contract like the suit is breathing. 


Alison Leiby: I don’t like that. 


Halle Kiefer: Sam, of course, assumes, oh, my God, is my grandmother. Like, did she get in the closet? Now she’s stuck in there, shoves all the clothes aside instead of her grandmother finds a huge black mold spot on the wall. Now, at this point, I would have told my mother personally, I mean they’re maybe not be close. But it seems like you’re obligated to tell your mother. Hey, by the way, I saw the dry cleaning breathing. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah, yeah. You got to mention that even if you’re not, you know, in a great place with your relationship. 


Halle Kiefer: Exactly? Just you got to be upfront with that kind of thing. However, she doesn’t Kay returns. They get a pizza, and Kay starts to look sort of assess that her mother’s mental state based on what status the house was in. Right. So she says, oh, my mom’s still putting out food for Chester. So we know Chester. They had a dog and Chester has passed on. 


Alison Leiby: Okay. 


Halle Kiefer: So while she, you know, the grandma used to have Grandpa and Chester the dog, now she is alone, you know, which is a hard thing and, you know, so it goes every day I’m like, I do, I should get a dog, you know, just just to get me out of the house. 


Alison Leiby: I mean, Rizz the cat keeps me company. 


Halle Kiefer: Saves your, saves you every day baby. 


Alison Leiby: Every day. 


Halle Kiefer: Sam says, well, you know, while we’re here, I quit my job at the gallery. The good job, of course. As a woman in the gallery, that’s the best place to work. And she says—


Alison Leiby: She works at a gallery at 30 Rock. 


Halle Kiefer: Oh, yeah. Well, no, sorry. That’s Sam. It’s. So it would be—


Alison Leiby: Oh, oh. Her daughter. Okay. 


Halle Kiefer: Yes. Phoebe’s daughter work. Well, she would. I’m sure. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: Gallery stands to reason. So Sam, tells her mother I love the gallery. I’m just picking up shifts in the bar. And because they’re already, like, anxious, they of course, immediately go into a fight. So Kay’s like, oh, you’re just gonna work at a bar your whole life? And it’s like, this is not the time or the place. 


Alison Leiby: No. 


Halle Kiefer: Also that’s why fights happen is exactly this. Like, we’re not we’re going to stress about your career because grandma is missing. 


Halle Kiefer: The most terrified thing other than a kid missing, obviously. But, like, why make a hierarchy? I don’t know why I put it like that. 


Alison Leiby: Someone goes missing. That’s bad. 


Halle Kiefer: And you could tell like Sam and her, mom. Kay. They have sort of a frosty relationship, but Kay sort of catches herself and says, thank you for coming with me. And is like trying to be acknowledge, like, I this is stressful. So, yeah, I appreciate that. Even if Sam is not really giving her any warmth back. And then through the course of the film, they will discover the true meaning of family, I presume, I hope after that, before bed, Kay looks out the window and at the end of the property is the woods. So she’s thinking, well, if she’s not the house and she’s not in the lawn. She’s in the woods.


Alison Leiby: She’s probably in the woods.


Halle Kiefer: So in the morning, they and a couple neighbors and the police start to form a search party and goes. And this is not woods. This is forest. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: Like this is thick forest. These are not trails. Nobody’s going in there. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: Beautiful. But again, like, this is not a nature hike. And her mother at this point has at least been outside to her understanding. 


Alison Leiby: For several days. 


Halle Kiefer: At least several days. And last night it rained, right? So, you know, Kay’s starting to panic, as anyone would. So then she shuts down. So every time we see her like she’s, you know, in like a completely shut down, like, sort of nonverbal state, the police search all day, come up with nothing. They end the search for the day and the gals return to the house. Again, what can you do with all this anxiety? Kay starts to clean. 


Alison Leiby: That’s all you can do. 


Halle Kiefer: Right so. Yeah. So she’s she’s cleaning her mother’s house. She turns the armchair around and almost in tears of the chair, and then puts it back in the carpet indent. And we see, like, specifically like the chair has been moved, you know, outside, Kay, sorry. Outside. Sam is smoking and she sees a flashlight coming through the trees. So she’s excited and jumps up. It is the neighbor boy, Jamie, son of the aforementioned Alex, who’s 18 and has down syndrome. And I wrote, I don’t know if that’s important to the movie. It’d be nice if it wasn’t, but I presume it is because we don’t put enough disabled people in movies. Just. Yeah, in just regular roles. So Jamie says, you know, I haven’t seen your grandma in a while, but, you know, my dad doesn’t really let me come over here anymore. Sam’s like, well, what do you. What do you mean? But Jamie kind of dodges the question and says, can I have a drag of your cigarette? I am old enough to smoke, so she gives him part of her cigarette and kind of they just end up chatting inside Kay sits on the piano and starts to play, and she’s sort of like reliving her childhood. Like going through everything, obviously. And upstairs, Alison, we see a figure leaning around a doorframe, listening to them. 


Alison Leiby: No. 


Halle Kiefer: From the second floor. Sam comes inside and says, you know, have you noticed that there are, like, new locks on every door? Alison, there are new locks on the inside of every door, even the interior doors. Like the, cupboard door. 


Alison Leiby: I don’t like that. 


Halle Kiefer: Not good. 


Alison Leiby: Not good. 


Halle Kiefer: And Kay admits to her daughter that—


[clip of Emily Mortimer]: She called me a few weeks ago. She thought someone was coming into the house. Doors were left open lights were left on the. Armchair shifted. 


[clip of Bella Heathcote]: Did you tell the police?


[clip of Emily Mortimer]: She forgets things. 


Halle Kiefer: The problem is, like, that’s exactly like you can’t blow off because it’s only going to get. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: It’s something that you have to acknowledge and be like, okay, well, grandma thinks someone’s getting in the house and moving out because she’s losing track of things. Which is another horror movie thing. So, you know, with who’s who’s now medicate for ADHD is constantly losing things, which is a horror movie of itself. So I understand how that would be perturbing. Sam is mad at this is like, why wouldn’t you call me? I could have driven up to come check on her. It didn’t have to just be you. But again, they’re just fighting because there’s nothing else to do. Like, they’re just kind of like, on edge. Sam goes upstairs to look through her grandma’s room, finds, like, this big, cozy white sweater, and in the pocket of her grandmother’s sweater, Sam finds a post-it note, Alison, that says, do not follow it. 


Alison Leiby: Oh, God. 


Halle Kiefer: And then a loud thud echo echoes across the house. Kay, hears it too. And it seems to be coming from inside the living room wall. And Kay actually moves aside what I presume is her father’s urn to knock on the wall, and the wall knocks back. 


Alison Leiby: You got breathing. Dry. Cleaning. Knocking walls. Burn the house down.


Halle Kiefer: Sam. Well, that’s. I mean, you’re absolutely right. Sam runs downstairs, to join Kay. And we see right where the knocking seems to be coming from. There’s a mold stain on the wall, and behind it, it sounds like something is sliding or walking through the walls. Alison, if that was you, I got to ask, what would you do? 


[voice over]: What would you do? 


I mean, I’m burning the house down. I’m burning house down. Like this house shouldn’t exist. Something’s up. Something’s up with the house. Like we’re going to keep looking for grandma, but like, she’s not coming back here.


Halle Kiefer: Now do you think that your mother would be distressed if she accidentally got lost in the woods and when she came back you burned the house down. You think she’d be a little pissed?


Alison Leiby: Oh, she’d be so mad at me, it would break whatever, mental mental issues she has having and whatever deterioration is happening in her brain, she would fight through that to just be mad at me. 




Halle Kiefer: Next thing you know, we see Kay is in a dream, and you could tell it’s a more brightly lit, sort of vibrant daylight dream. And she sees herself walking up to the house. And the front door of the house is this very beautiful, octagonal stained glass window and sort of like a forest scene with, like a stained glass tree. Gorgeous. And the front door swings open and she finds her mom sitting on her bed, and half of her body is black with mold. So she’s kind of rotting. And she’s nude, of course. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. Obviously.


Halle Kiefer: And we pan over the bed and as we sort of reach over the bed and to the space directly on the floor next to it, we see what I would describe as sort of a dried mummy version of her mom covered in black mold. And then we cut and we see her mother nude, pitching over and falling to that spot on the floor. So again, I think Kay’s subconscious is working out okay. Your mother probably is dead. 


Alison Leiby: Is dead. Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: So we’re we’re visiting this horrible image and, you know, we’re repeating it, in real life. Kay wakes up in a start, looks out the window again looking at the tree line. Doesn’t see anything lays down next to Sam. They fall asleep. It’s raining again. Another night of grandma outside. 


Alison Leiby: God the rain.


Halle Kiefer: And at night we can hear while they sleep, sort of sliding and thudding around the house. And we see Kay and Sam’s sleeping faces, and we see a hand caressing Kay’s hair while she sleeps. 


Alison Leiby: Hate to see that. 


Halle Kiefer: Kay wakes up in the morning, and as she wakes, she hears in the kitchen the tea kettle go off. She walks into the kitchen to find her mom. She’s filthy and her feet are disgusting and covered in dirt. But other than that she’s totally fine. And of course, she’s panicked by that and immediately tried to ask her mother what happened. Her mother is not really responsive. We hear Kay make a call. It’s like my mother’s fine, but. 


Alison Leiby: She’s fine. [laughs]


Halle Kiefer: I mean, she’s alive. She’s alive, and she doesn’t look like she’s been outside for days. I think she’d be in a worse shape if she was out there in that rain. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: She would get hypothermia, right? Because I thought when we cut to the feet. It’s like we’re going to see the feet have frostbite or something. 


Alison Leiby: She’s going. Yeah, it’s going to be like missing toes and stuff. 


Halle Kiefer: No, they’re they’re just. It’s just, covered in dirty filth. Yeah. She’s. My mother refuses to answer where she was or where she was, like, where what happened to her. And she was gone for at least three days. She they call a nurse to come and give her a physical. She’s totally fine, except she’s a really dark bruise on her sternum. And the nurse says, you know what? You seem totally fine. Frankly, a little shocking, but my advice is don’t be alone for the next week or two. And you see Kay practically roll her eyes and sigh. And it’s like, oh, brother. It’s like, what did you think the nurse was going to day? 


Alison Leiby: I have to hang out with my mom? 


Halle Kiefer: Your mother was gone for three days. No one knows. She can’t even respond where she went. You sorry you had to hang out for another week or two, like, grow up, you know? Kay you call call’s work? And from what we can tell, is able to get the time off, as she starts to go through her mother’s laundry and finds on her mother’s nightgown, which she was wearing when she came back, a bloodstain. So, of course—


Alison Leiby: I mean, of course. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. And she freaks out. But again, much like in reality, I’m like, oh, no, did somebody take her and hurt her? But because that idea is so horrifying to us. Kay then yells at her mother and demands to know where she was. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: And where the blood’s from and and, from what she can tell is like, it’s not that she’s really resisting telling, it’s that she’s not really clear. So you could yell all you want, but her, what she’s giving you is what she has. You know what I mean?


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: And we see her. She’s back to carving candles in these very beautiful, ornate, like, shapes and and, sort of blows her daughter off and says, you know, I was out. I had to go out. 


Alison Leiby: I was out. 


Halle Kiefer: If I know you call the police, I would have. I would have come back right away. I didn’t know you were going to make a big fuss about this, you know. Of course, Kay then blows up and was like, what are you talking about? You know, and again it just sublimated concern. And she’s—


Alison Leiby: Of course. 


Halle Kiefer: Yelling at her mother who maybe sundowning or like she has some sort of problem and you’re just gonna yell at her. But again, I’m sure that’s so common. Sam comes, intervenes. They all start to get ready for bed and in the bathroom alone Edna sort of opens the top of her her new nightgown or fresh nightgown and sees there’s a bruise on her chest, but it’s really dark black, and it looks suspiciously like the mold spots that have it appearing all over the house. 


Alison Leiby: That’s not surprising. 


Halle Kiefer: No, not in any sense of the word. Alison. She, of course, covers it back up when Sam comes into her room, which she has tea for her. And while they’re there chatting and again, obviously, like she has a more a less fraught relationship with her granddaughter, as  all grandparents do. And and it gives Sam her wedding band that she had. And Sam’s like, oh my God, I can’t take this like, you want to wear this? And Edna says, you might need it, and your mother’s already had a go at it, so I’m not giving it to her, which is fun. Sam goes to find her mother just to check in, and her mom is now in the junk room, and she’s starting to box everything up. So she’s going through everything, box everything, and is also on her laptop doing work for her actual job. And I was like, they need to take a trip to the Container Store. That’d be a great bonding experience. 


Alison Leiby: Get organized. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah, just spend the next week or two get, you know, cleaning up the house. That sounds nice. Sam finds a sketchbook of Edna’s late husband. And they leaf through it there’s a very cute, like, childhood drawing of Kay asleep, and he drew the woods and they’re all like, you know, it’s very warm memories until they find the drawing of an old cabin. And Kay says that, you know, it used to be on the property when they. My parents moved here and my great grandfather lived there. It was sort of like a cabin that he stayed in. He lived there—


Alison Leiby: Kay’s great grandfather. 


Halle Kiefer: Yes. Yeah. So, her is her grandfather. When her grandparents moved in, they moved in their father. And he lived in this separate cabin on the property that doesn’t exist anymore. 


Alison Leiby: Okay. 


Halle Kiefer: And, Kay says he lived there, until the end of his life, and there were a lot of stories. Well, anyways, I was just happy to see it go. Truly, the biggest dodge, like, I. I feel like that’s what a mom thing to say. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: Where it’s just sort of like, well, just brush it off something horrible and just, keep moving. Sam looks at the drawing and sees that the cabin has that very unusual octagonal octagonal window. Right. The one that’s in the door downstairs. And she says, oh, that’s the same window. It’s like, yeah, actually, when they tore down, they, they took some of the gorgeous stained glass windows and like really interesting doors and stuff. So we rescued some of those pieces and they put it in there, this house. So we’ve taken a cabin that with, with obscure and presumably malevolent. Energies and put it into the main house. So we brought over the window, which now is the eye of the house, you know. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: Kay tells Sam that she’s going to go in the morning to Melbourne. Melbourne, where they live. So seems like it’s a couple of hours away and they’re gonna she’s gonna look at it at retirement facility. Sam, immediately. Is like, you can’t do that. She should be able to die in her house. Like you just stay here—


Alison Leiby: Well not if she’s going to keep disappearing like this.


Halle Kiefer: Exactly. That’s the case where it’s like, I, I we can’t be here all the time. You’re working, I’m working. And Kay says well. Why? I’m sorry. Sam says to Kay, well, why can’t you just have her move in with you? Kay says, first of all, you know, she doesn’t want her to. But also she says she needs to be watched like it’s not an issue of where she’s physically living. 


Alison Leiby: Right. 


Halle Kiefer: She needs somebody here all the time. And she says, I need you on my side for this. And Sam sort of begrudgingly like, okay, you could go tomorrow. I’ll watch her and like, we’ll talk about it when you come back, in the night. Kay hears Edna moving around the house. And she gets up and we. As she approaches her mother, who is standing, facing the front door, we hear Edna whispering, I don’t hear anyone. You’re scaring me. It’s no one. 


Alison Leiby: No. 


Halle Kiefer: Kay approaches her mother and seemingly approaches her from behind. Or does she? We think that we think that Edna is facing away, but in fact, she lifts her hair and she’s been walking backwards toward the front door. 


Alison Leiby: Why? 


Halle Kiefer: A great shot, a great image, and Kay says recently enough. Are you okay? Her mom doesn’t answer. So she takes him up to bed and we get settled down. That’s the moment for the trailer when Edna tells Kay it’s here. It’s under the bed. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: Kay reassures her there’s no one under the bed Edna says, could you please just check, check for me? And again, you know, in this way the mother becomes a child, you know. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: Like, could you just it just I know probably you’re right. Maybe you could just go ahead, make sure no one is there. She barely bends down and so was like, oh, it’s fine. And Edna says, you didn’t look so Kay has to actually get down on hands and knees, and see something moving under the bed. However, Edna at that moment knocks her book off a bed and it startles Kay. And Kay hits her head on the bed frame when she sits up and then immediately starts accusing her mom of dropping on purpose so she does not engage with the moving shape under the bed. So I think we’re to think this is a family where, like all of these things that are unsaid, they will remain unsaid. I’m not going to like they’re never going to spell out exactly what’s happening, but just the fact that, like, you’re seeing something horrible with your own eyes, but you are instead lashing out at your mother or lash out at a family member because presumably you were raised in a home where that kind of thing was happened. 


Alison Leiby: That’s what you know. That was the pattern. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah, whatever that means. It’s that explicit, which I appreciate, like you were you were then to draw these like they already saw the mold on the walls. They already heard the knock—


Alison Leiby: They watched dry cleaning, breathe. 


Halle Kiefer: Like they were, you know, doing things. Exactly. So again, another moment of like, we’re seeing it, we’re reacting. The actual people in that scenario are not reacting correctly, right? 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: So in the morning, Kay drives to Melbourne and meets sort of the intake nurse at this retirement facility, which I honest to God, we were talking about living together. I’m ready to do it. Like, oh you it’s like a door where they have a bed so that he can just go lay down. That’s all I want to do. Anyways. That’s fine.


Alison Leiby: My aunt lives in, retirement assisted living. And it’s like they have a saltwater pool. They have a movie theater. They’ve got like, it’s like, yeah, it’s great. 


Halle Kiefer: I guess it’s sort of like to me, I love being around people so much. I understand people might not like it as much as me, and I’m a true extrovert. But when you’re older, especially just to have the option to see people, you know, to hang out with everybody all the time, I’m sorry. It seems nice. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: And they tell her we don’t. The the rooms over here on the side have ocean views. Then she looks up, looks at the window. There’s like a teeny tiny sliver of the ocean, but you can see it. 


Alison Leiby: Hey. 


Halle Kiefer: And Edna’s sort of like there. She starts to backtrack. She’s like, I don’t know if my mom really needs all this yet. Like, she’s still, like, lucid and stuff. And you know what they should have said? Well, maybe it’s because it’s not America, but I was like, I think you probably. It’s like preschool. I feel like you have to put her name in now and then, like six months, a year, two years, maybe a bed opens up. 


Alison Leiby: I mean, the crisis that’s coming in America, oh, no one’s talking about that or doing anything about it. It’s going to be a nightmare. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah, my parents were right. I already told them that, that they’re gonna be sleeping on my couch or my one of my siblings couches. 


Alison Leiby: Where are they gonna. Where is there to go? 


Halle Kiefer: Right? Like, it’s like you’re. I would have put you in a big Tupperware container and slide you under that. You’re going to sleep under the bed because that’s the only place where—


Alison Leiby: They’re, like, under the bed. Mom and dad. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah, like, I like the idea. They put her in a facility, frankly. Sounds like a treat, you know? 


Alison Leiby: I know. 


Halle Kiefer: So she leaves, of course. Kay cries in her car because it’s a big decision and it’s really hard. And, Sam comes back from the grocery store to find Edna dancing to her records, and she says, dance with me, Kimmy. And Sam says, why? And she says, dance with me, Sammy. And she teaches her granddaughter to cha cha cha. So they have, like, a very warm, like, loving family moment. And so Sam decides to ask, well, you know, grandma, why doesn’t Jamie from next door come over all the time? And I think the implication is, like, he grew up there. They know him. He came over to help or like to play or all the time. And and Edna says, oh, the retard. Oh, no. Grandma. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: Sam was like, well. Moving on. How would you feel about moving? How would you feel if I moved to town? You know, and Edna it says, why would you want to do that? Why would you move to this little town? And Sam says well. I need to help you and and Edna starts to get panicked. She’s like, well, where would you live? She’s like, well, I can live with you. You have all the bedrooms. Edna flips out she’s like, is this your idea? Was this your mother’s idea. You know, I’m not a project for you to take on, you know? And Sam says, well, it’s better than an old folks home. That’s where my mom is right now. It’s like, okay, well, you could have told her again. Don’t tell her in the heat of a fight. Like bring it up in a neutral time and discuss it. Not. Well, you have to let me in or we’re going to send you away. Terrifying. You know? 


Alison Leiby: Yeah, yeah. Yeah, yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: Alison Edna sees the, her wedding band when she. We just saw her, gives Sam on Sam’s finger and freaks out and accuses her of stealing it because she doesn’t remember the exchange, and basically reaches over and tries to wrench it off her fingers. That hurts Sam’s feelings. She’s distraught. She takes it off and her, like slams it on the ground, then goes upstairs to take a bath. While she’s bathing. Sam hears a sound and sees feet standing outside the bathroom door. 


Alison Leiby: No. 


Halle Kiefer: And as she’s listening, she starts to hear nails dragging themselves down the door, presumably her grandmother’s, but again, not entirely sure. 


Alison Leiby: Who knows. 


Halle Kiefer: Finally, this sets Sam off that something is wrong, right? It took to this where someone is clawing at the outside of the bathroom door. Later, Kay returns they’re making dinner, and Kay finds her old school reports in the trash that had been in the junk room. And she says, did you mean to throw these out? And Edna says, well, I have to throw him out. I have to make room. Sam’s moving in. I have to clean that whole room out. It’s better than Melbourne. Of course, now Kay’s realize that Sam told Edna about the retirement home, and now Edna’s mad about it. That night, Sam looks out the front door window, the octagonal window, and sees black mold around the frame. And she finds Edna whistling in front of the walk in closet we saw earlier, which is standing open. And Edna tells Sam—


[clip of Robyn Nevin]: I thought this was where it got in. 


[clip of Bella Heathcote]: Who? 


[clip of Robyn Nevin]: Whoever 


Halle Kiefer: Sam says okay, so that’s why you installed out of locks and then Edna says, actually. I’m really glad you’re moving in, Sammy. I think I need someone here, but it is funny what Sam’s like. So now you’re gonna live at this house where something’s happening or. 


Alison Leiby: Right? [both speaking] No. No one should live there. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah, 100%. So of course, Sam closes the door and locks it. In the night, Sam wakes to hear rhythmic, rhythmic thumping. To me, it sounds like somebody is fucking. So I was like, that would be a fucking twist? Like, all of a sudden, grandma is having sex with the devil or something. And I will say, at this point, I, I did kind of need something to happen, you know, I did—


It’s been pretty slow. Chilling but like. You know, like it’s small. We need big. Time for big.


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. So she finds the washing machine and it’s sort of chugging along. Who turned it on? You know, someone. There’s something inside of it. Meanwhile, we are finding someone once again against in Kay’s dream, watching her mother through the window of the house, the front door with the octangle, window stands open, and again she sees her mother sitting on the edge of the bed. This time she’s not nude. She’s in her, you know, dressing gown. And she falls off the bed, slumping again to the side of the bed. And when Kay peers over the bed and she sees not her mother’s body, but a mold stain in the shape of her mother’s body. 


Alison Leiby: Oh, God. 


Halle Kiefer: And we see the mold has reached up all the way up to the ceilings. Is covering every surface in the dream. 


Alison Leiby: Burn the house down. Even if you’re imagining that that’s what’s in the house, burn it.


Halle Kiefer: In real life Kay’s eyes shoot open as she hears her daughter’s voice ring out calling for her. She gets up, she looks in the bathroom. Nobody’s there. And here I wrote. It’s around about this point where I am going to need something to fucking happen. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: In the morning we hear Edna, she’s carving her candles again and she’s talking to ourselves they look like Kay and Sammy. But it’s not them. It’s not that I’m somebody else they’re pretending to be Kay and Sammy. I think that they’re waiting for me to die and will dump me in the ground to rot. 


Alison Leiby: That’s where dead people go. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. I mean, where are you going to rot. You might as well rot in the ground. 


Alison Leiby: Who cares you’re dead. 


Halle Kiefer: It’s just a little more polite. You don’t want to be rotting on the bus. That’s a whole seat someone could be using. 


Alison Leiby: That’s rude. 


Halle Kiefer: Sam walks in and sees that her grandmother has cut her fingers like carving candles. But when she goes to help her Edna, again, things, you know, things that she’s taking something from her lashes out, sort of slashing the air with her, her knife, and chases Sam out of the room, saying, this is my room. This is my house. Sam finally decides I’m going to go over and talk to the neighbor about what happened with Jamie, because like, this all seems like maybe this has been happening a little bit longer than we knew. And that seems like the first time I’m hearing about it, right? So Sam goes over talks to Alex, the neighbor, about why his son Jamie sort of has been keeping his distance from Edna, and we find out that he and Edna would like, when he’d go over there they would play hide and seek sometimes. 


Alison Leiby: Okay. 


Halle Kiefer: And one time he hid in the upstairs cupboard. 


Alison Leiby: Okay. 


Halle Kiefer: And then she locked it from the outside. 


Alison Leiby: Not great. 


Halle Kiefer: And, and as you can imagine, when Alex couldn’t find his son, he panics. He goes over there, and when Edna comes to the door, she says, I don’t know where he is. I’m sorry. And he could hear his son screaming upstairs. 


Alison Leiby: That’s, like, so scary. 


Halle Kiefer: It’s awful. And he’s like, so no offense to her. Obviously we’re happy to keep an eye out for her, but we’re just, you know, keeping an eye out. And Sam says, this is a very funny. Yeah, sorry does keep distance. This is a very funny moment where Sam says versus sincerely like, I’m really sorry Jamie had to go through that. And it’s like they wasn’t they weren’t sure exactly how to end the conversation because he Alex goes, okay. And he just walks away. You think you’d be like, well, thanks for coming over. Like, let me know if you need anything. It’s just sort of like. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: Okay. And then walks away. 


Alison Leiby: That’s so funny. 


Halle Kiefer: But he’s smiling like you didn’t seem upset. He’s not saying it to, like, blow her off. He seems fine. 


Alison Leiby: That’s just like, okay. 


Halle Kiefer: Listen, I’m going. I’m assuming he’s Australia. And they must be like. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah, yeah, yeah, that’s an Australian thing. 


Halle Kiefer: In the morning we see, Kay is sitting in the living room and she’s making a list of, like, what would they have to do to the house to keep their mom there? So it’s like locks on the doors, for sure, but, like, guardrails, on the outside of the tub, like, more railing on the porch, you know, like, if I’m not, we’re not going to send her to a retirement facility. We still have to upgrade this house so she doesn’t escape it, and she’s safe, you know, because it’ll be more and more of an issue. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: Unfortunately, while she’s making this list, she looks outside and sees her mother in her nightgown, hauling ass into the woods, and she’s like, come on [?] the woods again. She chases her mom down and finds her behind a tree, eating photos out of the photo album. 


Alison Leiby: Eating? 


Halle Kiefer: Eating family photos out of the family heirloom.


Alison Leiby: Boy. That’s a texture I never want in my mouth. 


Halle Kiefer: Chewing them up. Swallowing them. Rippin them up. Kay tries to stop her but Edna bites her hand and says, I’m still your mother, Kay before grabbing the photo album, storming away. And Kay tries to like, pick up the torn, chewed up photos. And unfortunately, when she goes to pick one up, we see it’s also covered in the same black mold that has infiltrated the house. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: When she finds her mother a little distance away, Edna has dug a hole in the ground up with the photo album in and, and it tells Kay, I think it’s going to be safe down there. Kay says, well, what do you mean, safe from what? And Edna says, I don’t know. Edna tells her daughter, I hate that stupid window in the door. I hated it the entire time. Maybe it’s just been a weak enough and it couldn’t get me. And now. Now I’m alone and I’m weak. And it’s strong enough to get me. I wish I could bury it so it can’t get at me. Kay. Of course. Like wait, what are we talking about? You know what I mean? Like what? What are we saying? And Edna starts sobbing and just saying. I just want to go home. I just really want to go home. And Kay finally says, well, then come home with me. Come live with me in Melbourne. We’ll figure it out. You don’t have to be alone. I’m sorry. I should have invited you earlier. And Sam will help. And I’m so sorry you were here alone. And Edna nods, but she’s like, she’s worlds away and Edna says, where is everyone? And Kay’s like, well, I’m here, Sam’s here, we’re here. She goes, but where is everyone? And she’s crying. 


Alison Leiby: Oh no. 


Halle Kiefer: I know, and Kay hugs her. We see Edna’s nails are stained with blood from her hand bleeding earlier upstairs, Sam goes into the walk in closet locking cupboard, which she is now properly freaked out by, and we see on the inside of the door there are scratch marks where Jamie, in a panic, clawed at the door to try to get out. Alison. Sam walks to the back of a cupboard and realizes it just keeps going. What does that mean? So she continues to walk down the hallway. She’s walking into the bowels of either extension of the house, or a mirror image of the house that is now is also covered in mold, so covered in black mold. And as she goes, Sam sees all these boxes. So more and more boxes, more and more things of life and worthy things collected throughout the family’s life. And more specific post-its. So one says, my name is Edna. One says, my mother has green eyes. Sam, who now has picked up a flashlight, keeps pressing on, and as we see again, the walls are more and more spotted with mold. They’re becoming soft and it’s like there’s a whole other house inside the cupboard. And she hears a scratching sound. And finally she says out loud, fuck this. And when she turns to leave. Alison. There is no door behind her. 


Alison Leiby: No. 


Halle Kiefer: It’s just a wall. Alison, I gotta ask who will survive? 


[voice over]: Who will survive? 


Alison Leiby: Okay, I think Gram is going to die. I think. Sam and Kay are going to live. 


Halle Kiefer: Okay, great. 


Alison Leiby: And I would like the house to die.


Halle Kiefer: Wait say again?


Alison Leiby: I want the house to die. 


Halle Kiefer: You want the house to die? Okay, great. Sam whips out her phone as you would and she says no service and starts freaking out she’s screaming for her mom. Screaming for grandma. But downstairs, all you can sort of hear is like the muffled, like little muffled noises which we’ve all been hearing the entire time. And so I think now is when we realize, like, okay, so this is what happened to grandma. This is what happened to Edna. She also became trapped in the house. And now Sam is. 


Alison Leiby: Okay. 


Halle Kiefer: As well. 


Alison Leiby: Okay.


Halle Kiefer: So Sam has disappeared. Night falls. Kay is starting to panic and she’s like, well, she wouldn’t have left without her stuff or stuff is still here. And you know, she’s trying to talk to her mother. Calm her down. She says you should try to eat something. And her mother turns and looks at at Kay with this look of complete loathing, like in this moment she hates Kay so much. And she stands up as host, walking away from the table when she pees starts peeing on the floor. 


Alison Leiby: It’s a move. 


Halle Kiefer: Kay takes her, puts her mother in the bath and starts running a bath. And as she lays there, we see the bruises on Edna’s sternum had started to spread across her chest and arms, and as she scratches them, we see that the bruises are actually soft and full of holes, like a mold. Like its soft as she claws into her chest. Yeah. 


Alison Leiby: I don’t want that.


Halle Kiefer: I don’t like it at all. Meanwhile, downstairs, Kay goes to get a mop to clean her mom’s pee, only to see the pee is shot through with black like soot or smoke. So she’s peeing out the mold as well. Oh, also, Sam, her daughter is trapped in some sort of moldy mirror version of the house upstairs. 


Alison Leiby: No. 


Halle Kiefer: And she’s finding more and more notes. The handwriting’s getting worse, ostensibly like an example of, like, Edna’s declining mental health, but also being trapped there as the physical manifestation of this. And in her handwriting, it says, it’s here. The walls are moving. Where is everyone? Kay comes back upstairs and pounds on the bathroom door, which is now locked. And, we’re sort of seeing these parallels Sam walks further into the mold house, which is completely dark it’s rank. The ceilings are getting lower and lower, and she hears something behind her. Sam drops to all fours and starts frantically crawling forward. Poor Kay is outside the bathroom calling for her mother. Her mother can’t open the door even if the door was unlocked but she can’t get up. 


Alison Leiby: She can’t. 


Halle Kiefer: She’s not in a good state. So poor Kay gets on a step stool and sort of looks in. There’s like a little window that you can open over the bathroom door, and she sees in the bathroom mirror across in the tub. Her mom is taking her candle carving knife and it’s just carving into her chest. 


Alison Leiby: No. 


Halle Kiefer: Kay screams and falls off the stool, and Edna finally opens a door, but her chest isn’t bleeding. It’s just a black mold spore now. Like it’s just entirely black. And we see that the tub is overflowing, as we saw at the beginning as Edna walks out and it short circuits the space heater. And so now the lights are also out. The power has gone out in the house, and the water eventually starts dribbling down the stairs. Kay’s panicking. She lights a candle. She finds her mother, and her mother is now absolutely trashing her room, breaking photos, glass smashing which is all completely dark. 


Alison Leiby: Okay. 


Halle Kiefer: So we’re getting these like flickers in candlelight of Edna freaking out. 


Alison Leiby: Oh. 


Halle Kiefer: And now we see Kay finds herself at the open cupboard. The door is now open. She, of course, doesn’t know that Sam is in there. So we go back to Sam. Sam’s crawling. Panicking. Basically. It’s like the size of an air duct now. Like she’s. It’s not a hallway. She’s crawling as it gets physically smaller. And when she turns back, the hallway ends right behind her. So it’s not even like a cupboard, right? There’s nothing behind her. 


Alison Leiby: Oh, God. 


Halle Kiefer: And the ceiling. 


Alison Leiby: This is my claustrophobia a nightmare.


Halle Kiefer: Exactly. It is very effective. Like. And I do feel like. It’s like. It’s like this is one thing where it is very hard to describe. Where it’s like you are watching it entirely for the physical idea of I am in a mold filled, ever shortening space is that I am panicking within. Thinking quick though, she’s able to kick through. The walls are very soft because of the mold. She’s able to kick through the wall and then crawl into another hallway. So she’s still in this hellscape, but she’s not—


Alison Leiby: Okay but at least she can stand up. 


Halle Kiefer: Exactly. She can stand up. 


Alison Leiby: Okay, well that’s huge. 


Halle Kiefer: Meanwhile, Kay walks into the, cupboard and finds her mother in there as well. And she is crouched. 


Alison Leiby: Oh good. 


Halle Kiefer: She’s crouched over the end of a hallway, and when. And Edna turns, she is taking her knife and stabbing into her own face. And you’re not going to be surprised by this. Instead of blood or muscle, it’s just black, spongy mold inside of her. 


Alison Leiby: That’s so gross. 


Halle Kiefer: And she stands. And when she stands, her shin shatters through her skin like her skin tears open like paper. And the bone that juts through is black with mold. So it’s like her bones are black. And Edna says, you’re not Kay. Back in the mirror world, Sam struggles through another filth hallway, which is still full of boxes, and now the water from the tub in real life is manifesting in this other world. So the water is spilling out. So now that’s why you’re getting all this mold. And I’m telling you, there’s so much water damage in here. You gotta clean up this nightmare world. Get rid of this mold. She finds a pipe on the ground and starts beating through the wall to try to escape, and she finally breaks through into the actual living room. So she breaks through above the fireplace where they heard that first knocking, right? 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: And she manages to knock her grandfather’s urn off the mantel. Symbolism. But just as Sam was about to crawl through, she hears her mother’s screaming and realizes, oh, my mother’s in this space here, too. So. So she does the right thing. She goes back in and she finds Kay, who’s running and says, mum is she’s not mum anymore. And we see that Edna has turned into sort of a, a screaming, mold covered version of herself that is now hunting them. 


Alison Leiby: That is awful. 


Halle Kiefer: Unfortunate stuff. Kay and, Sam run back to the mantle and they’re taking turns breaking through the wall. Kay’s got it. And she’s hammering through to widen the space to crawl out, and Kay turns to see Edna crawling through a doorway on her stomach and standing to attack. And just before she can, Kay shoves Sam through the door. As soon as the to the gap in the wall, shoves her in the actual living room and attacks, and Kay has to fight her off. Kay is able to get into the living room, but of course mold monster Edna follows them and she attacks. Yeah, her daughter and granddaughter, and her daughter has to beat her with a pipe to get her—


Alison Leiby: Oh my God. Like my mom jokes to me all the time that she wants me to kill her before her life gets bad. Like, she’s like, I don’t want to, you know, I don’t want to have a very low quality of life at the end, like, just wrap it up like kill me. 


Halle Kiefer: Sure. 


Alison Leiby:  I hope it isn’t like this. 


Halle Kiefer: But, what I would say to your mother is, has she met you? I just that’s not like my mother. I mean, I mean, it. Maybe she’s thought it, but I. She would ask somebody else before me. Because I tell you right now, I couldn’t do it. I can’t do something like that. 


Alison Leiby: If she’s. If she criticizes me before, she needs me to do it, I think I could get there. 


Halle Kiefer: Okay. That’s. That’s smart. She has, you know. 


Alison Leiby: Where I’m like, we like, tap into your your most critical. Okay. 


Halle Kiefer: And then you’re right. 


Alison Leiby: You’ll you’ll lead me right to smother.


Halle Kiefer: A pillow in your head. That’s a great point. But, yeah, so she has to beat her mother with a pipe. 


Alison Leiby: Oh, I don’t want to beat my moldy mom with a—


Halle Kiefer: No I like. We could all agree on that. 


Alison Leiby: I think no one wants to do that. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah, well, at least [both speaking] I suppose. Yeah. Edna falls to the ground. And as they watch, she starts to wither into a husk of her former self starting to dry out. And they start to leave Sam sort of rushing her mother out, and Edna calls out. Kay? And she turns to sitting next to her mother, who is sentient and breathing, but she essentially looks sort of like a, Crypt Keeper version of herself. 


Alison Leiby: Yes, of course. 


Halle Kiefer: And next to her, is a post it that says I am loved. A reminder that she is loved. And Sam goes out to the porch and it was like, come on, it’s not her anymore. But of course it is her. And Kay tells her daughter. 


[clip of Emily Mortimer]: I can’t leave her. 


Halle Kiefer: And she shuts the door and locks it from the inside. So Sam can’t get back inside before returning to her mother, and now she must tend to her as she sort of succumbs to the mold. And she is now the corpse that they have been seeing in her dreams. Like the mummified version. Still breathing. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: So Kay picks up her mother and carries her to bed. And instead of like undressing her or cleaning her, she slowly starts peeling off her mother’s skin. To reveal a sort of a jet black mummy version of her mom inside. 


Alison Leiby: Oh. 


Halle Kiefer: A mold mummy in both senses of the word. 


Alison Leiby: Mummy. 


And she kisses her mummy, her mom’s little mummy head, and she turns to see Sam has gone back into the house and she’s waiting in the doorway and Kay lays Edna down and kind of spoons her in bed, and Sam joints are laying behind Kay. And as they lay there three generations, Sam looks and sees right at the edge of her mother’s neck line is a little tiny spot of mold, and we end with a shot of the mold covering the octagonal window in the front door. The Relic. The end. 


Alison Leiby: Wow. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. 


Alison Leiby: Chilling ending.


Halle Kiefer: Good stuff. 


Alison Leiby: With, with the spot of mold on mom. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. 


Alison Leiby: That really. Ooh, it hits.


Halle Kiefer: It hits. Yeah, it was a great one. Visually. Very terrifying. I thought it was really wonderful. What are some fatal mistakes you think people have made in the movie Relic? 


Alison Leiby: Fatal mistakes. 


Alison Leiby: I mean, obviously, dealing with your family trauma. 


Halle Kiefer: Trauma. 


Alison Leiby: Is the root of this. So, you know, therapy, communicating all of those things in more specifics of the film. Burn the house down. Like, why was the house still standing? Like, don’t I don’t need this house. I mean, I know that it’s like, well, it’s also hard. I’m like, is it the house? 


Halle Kiefer: I think is not the house. I think it’s like the family. Like so I think. 


Alison Leiby: So, like even if she had gone somewhere else. 


Halle Kiefer: Yes. 


Alison Leiby: This would have this rot was there. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. Cause like, I think it blurs—


Alison Leiby: I still think they should burn the house down. 


Halle Kiefer: I mean, you as well at this point, but. Yeah. Blurs the line between like, is this a is is the family thing just, a degenerative, you know, like, is this something degenerative within the family? Is there are we alluding to abuse? The only thing that made me think of that could be both is, is that all the characters, including the characters who are in, like, if Edna sees something that’s not there that makes sense. Like, Sam and Kay have multiple incidents where they see something that they do not react to, like we do. So that makes me think, okay, so you grew up with some level of— 


Alison Leiby: Seeing things. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah, something is wrong in the house. And also Kay’s general attitude towards her mother and wanting to come back to the house and sort of the reticence around that is like, okay, so something was up in the house, but in the end, you know, they held it together barely, because mold did not hold together very well. 


Alison Leiby: If it falls apart. 


Halle Kiefer: But she, they come back and they care for her. So I think it’s a very a lovely ending in the end, just knowing that like. Yes, Sam, you will have to. Deal with your mother’s— 


Alison Leiby: Your mother when. 


Halle Kiefer: She becomes a mold monster in the end. 


Alison Leiby: You’re probably going to have to peel her skin off, too. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah, I think that that family is at the end when you turn to a monster. You know. I help you peel your skin off. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah, we’ll do it in the communal. Have less trauma. 


Halle Kiefer: Exactly. Well, you know, it’ll just be funny when all of us, we grow a mold monster at once. 


Alison Leiby: And there’s no one to peel our skin off. 


Halle Kiefer: Exactly. Well, yeah. Well, we’ll have to have somebody come by and help us peel skin. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah, yeah. We gotta. We got it. Well, look, there’s going to be a lot of planning involved in this. We should probably start now. 


Halle Kiefer: And then finally, where would you place this movie on the spooky scale? Alison? 


[voice over]: A spooky scale. 


Alison Leiby: I think this is a seven for me. Well, not a lot. Well it takes a while for like big stuff to happen. Like the overall tone of the film is very scary. And is like and I think also like those like when things are kind of unexplained, it almost feels scarier than if there was like, and that like the da da da da da da da da da da. Like, if it’s like super spelled out sometimes you’re like, okay. But this just kind of like overall sense of like, this is it and this is what’s happening. And no, we’re not going to, like, walk you through what it is. You know what it is. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. 


Alison Leiby: That is for me, a seven. What about you? 


Halle Kiefer: I agree, I do because I, I, I’m definitely someone and I think this is the American in me. I always want things to be spelled out a little bit more, but I think given that they didn’t, I have the visuals really compelling. I thought it was really chilling. I do think that I maybe needed like, another fucked up thing to happen. You know, because I feel like the last half I wasn’t really a for like, I knew because it was an allegory. Because it is about trauma. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: I knew that we probably most almost everyone would make it to the end. So there was kind of a lag in terms of scariness just because I was like, yeah, you know, it’s not like the mom’s going to suddenly murder them. Now that would have been a twist. But that’s not what the story was building up to. So I’m going to say a four, beautiful visuals. All the acting was great, but feels like it was more of like a, rumination on aging and family and, and that kind of thing, which I did enjoy but did not, was not in itself particularly scary for the most part. 


Alison Leiby: Makes sense, but yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: Well, thank you, everyone for joining us for, Mummy Month. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah, we’ve got more moms headed your way all month. 


Halle Kiefer: And yeah, please sign up for the Patreon if you haven’t already. And if you do already, thank you so much. We really appreciate it. 


Alison Leiby: We love you. You’re keeping us—


Halle Kiefer: You’re top of the pop stars. 


Alison Leiby: Keeping us going here. And again, that is That is the correct website. We were right. So. And, I guess we got to ask if you would please just. Keep it spooky. 


Halle Kiefer: Don’t forget to follow us at Ruined podcasts and Crooked Media on Instagram, Twitter and TikTok for show updates. And if you’re just as opinionated as we are, consider dropping us a review. Ruined is a Radio Point and Crooked Media production, we’re your writers and hosts Halle Kiefer and Alison Leiby. This show is executive produced by Alex Bach, Sabrina Fonfeder and Houston Snyder, and recorded and edited by Kat Iossa. From Crooked Media our executive producer is Kendra James with production and promotional support from Ari Schwartz, Kyle Seglin, Julia Beach, Caroline Dunphy, and Ewa Okulate.