This is a pretty twisted movie you might regret watching, but in making it, actress Romola Garai proves she has a promising future as a director. She has a sophisticated eye, and in joining forces with first-time feature cinematographer Laura Bellingham, she demonstrates a knack for creating warmth and chills through crisp color and artistic composition. Amulet's visuals are breathtaking: The beauty and serenity of Tomaz's comfortable wartime post contrast sharply with his current revolting residence and its hideous upstairs occupant. The house is a splay of mold spores, grime, and black toilet water -- and that's where the retching begins. The more Tomaz discovers what lies above his ceiling, the more repulsive it gets. Suffice it to say the elderly woman hasn't aged well: She isn't just wrinkled, she's rotting, dripping, slimy ... juicy. Garai doesn't hold back the blecch.
While Garai succeeds here as a director, she needs improvement as a writer. Horror is known as a good genre to cut your teeth on, and Garai relies on several scary movie clichés: haunted house, supernatural elements, monsters, and even full-fanged bats. Of course, there are also secrets. That, however, is where the story shines. After taking viewers through an uncomfortable hour and a half that will likely make them want to shower in disinfectant, the ending is both bizarro and rewarding. It leaves you shocked. And cheering.