Authors Douglas Preston and Lincoln Childhad had their novel The Relic adapted into a b-movie creature feature, that serves the audience with creeps and enlighten entertainment, which incorporates cultural mythology, a mystery-story and superstition, yet omits key portions of the actual novel, while combining several characters into a few people, and finally switching the storylines for them too. One needs to understand this a common practice with adaptions, rarely does the novel and film match, that ideally only happens with firm contracts and the movie-tie books that become an afterthought marketing plan. Director Peter Hyams helmed the project and had four screenwriters, among them Amy Holden Jones (The Slumber Party Massacre [1982]), John Raffo, Rick Jaffa, and Amanda Silver (The Hand That Rocks the Cradle [1992]) and yes that’s a bit much, nevertheless ideally two of them were employed to handle actual adaption portion (though unsure which did that). This picture tallies nearly 2-hours on a budget of $40-million and had a modest return of $65-million, receiving distribution from Paramount Pictures, then in 2010 it had a bare-bone Blu-ray release, one can only hope it gets a fresher version soon.

It’s an interesting story at times, that involves an anthropologist who ships contents back to the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, on a merchant ship, that arrives with a slaughtered crew, hence enters homicide detective Vincent D’Agosta (Tom Sizemore (Bottom Feeder [2007])) in typical cliché fashion. He’s recently divorced, has own superstitions, namely holds onto a lucky bullet enjoys working on his own, though he now has a younger partner Detective Hollingsworth (Clayton Rohner (April Fool’s Day [1986])) that he must deal with. At first everyone believes it’s a drug hit gone madly unhinged, however a day later at the museum a security guard meets a similar fate that mirrors the crew’s wounds.  D’Agosta comes in contact with Dr. Margo Green (Penelope Ann Miller (The Messengers [2007])) evolutionary biologist the last museum staff member to have signed-off the night of the grisly murder and also meets Albert Frock (James Whitmore (Them! [1954])). As the detective searches for clues to this mystery Green struggles to solve her own case of both researching mysterious leaves found in the crate and wanting to grant at the gala event. On the opening night of a new exhibit, which surrounds ancient culture superstitions, hosted by Dr. Ann Cuthbert (Linda Hunt) the Mayor Owen (Robert Lesser (The Monster Squad [1987])) is in attendance along with many wealthy benefactors and dignitaries, as well as an unpopular Dr. Lee (Chi Muoi Lo). Fret not, decapitations definitely are on the menu as well as a grizzly beast with a special invitation.

While overall the film never offers any gross out moments or true surprises it can deliver a few jump scares and elevated suspense to those unaware of a creature feature movie. The gore factor tends to be on the mild side, as the scenes are often an aftermath of smeared bloodstained walls and floors. The dialogue often bogs down in certain moments, a few comical lines pull it through the sluggish portions, filling it with action sequences. Nonetheless, Miller’s character Dr. Green is portrayed as a thinking individual suffering through peer frustrations. One needs to note that this movie marked the last feature film for Audra Lindley (Spellbinder [1988]), who portrayed a minor character name Dr. Zwiezic. However the biggest character which stays well-hidden until absolutely needed is  Kothoga from the Stan Winston Studio.

There generally seems to be a mix set of opinions toward this movie, perhaps because the market in the mid to late nineties found itself flooded with monster movies to Anaconda (1997) to Deep Rising (1998) and Lake Placid (1999), however I never hid my enjoyment of monster. This creature feature had modest gains at the box office and appears in ways to hone the conceptual design of a Haunted House, something like that in Alien (1979) did, using dark hallways and suggestive jump scares.  Simply it’s a good popcorn flick for you enjoy on a weeknight, a b-movie with a touch cheese favoring to past through your brief indulgence.


  • There are secrets better left unknown, and treasures better left undiscovered. In 1995, a scientific expedition found something that turns myths into nightmares…something that gives shape to fear, and form to evil…something as powerful as it is deadly. They should never have sought it. They should never have touched it. And then, they did the unthinkable…THEY BROUGHT IT BACK.
  • The Next Evolution In Terror.
  • What Terrifies You?
  • A mind is a terrible thing to waste… Especially if you’re really hungry

IMDb Rating: 5.8/10

Baron’s Rating: 5.5/10