The Relic

Critics Consensus

No consensus yet.



Total Count: 32


Audience Score

User Ratings: 26,735
User image

Watch it now

The Relic Photos

Movie Info

This action-packed horror thriller is filled with plenty of violence, gore, and some genuine chills. A gigantic man-eating mutant creature is lurking underneath the city. When human heads with holes chewed into them begin turning up at a museum, Detective Vincent D'Agosta is assigned to investigate.


Penelope Ann Miller
as Dr. Margo Green
Tom Sizemore
as Lt. Vincent D'Agosta
Linda Hunt
as Dr. Ann Cuthbert
James Whitmore
as Dr. Albert Frock
Clayton Rohner
as Detective Hollingsworth
Chi-Muoi Lo
as Greg Lee
Thomas Ryan
as Parkinson
Tommy Ryan
as Parkinson
Robert Lesser
as Mayor Owen
Diane Robin
as Mayor's Wife
Lewis Van Bergen
as John Whitney
Kent George
as Grad Student
Constance Towers
as Mrs. Blaisedale
Francis X. McCarthy
as Mr. Blaisedale
Audra Lindley
as Dr. Zweizig
John Kapelos
as McNally
Tico Wells
as Bailey
Gene Davis
as Martini
John DiSanti
as Wootton
Ron Cummins
as Dr. Gross
Ned Schmidtke
as Captain Martin
Katherine Mitchell
as Officer Katherine
Eddie Jemison
as Museum Worker
Matthew Furlin
as Crazy Man
Santos Morales
as Captain Borne
View All

News & Interviews for The Relic

Critic Reviews for The Relic

All Critics (32) | Top Critics (6) | Fresh (11) | Rotten (21)

  • A surprisingly entertaining "monster-on-the-loose" picture set mostly in halls and private passageways of Chicago's Field Museum of Natural History.

    Jul 10, 2017 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • Though based on an original and respected novel, Hyams' horror thriller comes across as a pastiche of the genre's conventions as evident in major pictures of the past two decades, such as Jaws and the first two Alien films.

    Dec 23, 2006 | Rating: C

    Emanuel Levy

    Top Critic
  • Gore seekers need only to know the body count is high and the scares are cheap as director Peter Hyams shares his beast's repellent disregard for human life.

    Jan 1, 2000 | Rating: 2/4
  • In the end, The Relic erupts into a monster mash. Hyams has filmed it excitingly, and Stan Winston delivers a blazing special effect. But there is a bit too much of Godzilla in the monster when it finally is revealed in all of its ghastly glory.

    Apr 25, 2018 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…
  • A derivative and predictable post-Alien sci-fi horror film.

    Oct 18, 2017 | Rating: C+ | Full Review…
  • No doubt the bill for Energizers alone took up a big chunk of this gory clunker's $48-million budget.

    Jul 6, 2010 | Rating: 1/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Relic

  • Feb 27, 2014
    Peter Hyams The Relic is a pulse pounding, horrifying and highly engrossing monster movie that takes the best elements of the genre and sets them in the most unlikely place, Chicago's Natural History Museum. This is a tense, thrilling monster film that delivers a high body count with plenty of blood. The film at times suffers from lack of great dialogue, but in the end, it doesn't matter because the carnage that follows more than makes up for the lack brilliant writing. The Relic is one of those films that is pure mindless fun, and it's sure to appeal to genre fans. Like I've said, there is no effective dialogue, and there is no real great performance. The cast here is presented more as bait to the creature lurking in the darkness of the museum. The effects are well done, and even if they look a bit dated by today's standards, for the time, it's still impressive to see that they were able to pull something like this back in 1997. The Relic is a film that uses a simple plot to create something truly exciting. This is the type of film that doesn't overdo anything, and it's to the point with its horror. That's what it takes to build a highly entertaining horror film, a good, yet simple concept with great atmosphere and tension throughout the film. The Relic more than lives up to that, and it's a horror picture that is dark, menacing and memorable for what it sets out to accomplish. Sure, it does lack in great performances, but this is nonetheless a film that should be seen by genre fans for its intense, well executed monster carnage. The film may be weak in a few areas, but it's a constant good time, and monster film fans will surely enjoy this underrated horror gem.
    Alex r Super Reviewer
  • Aug 26, 2012
    "Popcorn" horror flick as the expression goes. I really thought the plot twist toward the end was pretty clever, but poor writing, and just some general horror cheesiness prevents this from being any better than a middle of the road flick.
    Mace R Super Reviewer
  • Nov 10, 2011
    Mindless mayhem! A Detroit museum receives a shipment of bizarre crates, containing an old tribal relic and some leaves which have some strange fungus on it. That night a security guard named Frederick Ford (Jophery C.Brown) is literally torn to pieces by a giant monster. Homicide detective Vincent D'Agosta (Tom Sizemore) and evolutionary biologist Margo Green (Penelope Ann Miller) team up and discover that the leaves contained some sort of unidentifiable fungus that systematically mutated into a wild monster. D'Agosta insists that the museum should close its doors but the Museum doesn't need any bad publicity and are planning to hold a gala for the Mayor (Robert Lesser) his wife (Diane Robbin) and so they try and sweep the incident under the carpet. Lt. D'Agusto can't stop the gala from going ahead, the bad news for the guests is that there seems to be a giant mutated creature running around that needs to eat human brains for a particular hormone it survives on. "The Relic" offers some surprisingly nasty killings (numerous decapitations) and vicious monster effects (we have Stan Winston to thank for that). Horror fans will appreciate the extended and atmospherically filmed sequences in the museum catacombs, showing how a small group of survivors try to escape the monster evolved specifically to decapitate people! The Good Points: The museum set was magnificent with its various artifacts and relics, the autopsy scene and the bodies on the drifting ship were good. Overall I enjoyed it but I found the constant darkness distracting and made the film difficult to watch at times, still worth a watch but these flaws stop it from becoming a classic modern horror film that it could have been.
    Deb S Super Reviewer
  • Jun 22, 2011
    5.2/10 Even if I find something of the like to have a genuine amount of respect for, I'll always be searching for a new monster movie to admire and adore. I haven't seen a good one in a while. The classics often feel dated, and most of the "new" monster movies are lacking the scares or anything else, for the matter. There are some monster films that I've liked, but not enough that I've loved. "The Relic" had no chance, with its little premise, at being one that would truly stick with me. And what do you know; it didn't stick with me. Big surprise. The strange thing about the movie is that, it's rarely good, but at the same time, it's rarely a truly revolting bore. That is, until you take a moment to realize how bland the characters are, and how lame the big twist behind the film's monster really is. Honestly, there's just not too much to like about "The Relic", other than that it makes for some decent popcorn entertainment. It's pretty close to being dumb fun, but it just misses the target. If it had a target. For the film's duration, it felt like a cheap knock-off of the much better claustrophobic monster movie/horror film, "Alien". I won't compare the two a whole lot, to save us all some time, but the mimicry is obvious. Anyways, here's the story: a mythical being is released from an artifact found near a South American tribe. However, this is not until the artifact is shipped overseas, and transported to the Museum of National History in Chicago. Now, it doesn't take long for the monster to have its first few meals, but it takes quite a while for us to actually get a glimpse at it. This I admired, for the filmmakers seemed to know some of the essentially monster movie rules, and obscurity is one of them. The monster lingers in the shadows, simply hunting its prey. This is what most good movie monsters do; the ancient beast let loose in the museum in this film is no exception. There are characters who I have not named, because I don't feel that they are important to what this film sets out to do; nor did I really give a damn about any of them. "The Relic" is too straight forward in its ambitions to truly impress me; and too decent to truly disgust. The creature effects are surprisingly impressive, compared to my initial expectations. I kind of expected the thing to look like...well; I don't quite know what I expected. However, I can tell you that I expected something much worse than the monster that I got. It's nothing memorable, it's not really scary looking, and it's not terrifically inspired, but I liked how it didn't feel incredibly dumb. Or at least, not as dumb as the actual movie. It's easy to imagine that there is an audience for "The Relic". Some people like it, some may even love it. It's competent entertainment. It is decently filmed, decently directed, decently acted, and preposterously plotted. If you're in the mood for cheese and blood, then you've got exactly that sort of combination, and it works better than it should. But that doesn't mean it works, per se, overall. I have absolutely no issue with "The Relic" or people liking it, but it lacks the kind of zest that makes the few good movies within this genre so good.
    Ryan M Super Reviewer

The Relic Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

News & Features