Mixed or average reviews - based on 14 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 14
  2. Negative: 2 out of 14
  1. Reviewed by: Kim Newman
    Unpretentiously and likeable Peter Hyams is one of the few hacks still working at this budget level, and he relishes the chance to make an audience jump, not only with some neat monster effects and a pile of mutilated corpses but also with some subtleties of editing and lighting, plus one of the loudest jump-out-of-your-seat soundtracks in a recent memory.
  2. Yes, we've seen it all before. But The Relic proves that the hoariest cliches, when stirred together with enough money, shaken vigorously and artfully lighted, can still make the adrenaline surge.
  3. 75
    All of this is actually a lot of fun, if you like special effects and gore.
  4. Reviewed by: Emanuel Levy
    Still, this strikingly proficient production boasts genuinely scary thrills and first-rate visual and creature effects.
  5. 70
    But Peter Hyams, who's both director and director of photography, forces us to constantly strain to see what isn't there, until ultimately the screen explodes in welcome light, a cathartic finale in broad visceral terms even if the drama hasn't inspired much emotion.
  6. Hyams the director ("Sudden Death," "Timecop," "The Star Chamber") operates at too much of a fevered pitch for things not to eventually get out of hand -- accelerating violence and horror eventually hit maximum velocity and warp into nonsense, no matter how erudite the script.
  7. 58
    If you can stagger around the plot holes (how'd a Brazilian cargo ship with a dead crew get to Lake Michigan?), the last 30 minutes are pure, dumb monster-movie fun.
  8. Sizemore ("Heat") and Miller, though saddled with a lot of scientific DNA jargon, are really the only lively people in this dense, gruesome film that stubbornly refuses to break out of its contrived atmosphere.
  9. 50
    There are moments when The Relic is almost enjoyable, albeit in a visceral sort of way. Unfortunately, when all is said and done, this horror/science fiction amalgamation seems like nothing more ambitious than a bad reworking of elements from Aliens, Species, Jaws, and Predator.
  10. 50
    There's nothing much new going on here (we feel compelled to point out the resemblance to one of the worst-ever episodes of The X-Files, "Teso Los Bichos"), but it's all slickly done, with the requisite big jumps, false leads, weird science and scary trips down dark corridors.
  11. Much like the DNA-scrambled beast to which the title alludes, this film is a chimerical chop-shop product, consisting mostly of spare parts pulled from Alien, Jurassic Park, and even The Ghost and the Darkness.
  12. 50
    The monster effects, as designed by Stan Winston, are stunners, but after Twister, it should be obvious that it's not the quality of the effects that matter so much as the quality of the film in which they appear.
  13. It took four people to write the screenplay for The Relic. All I can say is that I hope these people have not quit their day jobs.
  14. Reviewed by: Richard Harrington
    As written by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, The Relic deserved to be taken off the shelf; as adapted by a quartet of screenwriters and directed by Peter Hyams, it should have been left on one.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 9 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 4
  2. Negative: 0 out of 4
  1. Dec 1, 2012
    "The Relic" certainly had potential in concept, but in its overall execution, it is something of a failure. Most of the movie is very visually dark, leaving you only barely understanding what's going on, and the great creature effects are thus mostly hidden in shadow and given few opportunities to shine. The acting is okay, and in terms of suspense and attack scenes it's decent. But the poor lighting really hurts the film, and the ultimate demise of the creature is cliched and exaggerated. This movie might have been better had it focused more on the transformative nature of the creature - as is, however, it's fairly missable with only moderate entertainment value. Full Review »
  2. GregE
    Feb 16, 2008
    Yes, another monster-in-the-hallway horror movie. You saw it in 'Alien' and countless (fun) ripoffs thereof since, and here it is again, with whiz-bang CG effects, high-polish production values and Stan Winston creature design. While true that some who haven't read the book thought this movie was just "fine", those who know the book, myself included, are most assuredly disappointed by the marginalization of the nastiness, adventure and suspense, in favour of simply "showing off" the monster effects. Peter Hyams may know how to make a fun thriller, but there is ZERO scare factor here -- something the novel had oodles of... too bad, because if this film had been scary (good) enough, there could have been a sequel, like the book had. Full Review »
  3. NickB.
    Mar 2, 2006
    Not bad for another "large inherently nasty predator that eats scientists" movie. Not a perfect translation of the book....where is Penderghast, for example? But far better than I expected, and superior to recent efforts in the same genre such as "The Cave." The cinematography, clever lighting, and surprisingly robust score add to the experience of a movie that could have been very, very bad in different hands. Just forget it's based on the book and enjoy for its own merits. Full Review »