Drive-In Dive In: The Remains

Posted: August 5, 2016 in Drive In, Horror, Reviews
Tags: , , ,

MV5BMjA4MDA4NzAzN15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwOTQ3MTA1OTE@._V1_SX1777_CR0,0,1777,740_AL_Horror is a forgiving genre. Fans do not expect perfection; they generally do not nitpick to excess. They are adept at overlooking minor flaws such as bad acting, lack of logic, and narratives that take a sudden 90-degree turn at the end out of sheer desperation. All they ask is is to keep the pace up, keep the scares coming, and when in doubt, at least keep it weird. The one filmmaking error that cannot be forgiven in horror is when the movie is just flat-out boring.

And while this review will, of necessity, go on for another 300 words or so, that is all you need to know about The Remains. The film is crashingly dull – crashingly used purposely in this case, because a loud off-camera crash is repeatedly used to indicate that something spooky like a bookcase falling over JUST HAPPENED IN AN ADJACENT, EMPTY ROOM! OH, GOD, THE HUMANITY. Um, yeah. If this little number is playing in the nightcap slot at the local drive-in, chuck the old metal speaker out the car window, put your vehicle in drive and get to the exit before the line starts to back up.

What we have here is the old haunted house story that begins with a prologue set in 1881 (coincidentally, the same year that this screenplay became a cliche). Missing kid, grieving parents, spiritualist with a mute photographer assistant, dogs and cats living together – you’ve seen it before. Apparently, there’s a misunderstanding, harsh words are exchanged, and a throat is slit. Fast forward 135 years or so, and the story somehow becomes even more cliched, when a family consisting of dad and three kids, mourning the recent loss of mom, move into that very house.

It’s difficult, but not impossible to breathe fresh life into the haunted house story. Season one of American Horror Story is perhaps the best recent example. The New Zealand horror/comedy Housebound (2014) also delivered. The Remains, on the other hand, is neither scary, nor strange, nor interesting, nor intentionally funny, although Dad aka John (Todd Lowe) has some line readings about his wife passing that are hilarious. In his maiden feature film effort, director/screenwriter Thomas Della Bella shows some technical adeptness, but he let himself down badly with the script.

The best thing The Remains has going for it is the performance of Hannah Nordberg as the middle daughter, Victoria. Nordberg is something of a revelation as a bit of a brat who becomes overly attached to a doll found in the attic. Unfortunately, Nordberg, like the giant dollhouse in the upstairs hallway of the house, is underused. She may have been enough to carry the movie if little Victoria went full Linda Blair, but instead of her head spinning around and priests flying out the window, we wind up with her kicking her Dad’s ass with an obviously fake two by four.

You’re likely to feel like you were on the receiving end by the time the credits roll on The Remains.

  1. GoodMovies says:

    This movie is absolutely horrible. I suggest that whoever produced this film go back to kindergarten…

  2. kim croce says:

    I’ll never get that hour and a half back,wtf so bad I felt embarrassed,this is utter rubbish and the acting wtf.I mean wtf,hell no wtf……..

  3. kim croce says:

    This film is atrocious it would be better if a five year old had written it I am gobsmacked no really!!!

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