A Movie Review on Remains (2011)
I don't know why but for some odd reason I thought this might have had a chance at being a pretty decent movie. Maybe it's because Steve Niles, the creator of 30 Days of Night and Criminal Macabre, has his named attached to this movie, or because I have a soft spot for zombie films. Either way I had some hope for it, that it would at least be decent. Well, I feel sad to inform those who might have had the same hope for this film that Remains is a pretty terrible movie. It's not the worst attempt at a zombie film, but its far from anything that could be considered "good".
The movie follows a group of survivors after an accident turns the population into flesh eating zombies. The survivors hole up inside of a casino in Las Vegas while the dead roam the streets outside killing off any survivors. When a military convoy arrives and joins the group inside the casino things take a turn for the worst as tensions rise and the zombies become more threatening. When a giant horde makes it's way to casino the group must find a way a way out of there before they all become lunch.
We'll start with the good first. The story isn't half bad, but in the hands of the right director this could have been much better. It's similar to many other zombie films in how it throws a group of survivors in the middle of the zombie apocalypse, hiding out inside of a building until the place begins to get overrun and they must escape. Even though this is the case in many of your typical zombie films, it works. I also liked how these zombies are not mindless walkers like so many other films portray them as, but retain a lot of human aspects to them. They eat, sleep, go to the bathroom, and even retain some of their intelligence and memory. As the movie progresses the zombies seem to get stronger, and smarter. While I don't think this is greatest portrayal of zombies I've seen on screen, it offers the viewers something slightly more original. The ending to the movie also isn't too bad, and wraps up the film quite well.
Now on to what doesn't work for the movie. This is one boring zombie film. There are plenty of scenes of zombie action, but most of it never feels exciting. It's all very typical and mundane. You're never once worried about the survival of the group, or worried about the threat of the zombies. There are some scenes that tease excitement, but come crashing to a halt with scenes of stupidity and a lack of skill. The movie is chock full of stupid moments. There is one scene in particular that sticks out. Two of the characters are trying to escape through the parking garage, and use small car to try to ram through the gate. Well their attempt fails, so the girl attempts to override the machine so get the gate up, but the guy in all his wisdom thinks shooting it with a shotgun will help. After he shoots and destroys it the girl asks him why to which he responds "I don't know". Seriously? Up until this point I was surprisingly enjoying the scene in the garage, but this threw all that out the window. Pure stupidity. How the filmmakers could even think it was a good idea to throw this into the movie shows how inept they are. There are so many other ways around that situation. There are plenty of other stupid moments including one where one of the characters hears a noise so instead of keeping his shotgun with him he places it down and then goes to see what the noise was. It'll leave you scratching your heads.
I understand that this is a low budget film, but the visual effects and zombie make up is quite terrible. I never appears well done or scary, but looks like an amateur Halloween costume. While the acting is not the worst that I've seen, its obvious that the potential is there, they just don't seem to be trying at points. I feel that this again falls on the shoulders of the director, who could have shown the actors a bit more direction during their scenes. The same goes for the acting with the zombies. Things could have been so much better with their movement and how they acted if the man behind the movie showed a bit more direction.
Overall this is a terrible movie that I wouldn't dare recommend to anyone else. I'm surprised I was even able to make it through the entire movie. In the hands of a different, and better director this movie could have been so much more. The movie we are given is a waste of what could have been something decent. It's riddled with bad acting, scenes of pure stupidity, terrible zombie effects and makeup, and worst of all it's boring. I don't understand why Steve Niles allowed his name to remain attached to this movie.
Directed by Colin Theys
Starring Miko Hughes, Lance Reddick, Grant Bowler, Tawney Cypress, Evalena Marie, Anthony Marks, and Bobby Rice.
Rated UR. Runtime: 88 Minutes