Julie Pyke (Cheri Christian) and her husband, Allen (Greg Thompson), escape to a small mountain town to mourn their daughter’s grisly murder. With support from Allen, Julie turns to photography as a distraction from grief, but hobby soon turns to horror as Julie’s developed images reveal ghostly figures walking about an abandoned prison. What deadly secret is held by the strange specters appearing in Julie’s photographs?
Dark Remains stands as one of the scariest films of 2006!
Are you excited yet? – you should be!
Now I know what your thinking?. That’s a quite a statement to stand behind. Well Dark Remains is quite a film. If your like me, you shop the aisles looking for a new rental or 2. In the process you evaluate a few covers, what the backside says and who’s directing it. Dark remains was one of those days for me. I had heard good things, it had a few quotes that liked it and I was looking for something new.
Now on to the story. A couple mourning their daughter’s murder find recluse in a small mountain town. Julie while focusing of photography to fill her time begins to notice apparitions in her pictures. A fascination with a nearby abandoned prison starts to drum up even more specters as the undead torment the couple.
So I went home and threw this bad boy in. It didn’t take long for it to put a smile on my face. What I mean by that is, the scares were dead on and the filmmakers sense of misdirection was perfect. It takes alot to startle me. I was startled about 11-13 times (forget the count). That for me is a good day at the movies!
The actors were unfamiliar to me, but it is a low budget independent, so that’s usually a given with limited funds. However, I enjoyed the acting quite well, so no points loss there. Nice job from Cheri Christian and Greg Thompson.
Now what is it that makes this film special? Well for starters, Brian and his DP (don’t forget the camera talent) Laurnece Avenet Bradley obviously did there home work. Yes, you could say that there was Asian influences, but all that means is that Asians know how to misdirect on camera. Guess what? Now add the Avenet-Bradley team to that list as well. The misdirection had ghosts popping into view, shower ghouls and various undead appearing into places you weren’t expecting.
Working on films myself, I know a camera gag won’t work without the impact sounds and score to back it up. It’s like a marriage of senses that have to be in unison. Dark Remains scores big points on that aspect. The sound and score easily measured up to any major horror release on the market (in many cases, more-so) So kudos goes to composer Benedikt Brydern and sound FX designer Mark Fletcher for providing the right mix of ambience and fear punches.
Now what I found interesting was the fact that in most ghost films, you usually take the idea of ghost FX and ramp them up with transparencies and flickering goodness. Dark Remains went for more traditional approaches favoring clever camera work, practical Fx and ghost actor choreography to make it all work. And it does (note to Hollywood) – Not that I would have minded the cgi add-ons, but in this case the strength goes to the rapid cut edits. I even found myself doing an occasional rewind to look at what I just saw. These ghosts are quick and violent, and just what the doctor ordered. Now if the US version of “Shutter” only would have studied this release, they “might” of had a good film…but that’s for another review. Regardless, they would of benefited by hiring Brian Avenet-Bradley instead to direct in my opinion.
In my book, Dark Remains is a winner. If your seeking chills then this film will provide the creepy experience your looking for. Don’t see it in the dark, I warned you!
Dark Remains (2005)