Many moons ago, Brian Avenet-Bradley contacted us here at Rogue Cinema to review his film Dark Remains… then he vanished into thing air, like a ninja. (Or, to keep with the theme of his film, like a ghost!) Then Brian suddenly dropped me an e-mail several weeks ago to let me know that the film had been shipped. Days later, I had in my hands a brand new copy of Brian’s film and I was the envy of all my friends. (Well maybe not all of them… or any of them….) In any case, I have just sat down and watched this flick and it has scared the bejesus out of me, which is quite a task to accomplish. (Especially since I consider myself to be a jaded horror movie buff.) Though Dark Remains doesn’t bring anything new to the table, it does manage to hit all the right notes and creates a creepy atmosphere! To put it simply (and bluntly) this is a well-made horror flick!
As the film opens, we meet the two main characters, Allen and Julie. After putting their daughter to bed for the night, the weary couple head off to bed, but late in the night, Julie suddenly awakens. She checks the front door and notices that it’s slightly ajar, so she shuts the door and locks it. After slurping down a glass of water, she checks on Emma, and discovers that her daughter has been brutally murdered! To cope with this severe loss, the depressed couple head to a remote cabin to try and work things out and forget their sorrows. But they are not alone… The cabin they’re staying in has a history of violence and death, and soon frightening apparitions are popping up all over the place! (Yikes! I’m getting goose bumps just typing about this! Curse you Brian Avenet-Bradley!) Eventually the atmosphere of the place starts taking over Julie and she starts snapping photos all over the house and at a nearby abandoned prison.
She begins to get sleepier every day and becomes downright irritable towards Allen. Noticing that something is not right, Allen does a little digging and discovers that the cabin and surrounding area may or may not have a curse on it. Various people died at the cabin (and in the prison) at nearly the same date (March 22nd) over the course of several decades! And wouldn’t you know it, it’s just about that time again! Allen rushes home to get Julie out of the house and that’s when things completely go hell. At this point, the movie reaches its climax at the abandoned prison where Allen discovers the reason for the current supernatural turbulence and manages to help save the day and break the "curse." However, his victory is bittersweet and Allen finds himself alone, yet not alone at the cabin as the film ends. (Was that too cryptic for you to understand? Good! That means you’ll have to see this movie to get what I’m saying!)
Dark Remains is by far the scariest film I’ve seen in quite some time. Even now as I continue to write about it, I get shivers down my spine along with a healthy dose of goose bumps all over my body. This movie has truly awakened a deep-seated (perhaps primordial) fear within me and I just can’t shake it off! I even fancied that I saw something following me downstairs out of the corner of my eye moments ago! Maybe it was a spirit, but more likely it was my imagination… I hope. (Once again, curse you Brian!) This film features an excellent cast, a compelling and mysterious storyline, and some extremely good makeup and special effects. In nearly every scene at the cabin, you get the feeling that something is watching Julie and Allen and every now and then you see something move, or see a door open by itself, or see something that’s just plain unsettling. I guarantee that you’ll be on the edge of your seat in anticipation, just waiting for something to leap out of the darkness!
The only disappointing aspect of the film (in my opinion) was that we never learn who killed poor Emma or why. I thought that by the time I reached the film’s finale, Emma’s killer would be revealed and maybe experience a little supernatural vengeance for his heinous deed. Sadly, Emma’s killer remains unknown and unpunished, but at least her spirit is at peace now that she passed on a special message to her folks. This movie is just plain fantastic and I especially recommend it to hardened horror fans who think that no one makes frightening movies anymore. Rent or buy this flick, turn off the lights, crank up the surround sound, and rediscover why you fear the unknown! Dark Remains is currently available on DVD from Monarch Video. The movie boasts a clean widescreen transfer (enhanced for 16:9 TVs) plus 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround Sound (that is put to very good use throughout the movie). The disc is also filled with a variety of awesome extras including an audio commentary, the original theatrical trailer, a behind-the-scenes featurette, deleted scenes, and a nifty documentary called Big Red: The Ghost of Floyd County Prison.
Just to clarify, the prison scenes in Dark Remains were filmed in Floyd County Prison in Rome, Georgia. Apparently the prison its very own ghost which was nicknamed "Big Red" by the guards and Warden that used to work there! Definitely watch the documentary (either before or after the film) to help heighten that feeling of unease as the plot for Dark Remains unfolds. For more information about this incredible film, visit the official website at www.darkremains.com!