Monday, January 09, 2012

Remains and Testing the Zombie Infested Waters: A Movie Review

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*here be spoilers.

Director: Colin Theys.

Writer: Steve Niles and John Doolan.

Cast: Lance Reddick, Miko Hughes, Evalena Marie, Anthony Marks and Grant Bowler.

Remains premiered on Chiller TV December 16th. Since this time, the film has been rebroadcast several times on this network. The film is based on Steve Niles' graphic novels from 2004 and the film takes place in Reno, Nevada during a zombie apocalypse. "Peace Day" turns into "Irradiation Day" when a nuclear accident spreads illness and disease globally. In the casino it is business as usual as waitresses sleep with fellow employees and those with emphysema play the slots. But, when the zombies show up to play the $%&^ hits the fan!

The story of Remains primarily follows Tom (Grant Bowler) and Tori (Evalena Marie) as they struggle to stay alive in the Silver Star casino. An underground storeroom has saved them from the nuclear blast above. Meanwhile, a small time magician has found a way to turn the power back on. Victor (Anthony Marks) joins the group after sacrificing a bystander to the growing zombie hordes. These four now bicker for the group's direction. Later, a military convoy enters the area and the four unite briefly. Then, this rogue military unit confiscates their supplies, while killing one of the survivors. Tom and Tori hide deeper in the casino until the military leaves. Cindy, the daughter of the military commander, returns to report that the convoy has been wiped out on the road to Lake Tahoe and there is now a huge zombie horde moving towards Reno. Grab the guns!

Hopefully the story does not sound too complex because a lot of the plot developments remain unexplained and this film is sheer escapism. With that aside, Tori parades up and down the casino in shorts and cowboy boots. Her make-up is always impeccable after days and days of fighting the undead. Tom is the damaged hero of the film. His alcoholism is apparent when he exchanges small arms for beer bottles. He also has a taste for the ladies. The only other character of significance is Cindy (Tawny Cypress). She comes between Tori and Tom late in the film. Her presence is also a little more welcoming compared to Tori's hostility. All three of these characters, understandably, come to blows at one time or another. There just is no teamwork to be found when under zombie attack.

Remains does not show much in the way of depth seeing as the film is based on a comic book. However, that does not mean that the movie cannot be enjoyed. As escapism, Remains is fairly watchable. Seeing Tori drive a miniature car into a metal barrier to limited success has to be seen for the hilarity therein. The only major criticism this film merits involves the hamperings of made-for-television films. They are generally rated PG-13 like the one found here. Therefore, there is no edge to the material. Where was the tension or horror? As well, the film ends inconclusively like a television series hoping to gather viewers with a cliffhanger ending. Remains should have been created as a stand alone film, instead and the film shows the limits of television productions that try to appeal to too wide a market.

Remains is a fairly average zombie film and that is understandable as Chiller TV experiments with a new production company. Future films will likely improve in the writing department and a sequel to this first film would be welcomed by this zombie fan. The film here is mildly recommended, but watch this film on a lazy Sunday or when you do not want to test the frontal lobes too much. If you expect a lot from Remains, then you might be let down by this production that leaves a lot of questions unanswered.

Overall: 6.25 (the writing was mediocre, insights into character's inner worlds are not always apparent, the disaster that leads to the zombie apocalypse is not explained).

*next showing date is January 16th.

Remains at Chiller TV:

Remains at Chiller

Another review of this film at Crave Online:

Remains Reviewed at Crave Online

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