Monday, December 31, 2007

Dark Remains (2005)

Fear 4/5
Gore 2/5
Entertainment 5/5
Creepiness 5/5
Nightmares 4/5

Holy heebie jeebies. If you can scare me successfully during the day with a good ghost story, I think you have made a great success (spoken in Borat voice). Just look at the creepy DVD cover that stared back at me at my local Blockbuster.

Dark Remains starts off startlingly enough with a woman who has come home late from work. She kisses her already sleeping daughter goodnight and slips into her bed next her husband who is also counting sheep. A noise awakens her in the middle of the night, she searches the house, unable to discover the cause of the rattling. She checks in on her sleeping daughter, only to find in sheer horror, that she has been brutally dismembered. The cops are unable to find any forced entry and without any clues or leads, the couple takes off for a weekend in the woods, far away from the city that is now all a buzz with the story of a family who have lost their daughter in such a bizarre fashion.

The mother, already in so much pain from her grieving, begins to sense that something in the house that they are renting is watching them. Things go 'bump' in the night, and she begins to wonder if she is losing her sanity. The husband, trying to keep things straight himself, encourages her to take up her old hobby of snapping photos. To pass the time, she takes her husbands advice, taking various pictures of the wilderness around her. One day, she happens upon an abandoned prison. Intrigued, she begins to snap away in the dingy old confinement and she becomes obssessed with coming back, day and night. As she begins to develop her film, she begins to see images within them that are only appearing to her, of spirits that dwell within the prison and in the home.

As stated, if a film can really get to me in the brightness of day (I'm a little silly and mostly like to get into the 'mood' and watch my horror films at night), I'll say its definitely an achievement. Forgoing CGI effects or stereotypical 'jumpy' scares (the hallmark of more recent ghost films), Dark Remains uses real actors with little to no makeup. The scares are not predictible and they got me pretty rattled on more than one occasion.

So why are these ghosts haunting this couple? Does the husband carry a dark secret? Or is it something bubbling much deeper under the surface of the dark and eery town that contains an interesting cast of characters?

Solid ghost story with a twist, coupled with some genuine scares and you got yourself a pleasant surprise of a film. Highly recommended.

Cortez the Killer

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