Sunday, January 7, 2007

Dark Remains (2005)

As mentioned in a previous post, Friday night I set out to watch Dark Remains, Brian Avenet-Bradley's new film. I had previously watched Ghost of the Needle, and had been blown away by the creepiness that film contained. I couldn't wait to watch his next one. Though I don't think Dark Remains surpassed the storyline or creepiness of Ghost of the Needle, it was still a well-done, scary ghost story.

Julie and her husband, Allen, retreat to an isolated cabin to mourn the loss of their young daughter, who was brutally murdered in their own home. Julie is severely depressed and Allen encourages her to take up photography again. Julie begrudgingly agrees, and finds an old prison that was shut down. She begins photographing the bleak building, but when she develops the photos Julie finds ghostly images of her child. She begins taking more and more photographs which lead to more and more ghosts showing up in the prints. Meanwhile, Allen does some research on their cabin and finds many people who have lived there committed suicide. Is their child trying to warn them to get out before it is too late? Why are the other ghosts tormenting them? What secrets lie in the cabin and the old prison?

With lots of ghosts popping up at unexpected times, this movie definitely succeeded in giving me the creeps. As usual, Avenet-Bradley definitely knows how to scare the audience with a disturbing images and a haunting score to compliment them. Yet, the flash-ghost scares (much like Japanese horror movies like Ringu or Ju-on) become overused as the film progresses and lessen its impact. Also, the last third of the movie tends to drag and the ending wasn't as powerful as I'd hoped.

The acting is pretty decent, especially from the actor playing Jim (Scott Hodges), Julie and Allen's hick neighbor that seems to know more about the ghosts than he lets on. Those familiar with Ghost of the Needle will recognize Cheri Christian (Julie) and Greg Thompson (Allen) as having been in that film as well. The story is well thought out and extremely engaging, though, as mentioned previously, it does lag a bit towards the end.

Avenet-Bradley succeeds again in crafting creepy shots, along with the help of his wife, Laurence Avenet-Bradley, who reprises her role as cinematographer. Some scenes will make you ask, did I just see that? Avenet-Bradley wisely keeps things slightly hidden or slightly out of frame to give the audience maximum jump scares.

While the film does have its problems, I would highly recommend Dark Remains as a chilling alternative to the typical hack 'n' slash movies that are so prevalent today. It is a well-crafted, engaging and scary ghost story.

Order it on Amazon!

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