When a movie that came out in 2004 has alternate titles, you know there’s a problem. This is way past the drive-in days when a movie would do the circuit for years under different names, and there’s no good reason for the re-titling. Although Evil Remains (that’s the title I have it under) has issues, it wasn’t as bad as I normally expect a low-budget horror movie from the Oughties to be.
In the prologue, Louisiana lad Carl Bryce kills his parents horribly in their rural home. Since we’re watching a horror movie, naturally we cut to twenty years later. Now, Mark, an arrogant college student, is interviewing Carl’s shrink, Dr. Rosen, about the supposed curse on the house and land. The doc cautions Mark not to go there, but he goes anyway (got to write that paper for Advanced Death Curses 401, apparently) and brings all his roommates along for the inevitable carnage. There are two lesbians, a “funny” guy who is there to die first, and a guy who Mark has some unexplained and mysterious past conflict with.
What happens is super creepy at times, especially for such a low budget offering. Secret tunnels and an attic are put to good suspenseful use, along with animal traps, and we never get a very good look at the supposed killer, which is a good thing because once you do they usually cease to be scary. The curse makes the trespassers go insane before either they kill each other, or a man in a dog mask kills them. Unless he is a ghost in a dog mask. In the end, we see Dr. Rosen another few years in the future talking to another idiot who is going to go to the house, and there’s an implication that the doctor has something to do with the curse. However, if it was meant to be a twist ending, it failed, because in order to say “gotcha!” we need to know with what we have gotten got. Did they all go nuts? Did one of them only go nuts? Were there hallucinations?
See, we’re never sure what is going on, in a way that goes beyond ambiguity into lazy screenwriting or bad editing. You’re always walking a fine line when you leave loose ends, because there might just be enough of them to hang your movie. I enjoyed Evil Remains, but I can’t recommend it unless you are, like me, one of those people who will watch any WTF supernatural horror movie. In that case, have at it.
Have you ever noticed that in every movie there is one character whose death you are eagerly awaiting because they are so annoying? In this movie it was one of the lesbian chicks. She had this weird wig on that looked like fake dreads made of twine, and she seemed to serve no purpose other than “ooh lipstick lesbians” and to be weak and whiny. Do you think filmmakers put these characters in on purpose to make you anticipate their horrible deaths, or am I just bitchy?
With Evil Remains I have started a new horror eight pack, called “8 Nights of Fright” and put out by Screen Media Films and GT Media. The movies are all produced much more recently than most of what I post about here, but if this one is any indication, this should be fun. I’m not sure if I’m going to rank them like I did with the Lionsgate pack, though. Do you think I should?