Director: Colin Theys
Remains is based on the Steve Niles (of 30 Days of Night fame) graphic novel although in truth it appears that Niles had very little to do with this SyFy straight-to-tv quality film.
Set in Reno, Nevada during the ‘Peace Day’ celebrations, whatever the hell that is, we witness a peace day machine go haywire and turn all unlucky residents into zombies thanks to the radiation blast (so far so-Night of the Comet) with our initial heroes emerging out of a steel storage room in a grotty little casino to find that gambling isn’t the only thing to lose your life to.
Following a generic and bland plot, it has the feel of Dead Rising Case Zero combined with the traditional NOTLD siege action but not the quality to make anything of the atmosphere. It takes over an hour for any real feelings to come from watching this film as the characters lack any real substance in the beginning and you even forget their names (some feat when there are just four of them) although to be fair the writing, much like the zombies strength and ability, does improve as the film goes on and by the end you are wishing that it continues but more like a TV series rather than one long plot.
Which brings me to my next point, despite the lacklustre character and generic plot you can tell that this is based on a comic book series as it flows like it has four linear and sequential mini-plots without a strong over-riding story arc. This is both engaging and infuriating as it restrains the film and leaves the ideas sometimes underdeveloped, particularly when Lance Reddick (The Wire, Oz) and his army goons turn up for a brief period and should have had more story time.
Thankfully however, the zombie action is good as we are treated to numerous scenes of gore and action making the sometimes plodding plot worthwhile. Although the zombie behaviour is unique as not only do they almost evolve becoming stronger and perhaps faster (these zombies can sprint if they choose to) but they are bound by biological rules such as the need to piss, they can drown (although I have no idea why they need oxygen) and despite being dead they require sleep, leading to some Silent Hill movie-esque scenes. Oh and they also, sporadically cannibalise, eating other zombies. I still cannot work out if this is a boost for realism or just preposterous writing, perhaps it is both.
One thing that does however, are the green screen Fx, if you don’t have the budget simply don’t do it – many lower budget films survive and sadly a couple of scenes really drag down the production value of this film .
Overall this is a generic straight to TV fodder which despite taking six or seven years to develop from the graphic novel still feels rushed and under-produced is still worth watching as it does reward the viewer with some genuine scenes of fun (ramsterball style from Dead Rising 2) and action.