THE REMAINS (dir. Thomas Della Bella) is a cautionary tale warning us: If the house is too good to be true, it’s probably super haunted, and its ghostly inhabitants are going to try to kill you. Unfortunately, the family we’re following isn’t aware of this little rule, and ends up with a haunted house on their hands, and spirits messing with their heads.
Having just lost his wife, John (Todd Lowe) brings his family to Asuza, California for a fresh start. They find a nice, albeit creepy, Victorian home, and are immediately persuaded into moving in. His children Victoria (Hannah Nordberg), Aiden (Dash Williams), and his eldest teenaged daughter, Izzy (Brooke Butler) are understandably having some trouble adjusting to the new life. All of this gets even worse when the younger kids find a chest in the attic, complete with a creepy doll. As the spirits try to destroy them all, John desperately searches to find out exactly what happened in the house he bought, before he succumbs to the creeps himself.
Thomas Della Bella shows off some distinct imagery in his directorial debut, from color-drenched shots to creepy, foreboding dollhouse scenes. Dash Williams and Hannah Nordberg give noteworthy performances that lend well to the tension and unease, as the children are taken in by the malevolent spirits in the house.
This film is light on jump scares. Preferring to lead you on with shots that seem to be screaming, “COVER YOUR EYES, SOMETHING’S ABOUT TO JUMP OUT!”, it’s generally more about atmosphere and dread. I love this film for that reason. A lot of horror films can’t pull off the dread but this one does and it is an accomplishment for director Bella and a lesson on how to do your first film right.
THE REMAINS is currently available on most major VOD providers, so check it out if you’re craving something spooky.