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An Original J-Horror Rip Off Instead of a Remake: Dark Remains (2005) Review

Dark Remains is a movie I bought blindly a couple of years ago back when I was buying any cheap horror movie I could find without knowing anything about it.

After learning my lesson there, I generally at least look for quotes from reputable horror tes on the box before I blind buy.

That was the reason I picked up Dark Remains from 2005.

It had all the right quotes on there: longer an active te), Dreadcentral and more.

Finally, I got around to watching it the other day.

I’m in the process of clearing out a ton of shitty movies in my collection.

Movies that were picked up in sets.

For example, I did a 10 movies for $10 a few weeks ago.

I got 3 good movies and the rest were garbage.

But at a $1 each, how can you go wrong?

After getting about 15 minutes into 3 different movies and realizing I was NEVER going to watch past the first 15 minutes of these pieces of shit, I popped in Dark Remains and didn’t have much hope as I was already in a pretty sour mood.

First strike against this one was it looked like a TV movie or even a crappy tcom from the 80's.

Not sure if it was shot on video or just bad lighting or what but it looked like shit.

I have no problem with low budget stuff or anything but with the mood I was in, I wasn’t fucking happy.

Another annoyance?

It was so blatant with it’s “heart on it’s sleeve” blowjob bow down to the J-Horror trend that was taking Hollywood by storm in the mid-00's that I wanted to instantly, and literally, shit on the disk. At least three times in the first 30 minutes I wanted to shut it off.

I’ll admit, I’m glad I didn’t

The bac set up is mple.

A young couple has their daughter attacked and murdered in their own home one night.

Apparently, the front door was left open and someone must have got in. Seems like the wife/mother wants to blame the father for not clong the door.

There’s no proof either way what happened.

Dealing with the trauma and depreson following this horrific incident, the couple decided to retreat to a house in the woods just to get away from the city and the reminder of their dead little girl.

This was actually the same set up as Lars Von Trier’s excellent Antichrist (2009).

Just the set up, not how the film progressed.

So it’s a mix of Antichrist and Ju-On on a lousy budget.

Could do worse for a mix though.

Now, I like the J-Horror of the 90's early 00's but it’s grown quite stale to me now.

I blame this squarely on the American J-Horror remake boom in the mid to late 00's.

Movies like Shutter (2008), One Missed Call (2008), and countless others were very less films than their predecessors and frankly, killed the J-Horror craze for me and probably everyone else.

Now when I see a movie with a weird ghost making strange noises or a weird creature walking like a extra twisted pretzel, I instantly yawn and move on to something else.

J-Horror from that period resuscitated horror movies in America after the dreadful 90's but the style got over used very quickly.

Anyway, once the couple lands in the house Julie, the mother, starts seeing things.

Flashes of objects walking by first but then figures.

She’s a photographer by trade and as she starts developing pictures she’s taken, she sees images of her dead daughter.

When she shows these to her husband, he fails to see them.

These pictures and Julie’s own dere to find out what really happened to her daughter start playing on her mental stability.

Allen, her husband, doesn’t believe her at first.

(Is it just me or does Allen look an awful lot like Joel McHale from Community and The Soup?

So much so I had to look it up. It wasn’t him)

He hasn’t experienced anything supernatural but wants to get to the bottom of his wife’s behavior as nothing good is coming and he feels it.

After some digging around, Allen finds out that the couple that lived there before them killed themselves.

The man that lived before that couple also killed himself. Pretty fucking obvious that’s a shitty place.

Personally, I would have left but ya know, my obvious actions would lead to a short movie.

But I digress.

Allen does a scan of the past, local newspapers in the library (the library contained the most stereotypical librarian I’ve ever seen.

You know that type.

Up tight with an uncomfortable looking gray suit that looks like it’s made of burlap.

All she was misng was moles.)

and they showed that many people died around the property, not just owners/renters.

Julie continues to take pictures in random places like an abandoned prison and sees more and more images.

I have a problem here.

Obviously they shot in a real prison but it was supposed to be abandoned years ago.

Problem is, the place looks fucking spotless.

And there’s zero security.

Julie comes and goes as she pleases and so do other characters.

I doubt it would be that open, cells and all.

I’m sure kids would end up playing there and some little fucker would get locked in or lock someone else in.

The whole prison thing made zero sense.

Also near the end, Julie took a picture of the rubber room in the prison.

She gets attacked by the local weirdo that saw his mother die at a young age there and she runs back to tell Allen.

He does a quick scan outde and comes back yelling at Julie and wants to see her pictures.

The picture she took maybe 10 minutes before of the rubber room is there.

How the fuck did that happen?

She didn’t develop it that quick.

It was imposble as she didn’t even go into the fucking dark room.

Explanation? Shitty attention to detail by the film makers.

I hate that shit.

If you are already making a small budget movie, pay attention so you don’t need to look any more amateur that you did before please.

So the movie is getting to me a bit here near the end.

Still interested as the scares and effects are top notch but the acting and attention to detail are shit.

I’m so on the fence here but nce time left is little, I solider on.

I won’t spoil this one but the ending ,while adequate, was a little convoluted and a let down.

It could have been so much more.

Wrap Up:

As I said, if you dig the J-horror stuff then do check this one out.

It’s better than almost all the American remakes minus The Ring and The Grudge.

Both of which I think are good but still not better than the originals.

At first it looks a bit cheap, and it is, but the effects and scares are pretty top notch.

There’s one scene of a girl in a hallway and it was so reminiscent of that horrific scene in The Exorcist 3.

You know the one I mean.

The one that whenever anyone sees it for the first time, they pretty much shit their pants.

It was a total nod to that scene.

Direction: 6/10 - looks cheap as hell but the overall effects and tone make up for lack of film making skill.

Not much with innovative camera work or anything so I don’t expect much from Brian Avenet-Bradley unless he takes some more film school courses.

Script: 3/10 - Nothing original at all.

So J-horror it hurt but the scares were there and the story while bac, was effective enough to keep me watching.

The first and last acts left me wanting something better but it was all adequate.

Effects: 7/10 - Great job on whoever did the effects.

Very creepy.

Performances: 3/10 - Everyone was pretty wooden and awful.

Another reason I almost shut this off a few times.

Lead Cheri Christian did a passable job as the grieving mother.

Pacing: 5/10 - Could have been tighter.

It drags a lot in the start but picks up in the last half even if the last bit is a bit...meh.

Overall 4.8 /10 - Nothing great or original but it’s something to watch if there’s nothing else on.

Probably a good one to watch with someone who gets ealy scared by movies.

Those people always make for a good viewing experience.

Alternate artworK:

Asmodeus Thursday 11/01/2012 at 03:10 PM | 97566
Several years ago, before Netflix Instant streaming, I had the package that sent 3 movies to your mailbox. That's when I discovered this movie, and I must admit, I thought I was a decent little flick. Thanks for posting this article, I love to see what others thought/think about it.
Anonymous Thursday 11/01/2012 at 04:50 PM | 97570
I'm curious too.

As I said, i didn't hate it but I didn't love it either.

Mind you I was pretty affected by other crappy movies that day so I'm sure it didn't help but still, I didn't love it.

Good job by the effects department for sure but I just had an awful lot of problems with the acting and script.

If you have time, try watching it again and see what you think.
Asmodeus Thursday 11/01/2012 at 05:39 PM | 97572