They Remain (2018)

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They Remain (2018) Poster

Two scientists who share a romantic history are tasked with investigating unnatural animal behaviour on the site of a Manson Family-style cult's compound.


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8 October 2017 | gavin6942
5
| Perhaps Too Minimalist?
Two scientists who share a romantic history are tasked with investigating unnatural animal behavior on the site of a Manson Family-style cult's compound.

Laird Barron is the author of several books, including "The Croning", "The Imago Sequence", "Occultation", "The Light Is the Darkness", and "The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All". Despite this impressive list of titles, "They Remain" is the first film to be adapted from Barron's work.

In horror, there is something known as the "slow burn", a film that relies more on building a sense of tension and tone rather than a fast-paced scary, in-your-face gorefest. "They Remain" is definitely going for the slow burn method, though some might doubt whether it has been achieved. The film can fairly be described as "minimalist", and as such viewers may find there is very little actually burning. Does the thin plot pay off in the end?

Because of its screening at a Lovecraft film festival, it seems appropriate to discuss any themes that might be Lovecraftian. And indeed, the idea of there being a connection between geography and madness is very much a Lovecraft-inspired topic. In fact, this may be the most interesting part of the film: is the cult a one-off, or is there something otherworldly that causes such behavior time and time again? And if the latter, what is the cause? Lovecraft dabbled with the ideas of non-Euclidean geometry affecting areas (architecture) and radioactive meteors altering moods. But what does "They Remain" offer?

For the horror fans, there will likely be some disappointment with the average makeup effects, particularly the burn wounds in one scene. In other technical areas, the film excels. The framing, cinematography, score and so on are all top-notch. The acting is excellent, and the two leads successfully take a thin plot and carry the run time's weight.

"They Remain" debuted October 7 at the H. P Lovecraft Film Festival. It should be reaching a wider audience in the near future, presumably by late Fall 2017 via Paladin Films.

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