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Dark Remains

Directed by Brian Avenet-Bradley

Written by Brian Avenet-Bradley

Starring Cheri Christian, Greg Thompson, Scott Hodges, Jeff Lyons

Produced by Laurence Avenet-Bradley

Not Rated

93 minutes

****

Okay, I’m gonna sound like a fanboy one of these days. Because the more and more I see roll out of Avenet Images that has to do with Brian Avenet-Bradley, the more I wind up squealing and clapping my hands like one of those Wolverine fanboys who only crawl out of their parents’ basements for cons and New Comic Day.

This is just the case with “Dark Remains,” the latest from Avenet and probably the best thing they’ve done yet.

Now, most of you were here last week when I did “Cold Blood” and said THAT was the best thing Avenet ever did and now you get to see me retract it feeling like a right bloody imbecile because I didn’t wait a damn week to blow my hyperbole wad.

When you start off a movie with a pair of suicides in the first two minutes, you know you’re in for a wild ride.

But anyway, “Dark Remains” serves up a vicious little story. A young couple’s, Allen and Julie’s, daughter is murdered in a surprising discovery late one night, and in their grief they move to a cabin in the woods.

Would YOU want to stay in the same house where your daughter was killed mere weeks ago? Not hardly, says I.

But of course, when you move to a cabin in the woods in a horror movie, you can pretty much forget about a restful experience. Especially when this cabin is within walking distance of a graveyard and an abandoned prison camp.

I’ve made trenchant points before about real estate and horror movies…this is the perfect underliner. How do you rent out the house that makes the Amityville property look like Trump Plaza? In this case, you don’t tell anybody.

From there, of course, Allen and Julie begin to find out more about the area, its bloody history, and how it relates to their recently deceased daughter.

Now, let me make something perfectly clear. Calling “Dark Remains” the best thing Avenet has ever released is not mere hyperbole. This little fella is going to redefine your standard of creepy by virtue of the fact that something creepy will happen between every five and ten minutes.

It’s like clockwork. I counted creepy scenes at four minutes ten seconds, eight minutes ten seconds, nine minutes twenty one seconds, fifteen minutes thirty seconds, twenty minutes nineteen seconds, thirty minutes twenty eight seconds, thirty nine minutes twenty five seconds and forty eight minutes twenty eight seconds.

And that’s just where I stopped counting.

Here’s the killer part. Avenet can’t even use the standard array of horror clichés without making them vehicles for creepy delivery. There’s a shower scene. There’s a scene where the grieving mother blows lots of time on watching home movies of her now-dead daughter. There’s a cemetery. There’s an abandoned prison. But Avenet manages to take every scene that would have so much as a grain of cliché in it and turn it into this thoroughly cringeworthy affair. He’s got stuff coming out of nowhere at every opportunity.

If you’re not scared by the one hour mark, then you’re either way too jaded or just plain superhuman.

Avenet has a gift for building tension in the simplest things, and he’s supported by the work of a fantastic cast. Christian, Thompson, Hodges, and Evans, et al, are just spectacular. There isn’t a bum performance in the lot. Makeup effects are blatantly jaw-dropping, and I only wish there were more I could say about this thoroughly satisfying and thoroughly scary masterwork.

Hell, go get a thesaurus and insert your favorite synonym for good right here:

Go ahead. It’ll work.

The ending, in no uncertain terms, takes the creepy cake. If I elaborate on this any further I WILL destroy the plot, so I’m sticking to my original statement.

The special features will include a trailer, audio options, display options and probably plenty more once a distributor gets hold of it.

All in all, unbelievable. “Dark Remains” is a suspense film the like of which hasn’t been released in a long time. Direct to video suspense is relatively rare in the industry, but if “Dark Remains” is the calibre it can issue forth, then I and my DVD player eagerly await the next round.

Steve Anderson is a film critic who collects action figures so he can dress them up as his favorite horror villains. He lives somewhere in the United States.


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