It’s a normal to party cloudly life in suburbia for Julie (Christian) and her hubby, Allen (Thompson), until Julie finds their daughter slaughtered in her sleep. The couple gets away from the scene and prying eyes of the detectives, to a remote cabin in the woods. Allen wants them to recover from the shock, but Julie can’t get past the sight of her daughter.
Soon, Julie’s walks to clear her head lead her to the abandoned prison nearby, and some very interesting sight-seeing photos. Allen remains focused on his work and his own concerns while Julie begins to discover there’s more to the cabin and woods then first glance reveals.
Julie continues to take pictures, while Allen remains focused on protecting her. The pictures progressively reveal more about their daughter, Emma, and the mysterious people haunting the area. When their friends, Steve and Gail, come by, it’s time for the flick to kick things up to the next level. Soon, the couple has to fight through their own concerns to unlock the local secrets, or become the latest victims.
The film makes good use of a lot of red herrings; build-ups featuring tense string section notes and creeping camera shots. It provides plenty of “whoa, did I just see that” type of visuals, which help to instill a creepiness very early on. As with every movie since 1960, the words “I’m going to take a shower” mean something frightening is about to occur.
The make-up effects create an excellent and consistent set of hauntings. Each is similar enough in their presentation and exposure, yet different depending on the method of death. In all, the ghosts make an interesting antagonist as the story progresses.
Dark Remains boasts a promising opening, with not one but two suicides before the credits. Obviously, these aren’t the lead characters, or the film would be 22 seconds long.
Christian maneuvers Julie easily from inwardly depressed to outwardly angry. Thompson is along for the ride as Allen, who simply can’t win, regardless of what he tries to accomplish. I was reminded of a Tim Easton lyric from the song, “Are You Happy Now?” where he sings “he’s been downshifting uphill and still losing power”. Patrick Keenan, who plays Booth, looks like Monty Python’s Michael Palin if he stole Johnny Cash’s haircut. Patricia French makes the most of her every frame as the town’s librarian.
Mark Lee Fletcher earns extra credit for the effective original score in addition to the effect sound effects.
The film, released by Monarch in December 2006, won the Best Horror Feature Film at 2005's L.A.’s Shriekfest.
Extras include a Director’s commentary track, Behind-The-Scenes footage of pre-production, shooting and post-production, and a trailer. There are also Deleted Scenes (mostly just longer cuts of scenes which remained in the film) and a 14 minute piece on Big Red, the ghost of Floyd County Prison, where the film was shot.