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26th Sep 13
An accident at a nuclear power plant turns everyone in to zombies. A bunch of people at a casino in Reno are shielded from the blast. You can guess the rest.
So Tom is a croupier at a low rent hotel casino in Reno who has the hots for stoney faced but very sexy cocktail waitress Lori. Lori, in true slut fashion, agrees to let him fuck her if he can get some coke, so he scores and then he, err, scores. They do it, quite roughly, in a walk in fridge, and get locked in. It must be a lead lined walk in fridge as while they’re in there a freak nuclear accident sends a mushroom cloud across Reno, turning everyone not in a lead lined thing in to zombies. Eventually Jensen, a gay magician’s assistant who was putting his props away in the, um, lead lined props cupboard downstairs, lets them out (something to do with turning the power back on – was it shorted by the blast?) and they soon let in another survivor Victor from the streets, although they’re suspicious from the get go as the security cameras clearly showed him pushing another survivor in front of the zombies so he could make his escape.
With the main four survivors established, the movie then rattles through clearing out the zombies and boarding up the place (although the boarding up is not shown on screen, it must happen as at one point stroppy Lori accuses Tom of not helping with the boarding up as he was too busy drinking), before nobody can think of anything else to do, so they sit around drinking and smoking. This is where one-dimensional backstories dribble out – Lori has none, Jensen’s boyfriend is a soldier at a nearby army base, Tom is a total alcoholic that killed his wife and child in a car crash, and so on. Then the army guys turn up, there’s a bit of double crossing, some characters buy it, others let the zombies in, the soldiers run away and before you know it we’re back to Tom and Lori. Until Cindy, daughter of the soldiers’ leader turns up claiming they were overrun by stronger zombies, and the end of the film beckons.
Remains adds absolutely nothing new to the zombie genre, and bucks the walking dead style trend of recent year by avoiding on going survival stories and sticking to the original Night of the Living Dead template, moving it to a rundown casino however this time. The characters are flat and can be expressed with minimum syllables (drunk croupier, slutty waitress, gay magicians assistant, etc) and most of the dialogue is very predictable. The zombies similarly are crap, with minimal make up effects, and the whole look and feel really comes off as a cheapo movie made straight for the SyFy channel. However, if you’re a fan of zombie movies, and are looking for more bog standard zombie movies, Remains is completely watchable. It’s not bad good like, say the recent Zombie Apocalypse, but it’s not bad bad bad either, more in the middle somewhere. There are glaring continuity errors (Tom’s bitten off fingers keep reappearing), and the plot feels like it borrowed the first half hour from Night of the Comet, but there are some quite amusing zombie movie moments, most notably the car park escape which goes really badly (filmed well, action packed and funny). There’s also a nice touch regarding the character Lori, who is thrust together with Tom despite thinking he’s an asshole, and has had such a shitty life so far she starts to think that maybe being a zombie wouldn’t be so bad, making the ending more poignant (or cheesy, depending on how forgiving you’re feeling).
Don’t expect much, think bad Syfy channel zombie movie before you start, and you’ll lower your expectations enough to enjoy the film. Probably. Not the best zombie movie, not the worst, just alright. So so. And if you feel more passionate about this movie (one way or another), why not head over to IMDB, where the “Best zombie movie ever – no it’s not it’s shit – no it’s not – yes it is” discussion rages on. As always.