The Remaining

2015-02-27 09:42

What it's about:

Questions of life, love and belief are asked, against an apocalyptic backdrop.

A group of close friends gather for a wedding, but the celebration is shattered by a series of cataclysmic events and enemies foretold by biblical end-times prophecies. The survivors face a horrifying, uncertain future as they scramble for safety, but, as their world collapses around them in chaos and terror, will they choose reassuring fantasy through faith, or just try to survive?

What we thought:

Of all the Biblical tales that most fascinates Hollywood, the coming Rapture seems to one of the most popular, whether it’s about attempts to prevent it or ways to survive it, although the last few have taken a more comical approach to The End of Days. Whatever your views are, The Remaining attempts to stick to the source material as closely as possible, making for one helluva depressing film for non-believers.

A young couple with the worst luck in the world has their wedding on the day of the Apocalypse – starting with the peaceful taking of the believers, leaving the rest to try and survive all the catastrophes wrought upon the earth, including some nasty fallen angels with scorpion-like stings. All the while our cameraman tries to tell the love of his life how he feels.

The premise of the Rapture in this case is all about true faith in the Christian god and the damnation that awaits those who do not embrace it. Other faiths are completely side-lined, or it might be that the exclusion of other religions would cause less backlash than actually including them. I am not sure which target audience they were going for – the believers or non-believers – but this is definitely not a movie for horror fans. Meagre attacks by the fallen angels which hardly make an appearance on the screen and gore-less deaths that are pretty average make for a pretty boring End of Days, lacking some of that hell and damnation from the hilarious This Is The End.

The only recognisable face in the cast is that of Alexa Vega from Spy Kids fame, and I so wish I could erase this performance and go back to when she was saving the world from psycho maniacs. Her character as the young bride dealing with the fact that her whole family just got taken up to heaven except her just makes you wish she would die. But alas, like the whole plot, she is dragged along forever until she, and the audience, is finally put of their misery. As for the rest of the cast, just a bunch of B-list actors that have done a lot of TV movies – not terrible but nothing that makes you remember who they are.

I was surprised by the quality of the production though, despite the found-footage camerawork that make my toes curl. This type of subject matter, in terms of its very Christian message, doesn’t really generate a lot of investment from the Hollywood mill, although films like Noah and Exodus: Gods and Kings use biblical tales and turn into fantastical stories that appeal to a secular audience. Perhaps that was what The Remaining was trying to do, but alas it couldn’t escape the “believe or go to hell” sermon it was purporting.

Looking at The Remaining as a film, regardless of my own religious convictions, my verdict is that it was a boring plotline with shallow characters that experience a Rapture that’s in some serious need of some Anti-Christ. Atheists, agnostics and non-Christians would probably hate it, but perhaps the Christian community will enjoy some Revelations entertainment. It does however make you think about what would happen to you if the first of the Seven Trumpets ever sound from the skies.

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