Evil Remains (2004)
By: Michael Helms on May 7, 2006  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
MRA (Australia). Region 4, PAL. 1.85:1 (16:9 enhanced). English DD 5.1. 85 minutes
The Movie
Director: James Merendino
Starring: Clayne Crawford, Jeff Davis, Daniel Gillies, Ashley Scott, Estella Warren, Maryan D'Abo
Screenplay: James Merendino
Country: USA
An isolated house in rural New Orleans circa 1982 is the setting for a messy piece of homicide performed by a son on his parents in what Evil Remains calls the Bryce tragedy. Mom and Dad had just been arguing about what to do with junior after he'd strangled the pet dog when he breaks out the gardening shears to give Dad a new haircut and knocks down and steps on Mom (played by Maryam D'Abo from Xtro) before setting her on fire.

Cut to 20 years later and a male student is questioning academic Dr.Rosen (Kurtwood Smith) about urban myths and the Bryce place, which he plans to visit. Rosen tells a tale of the torture of slaves in the previous century that was connected to the place. Apparently a curse had been put on the house that gives anyone who trespasses on the property an uncontrollable urge to run amok. Both teacher and student are sceptical.

With the set up out of the way we settle in as three guys and two gals (one who's gay) set off for an overnight visit to the former murder site. The inevitable occurs slowly and rarely surprisingly over the course of the remaining running time. We do get fun with steel animal traps, blood on the walls, car trouble, some well-delivered snappy dialogue, and multiple stabbings before the introduction of a last minute victim and a four years later post script that reveals an interesting denouement and a change of belief for Smith who puts in what must've been at least a day's work for what amounts to a cameo from behind a desk. At least the distributors didn't plaster his moniker all over the slick for being the only name in the cast (besides former erotic thriller queen D'Abo, of course).
Evil Remains looks great throughout if erring at times on the side of too much darkness. Too bad Estella Warren never shows as much cleavage in the film as she does on the cover.
The surround mix isn't elaborate but present enough to provide more than a few chills.
Extra Features
Four actor filmographies and three MRA trailers including one for The Last Horror Movie.
The Verdict
While consistently atmospheric and hatched from a script with a clever ear for dialogue, Evil Remains (which still wears it's original Trespassing title in the main credits sequence) is ultimately too seriously married to it's lack of budget to be entirely effective. Still, it mightn't be Dead Birds but isn't an entire waste of 86 minutes of your life.
Movie Score
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