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The Remaining Blu-ray Review

The Remaining (2014) movie poster The Remaining

Theatrical Release: September 5, 2014 / Running Time: 88 Minutes / Rating: PG-13

Director: Casey La Scala / Writers: Casey La Scala (story & screenplay), Chris Dowling (screenplay)

Cast: Johnny Pacar (Tommy Covington), Shaun Sipos (Jack Turner), Bryan Dechart (Dan Wilson), Alexa Vega (Skylar Chapman), Italia Ricci (Allison Costa), Liz E. Morgan (Sam), Kimberley Drummond (Lauren), John Pyper-Ferguson (Pastor Shay), Kim Pacheco (Nurse Rachel)

Buy The Remaining from Amazon.com: Blu-ray DVD

A few Christian movies found success last year within and outside the major studios. But, as usual, most of the faith-friendly films flew under the radar and/or disappointed commercially. For every God's Not Dead and Heaven Is for Real, there were multiple films like The Identical, Moms' Night Out,
and Left Behind that courted churchgoers to no avail.

The Remaining, a teen-oriented Rapture thriller, kind of falls in between the hits and misses. It grossed just over $1 million, but it did so in less than one hundred locations and from a distributor who hadn't gotten a film in theaters in several years.

The film opens at the wedding of Dan Wilson (Bryan Dechart) and Skylar Chapman (Alexa Vega), an attractive young couple. Dan has recently converted to Christianity for the wedding. The movie half-heartedly poses as found footage, making some non-exclusive use of the first-person photography of wedding videographer Tommy Covington (Johnny Pacar). The post-ceremony reception is winding down when something inexplicable suddenly befalls the bride's parents and select other adults. As their eyes go big and blank, they fall to the ground in apparent instant death. This is occurring all over the world. The news describes it as a mysterious illness called Instant Death Syndrome and find that it has affected just about all children and infants but only select members of the adult population. That might sound familiar to you if this isn't your first Christian thriller.

Young people like Jack (Shaun Sipos) are endangered when the Rapture hits in "The Remaining."

Skylar hypothesizes that the Biblical end of the world is upon them and she's right. These skeptical young adults have not been saved the way those leaving behind their human bodies have been. Even good churchgoing people like Skylar have not been whisked away to eternal life. Her faith has been lacking. In the same boat, believe it or not, is Pastor Shay (John Pyper-Ferguson), who can quote the Bible with the best of them, but has been left behind nonetheless with the other nonbelievers. His church becomes a safe place for the newlyweds and their friends to congregate.

There, Skylar gets treated for a perplexing, unsightly, debilitating wound on her back, the byproduct of an encounter with an apparently nocturnal demon. Others confess their feelings and sins for Tommy's camera, including a longtime unmarried couple (Italia Ricci and Shaun Sipos) at something of a crossroads. The group is also joined by the bleach blonde pixie-cutted Sam (Liz E. Morgan), who describes herself as "not really a sit in the pew kind of girl."

Allison (Italia Ricci) confesses to the camera as young people do during Armageddon. Imperfect faith has even left behind Pastor Shay (John Pyper-Ferguson).

The Remaining resorts to tacky thrills you expect to find in unspectacular new horror movies: jump scares, night vision, and disorienting visual effects. The camera stays shaky and the plot becomes negligible as our homogeneous group makes its way to a nearby hospital after the sun rises (and the demons go away). To a certain degree, you can excuse some shortcomings in Christian films
if the story feels honest and is told with convictions. But The Remaining is just plain bad and it doesn't even seem to have a legitimate purpose to distinguish it from other bottom-rung apocalyptic thrillers like Syfy original movies. Sure, there's the message of accepting Christ, but doing so as an alternative to being subjected to giant hailstones, inexplicably flickering library lights, strong winds, and Bibles turning to dust does not feel like a sincere, pure call to faith. It's more like an escape from catastrophe and understaffed hospitals. Focusing on Armageddon seems like a convolution of Christianity, but to each his or her own, I guess.

The Remaining hits Blu-ray and DVD today from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, bearing Sony's Affirm Films banner for faith cinema.

The Remaining Blu-ray Disc cover art -- click to buy from Amazon.com Blu-ray Disc Details

1.85:1 Widescreen
5.1 DTS-HD MA (English, French), Dolby Digital 5.1 (Spanish, Descriptive Video Service)
Subtitles: English for Hearing Impaired, Spanish, French
Not Closed Captioned; Extras Not Subtitled
Release Date: January 27, 2015
Suggested Retail Price: $30.99
Single-sided, dual-layered disc (BD-50)
Blue Keepcase with Side Snap
Also available on DVD ($26.99 SRP)

VIDEO and AUDIO

Though it doesn't stay with the found footage format, The Remaining does rely on shaky cameras throughout, a tiresome design in its own right. The 1.85:1 picture quality is as good as it can be in 1080p. The Blu-ray upholds the high quality of Sony's in-house productions, though at times you can spot the low budget nature of the shoot. The 5.1 DTS-HD master audio soundtrack is replete with jump scares via peaks in volume levels. That annoys as well, but the mix otherwise gets the job done with its usually crisp audio (the recordings aren't the best in a few places) and immersive atmosphere.

Cameraman Tommy (Johnny Pacar) apologizes to his friend for having feelings for his girlfriend in the only deleted scene. Writer-director Casey La Scala tells pixie-cutted actress Liz E. Morgan what to do in "Divine Revelations."

BONUS FEATURES, MENUS, PACKAGING and DESIGN

The Remaining is joined by two HD bonus features on Blu-ray.

First comes the deleted scene "Tommy Apologizes to Jack" (1:48),
which lives up to its title with its break room apology following an awkward confession.

In addition to that, we get "Divine Revelations" (19:44), a making-of featurette. Writer-director Casey La Scala reveals his inspirations, his creative process, and the logic behind the hybrid cinematography. The cast discusses their characters and experiences. Behind-the-scenes footage shows us the creation of some visual effects. It's a fitting companion to the film.

The disc opens with a promo for Affirm Films and trailers for When the Game Stands Tall, Soul Surfer, To Save a Life, and The Song. The same things play from the menu's Previews listing.

The main menu offers a scored close-up of the cover art image. Sony authors the disc to both support bookmarks and resume unfinished playback.

No inserts or slipcover accompany the side-snapped keepcase and the disc adapted from the poster art.

Skylar (Alexa Vega) clings to a Bible, which she feels explains the madness going on around her.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

Even if you take what it's saying as an accurate forecast of things to come, you'll probably find The Remaining a most disappointing horror movie that doesn't have any good reason to be as uninvolving as it is. Centering a low-budget apocalyptic thriller on the Rapture doesn't suddenly give meaning and make up for poor character development, a scatterbrained presentation, and reliance on lazy, derivative thrills. It's movies like this that give Christian cinema a bad name.

Buy The Remaining from Amazon.com: Blu-ray / DVD

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Moms' Night Out Persecuted Fireproof Soul Surfer Heaven Is For Real

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Reviewed January 27, 2015.



Text copyright 2015 DVDizzy.com. Images copyright 2014 Affirm Films, Cinematic, Sunrise Pictures, Baron Films, and 2015 Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.
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