Television Review: Steve Niles' Remains
· Colin Theys
· Grant Bowler
· Tawny Cypress
· Evalena Marie
· Lance Reddick
by R.J. Carter
Published: December 14, 2011
An unforeseen calamity strikes. A handful of humans were protected by providence or luck, while the remaining unfortunate souls have been transformed into undead, flesh-eating zombies. Those who are left alive must battle to survive agains the zombie apocalypse. Some of them won't make it.
You probably already think you know the title of this described movie, and if I polled a dozen of you, I'd probably get at least half that many titles. In this particular instance, the film in question is Steve Niles' "Remains," adapted from Niles comic book series of the same name from IDW. Setting this film apart from other zombie films is the fact that it's set in Reno -- which makes about as much difference as you probably think it does, which is to say, very little.
Our primary pair of human fighters are Tom (True Blood's Grant Bowler) and Cindy (Rescue Me's Tawny Cypress). They were protected from the nuclear catalyst because they were shagging in a storeroom, despite not really liking each other all that much. Tom is full of testosterone, and makes all the typical guy blunders -- like shooting the keypad of an electronically locked door thinking that it will cause the door to open. Cindy is your stereotypically jaded casino cocktail waitress, whose signature fashion is Daisy Dukes and cowboy boots.
Together, they battle zombies, ennui, and each other until Ramsey (Fringe's Lance Reddick) rides into town with the cavalry, including his daughter Tori (Evalena Marie). But they're not necessarily here to rescue the survivors -- in fact, what they 're really there for isn't all that clear. And it doesn't matter anyway, because they disappear soon afterward, abandoning the humans only to get attacked later leaving Tori as the only survivor. This opens the door late in the game to the romantic triangle, as Tom starts falling for Tori, leaving Cindy to become a jealous psycho with the shotgun. Not the smartest of moves for Tom.
If I wanted to spoil the film, I'd tell you how it ends. But I'm not really sure that it does end. There's no real conclusion -- no satisfactory explanations, no closure of any real kind. Just one iconic image that may be meant to leave the viewers with a shudder -- or a sigh of regret.
Overall, "Remains" is another chapter in generic zombie survival cinema, with nothing important to say; an exercise in special effects but not necessarily one in storytelling. The scariest thing about it is the prospect of being made to watch it again.
Steve Niles' "Remains" debuts Friday, December 16 at 10PM ET|PT, on Chiller.