Name: Adam Bernard Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome. See my complete profile
Do you ever have movies that end up sitting on your DVR for far too long as you just never find the right time to watch them? Steve Niles’ Remains was that film for me up until last week, when I finally hit play on the made for Chiller (yes, that’s a channel) movie.
Based on the graphic novels and comics of the same name, Steve Niles’ Remains is the story of what happens when world peace goes all wrong and turns the majority of said world into zombies. The plot beings with the world throwing down their nuclear arms (you know you can’t hug with those) and activating something that would permanently disable all nuclear weaponry. The only problem is when they activated this device, what it ended up disabling was everyone not locked in a Doomsday Preppers-like steel room, turning the masses into zombies.
The zombies of Steve Niles’ Remains have a few quirks, most notably the fact that they sleep, albeit very lightly, and standing up. The way they sway back and forth makes you wonder if they’re members of the undead, or are simply listening to an extended guitar solo at a Phish concert (or perhaps a Grateful Dead show, since they are authentic Dead Heads).
Not swaying and standing by are the three people who were in steel encased rooms at a shoddy Reno, Nevada, casino/hotel - alcoholic card dealer Tom, server and all around bitch Tori (who somehow has an unlimited supply of cigarettes), and gay hotel magician Jensen. Shortly after the world is zombified they let in Victor, who was a news reporter who somehow got away unscathed, and is the owner of some extremely loose morals. Eventually other humans come into the fold, but if I said too much about that it would be a major plot reveal. Also, an interesting side note, no one ever says the word “zombie,” as they have no idea what the creatures they’re dealing with are, they just know they need to get away before becoming their dinner.
Here are the pros of Steve Niles’ Remains - The zombies look great. There’s more than your usual interplay between humans and zombies, with Tori even messing with one of them on a regular basis. You get to see assault with a deadly walker (that's "walker" as in the thing old people who need help walking use, not "walker" as in "zombie"). A desolate Reno looks pretty cool.
The cons are - No one is likable other than Jensen. Tom has his moments, but for the most part he and Tori, who are the main characters, are people you’d more than likely push off the ledge of a building and feed to the zombies so you can run the other way while they’re getting devoured. Also, the special effects are, at times, laughably bad. There’s a car flipping scene which makes some of the SyFy original movies look like high art.
All that being said, I found myself liking Steve Niles’ Remains. It’s a fun zombie flick with some good apocalypse psychology and plenty of gore. Plus, with no real “good guy” (sorry Tom) you occasionally find yourself rooting for the zombies.