You know what will ruin a wedding party? The Rapture, that’s what. In director Casey La Scala’s “sort of found footage” movie that is exactly what happens, and it’s basically a more palatable version of Left Behind: A Novel of the Last Days on Earth. This is not a good thing. The found footage element of this movie is almost immediately abandoned for the standard third-person point of view, which I can only assume was because that format was too hard for La Scala to sustain in the story he was trying to tell. I should mention that the movie will certainly have a different effect on viewers depending on their religious beliefs as this movie does get up on a pulpit to preach its message about God. I sat down to watch a horror movie with some religious overtones, but instead, it was mostly religious propaganda and no real scares.
The movie opens with Skylar (Alexa Vega) and Dan (Bryan Dechart) happily celebrating their wedding with their friends and family. There is Jack (Shaun Sipos) the best man who has been dating Maid of Honor Allison (Italia Rici) for seven years, and then there is Tommy (Johnny Pacar) the friend who has been secretly in love with Allison for all of those seven years. It’s Tommy who is in charge of the found footage element of this movie as he’s been given the responsibility of recording this happy occasion; of course, it’s in these moments we learn that Skylar’s parents were disappointed that their daughter opted out of a church ceremony, and we also see that Allison is bitter about her boyfriend not having popped the question even though his “Best Man” speech spoke about being bold with love, which is the antithesis of their relationship. This stuff only lasts about ten minutes before the shit hits the fan, which certainly trumps Cloverfield’s interminable going away party, but once again it fails to give us much in the way of interesting characters to root for.
It’s also at this point the movie drops that the found footage motif; though it does occasionally resurface in the form of footage someone has shot with their camera or watching on a laptop or phone. Our little band reacts quite quickly to the mass amounts of people suddenly dropping dead; no time to grieve when you have to rush outside to see if it’s an alien invasion. It’s Skylar who informs the group that this is The Rapture from the Book of Revelations, and she’s a tad upset because she always thought she was a good person, so why the hell was she left behind? And sure, it turns out that everyone in the group is basically a good person; maybe there had been some coveting and premarital sex going on but no one’s broken any of the big Commandments, yet it turns out that isn’t enough. It seems you have to really believe in God or its Hell and damnation and pass out the torture forks.
It’s while racing to the local church to find Alison, who went there to complain to God about Jack, that Skylar is attacked by one of the Fallen. These wraithlike beings toss the poor girl around like a ragdoll and then drop her clawed body back with her friends. When they eventually make it to the church they are greeted by Pastor Shay (John Pyper-Ferguson) who informs his scared parishioners that he was a “fake” and that he’d just been a “Traveling salesman for Christ” which is why he was left behind. The group stay huddled here in the church until they discover that Skylar’s injuries are infected and that if she doesn’t get medical attention soon she will die. There really isn’t much to this movie other than its blatant message of “Believe in God, or else.” Characters run around as if they are in a Left Behind video game, and have to achieve certain goals before time is up.
• Must reach church to find girlfriend.
• Must get medicine for Skylar.
• Must get Skylar to hospital, medicine didn’t work.
• Must get to a nearby aid station.
There is nothing at all scary in The Remaining’s meagre 88-minute running time unless you find the idea of God giving you the finger to be scary, but aside from some loud banging and the occasional person being dragged off by the Wraiths of God there is hardly any tension at all, and certainly not helped by the fact it’s hard to care one fig for the fate of these yahoos. I for one would rather be left behind than be raptured by a god who runs a “Member’s Only” club.
That the last act devolved into a preaching mess about faith wouldn’t have bothered me so much if the proceeding moments hadn’t been about as interesting as Jerry Falwell’s stool sample.
Some religious viewers may find the message in this film uplifting, I myself just found it depressing and boring. If you want to watch a good “Rapture” movie check out Seth Rogen’s This Is the End, which came out only a year later, and is a vastly more entertaining version of the “End of Days.”
The Remaining (2012)
Movie Rank - 4/10
Director and screenwriter Casey La Scala may claim he thought the Book of Revelations would make for interesting subject matter, which it certainly could be, but the proselytizing here is just too much and the ending’s, “Just believe!” kind of looks like he may have had a religious agenda.