THE REMNANT *** Canada 2019 Dir: Navin Ramaswaran. 17 mins
Here’s a good looking, if thematically limited, exploration of familiar 21st century horror themes from prolific filmmaker Navin Ramaswaran, whose interesting, genre-blurring indie fare includes POOR AGNES (2017).
The opening sets the scene – a housekeeper experiences harrowing paranormal activity in her employer’s house: bleeding paintings, an invisible presence and that favourite modern horror indication that All Is Not Right – Creepy Vinyl. Crystal clutching paranormal investigators arrive but are outed by the home owner’s daughter as conmen. The story then becomes a waiting game to see the tricksters staging the horrific shenanigans get their just desserts when the real haunting hits.
Ramaswaran echoes the fake-outs from an assortment of earlier found-footage “haunting” movies (themselves ever-indebted to Stephen Volk’s GHOSTWATCH): precisely timed faux-paranormal fires and ghostly manifestations courtesy of invisible wires and smashing ornaments. It’s breezy and has a fun gory pay-off, though the good technical credits are clearly bolstering a premise that has seen better days. The biggest asset is the dynamic, pounding electronic soundtrack from Nick Morey, George Hetzer and Betamaxx.
Review by Steven West