A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Remaining is a faith-based horror movie about the immediate aftermath of the Rapture (as prophesied in the Bible's Book of Revelation). From the moment the Rapture begins, there's frequent horror movie-style violence and imagery. Characters collapse and fall to their deaths, with their eyes wide open in a weird, opaque glow. Children are shown dying in the middle of a basketball game; adults keel over in a restaurant. There's blood, arm dislocations, demonic noises, and characters dying via tentacles shot through their chests. Basically, it's Cloverfield with an evangelical Christian spin, and as such, will be best enjoyed by those who believe in the Rapture as described in the Bible.
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What's the story?
It's Skylar (Alexa Vega) and Danny's (Bryan Dechart) wedding day, and they've gathered with their friends and family to celebrate. But toward the end of the night, a distant trumpet sounds, and Skylar's parents collapse and immediately die in an elevator, as do dozens more people at the reception. Skylar, Danny, and their friends who haven't died flee, only to find the outside world in utter chaos. Planes are crashing into buildings, and people are being killed by demonic tentacles through their chests. They make their way to a church, where they meet a pastor (John Pyper-Ferguson) who confirms what Skylar has suspected all along: This is the Rapture, as chronicled in the Bible's Book of Revelation. This leads everyone to reflect on how they could have been better Christians -- and to the decision of trying to survive on a dying planet or accepting Christ and leaving for the afterlife.
Is it any good?
Basically, THE REMAINING is The Blair Witch Project and Cloverfield filtered through the prism of the Book of Revelation. And on its own terms, it's hard to imagine anyone who isn't an evangelical Christian finding much to enjoy here. By this point, the gimmick of hand-held cameras and panic-stricken characters crying into smartphones has been overused, and none of the characters in the movie is likeable or unlikable enough to care all that much whether or not they survive on Earth or make it to heaven.
That said, the acting isn't bad, and the overall production values are solid. But it's simply hard to imagine anyone who doesn't believe in the idea of the Rapture being entertained by The Remaining. Without such broad-based appeal, this movie is literally preaching to the choir.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about horror movies. How are the "scares" generated in The Remaining -- through camera shots, music, sound effects, acting? Are they genuinely scary? Why or why not?
How is this movie different from other horror movies? How is it similar?
Do you think this movie is likely to appeal for those who won't appreciate its faith-based roots? Do you think the filmmakers wanted to reach a niche audience or a general one?
- In theaters: September 5, 2014
- On DVD or streaming: January 27, 2015
- Cast: Johnny Pacar, Shaun Sipos, Bryan Dechart, Alexa Vega
- Director: Casey La Scala
- Studio: Sony Pictures
- Genre: Horror
- Run time: 83 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: intense sequences of terror, violence and destruction throughout, and thematic elements