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Evil Remains
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Evil Remains (2004)

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Plot Summary:
"A graduate student preparing his thesis on mythology leads his friends on a research expedition to an old plantation estate on the outskirts of the Big Easy. The site is reputed to mysteriously cause madness and death to all who enter it."

Review by
Phil Davies Brown
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Review Date: 21 May 2005 My Rating: out of 5


Despite receiving mainly mixed reviews and a low key release, I found this film to be quite refreshing. The story focuses on Mark, a student who is writing his thesis on myths and legends. Mark is particularly concerned with the tale of Carl Bryce who was said to have murdered his parents in their plantation house in New Orleans, which was also said to be the scene of some gruesome experiments years previously. It is said that anyone who enters the house will go insane and kill.

Naturally, in his quest to disprove the myth Mark takes a group of his friends out to the house and they are pursued by a killer....or are they?

This film surprised me because it appeared to be a psychological horror movie that turned out to be a slasher movie, but in hindsight may have been a psychological horror movie.

The film looks really good and fully showcases the creepy New Orleans setting and plantation house with it's creepy attic, labyrinthine basement and sprawling grounds, complete with animal traps.

The cast were good here, with Estella Warren demonstrating her scream queen capabilities, and it was nice to see Clayne Crawford give an understated performance here, as he is usually required to play a loud mouthed asshole.

Director James Merendino really plays with the audiences expectations and minds and also demonstrates his capabilities at building suspense through editing.

I really liked the dark tone of the movie and the mythology of the house, and loved the use of creepy props such as spirit bottles and animal traps.

There is a feeling of dread present throughout, and although the film takes it's time to give you the set up, it doesn't outstay it's welcome and really kicks into fifth gear for the finale.

James Merendino is undoubtedly a smart guy as he chooses to underplay everything in order to allow the audience to create a picture of terror in their minds. This is also well demonstrated in his reluctance to force the two female characters sexuality on you. Estella Warren and Ashley Scott are the hottest lesbians in the history of horror, but they never make any form of sexual contact. Instead, a character monologue and a little imagination make them the hottest pair I've seen on screen in a long long time.

The film has many highlights one of which is an extended chase scene with Estella Warren, a dude in a creepy mask, and a giant pair of garden shears, as the film races to it's Texas Chainsaw Redux conclusion that is both surprising and mysterious all at once.

Trespassing is an unusual film as it blends a number of sub-genres with a number of well handled set pieces, making it a very unique kind of horror movie. I really liked it but it leaves you puzzling over it's conclusion for days afterwards. Pehaps that was the intention, as like the characters in the movie, you begin to question what is going on and who to trust.

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