THE CHILD REMAINS (2017)
Directed by Michael Melski
Written by Michael Melski
Starring Suzanne Clement, Allan Hawco, Shelly Thompson, Géza Kovács, Martha Irving, Rena Kossatz, Lesley Smith, Glenn Lefchak
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THE CHILD REMAINS is an original and complex little horror film that never exceeds its budget or the skills of its actors involved. It also contains quite a few potent scares and concepts that don’t feel like a rehash of the usual siege of zombies, aliens, found footage, or slashers. It’s not an infallible film, but it is one I would recommend to anyone who likes horror that of off the beaten path and verging into dangerous territory.
A couple (Rae played by Suzanne Clement and Liam played by Allan Hawco) expecting their first child go on a weekend holiday to a bed and breakfast, not knowing about the horrific past surrounding the house involving stealing babies, immortality, murder, and ghostly happenings.
Clement and Hawco are solid actors here as the fated couple. Both actors have to go through an arduous journey from beginning to end. Hawco’s tortured husband and artist arc worked as both a support and a threat to Clement’s Rae. Clement does an equally fine job as an investigative reporter who is hesitant to sideline her career herself with a child, but with the fact that she is not getting any younger, she decides it’s now or never for a child. Again, THE CHILD REMAINS does a great job of fleshing out these adult conflicts of character and these conflicts definitely fit in well with the rest of the story Michael Melski has deftly laid out. Shelly Thompson plays Monica, the owner of the B&B who is overly wholesome—never a good sign, until she isn’t. This is a small cast and Thompson does a great job right away at suggesting all is not well with the place.
The story takes place over a long weekend and if there is a criticism I have for THE CHILD REMAINS it is that the runtime is about twenty to thirty minutes too long. I feel horror of this scope is much more effective moving at a brisk pace. There’s a point in the film at the hour fifteen point where Rae pleads with Liam to stay another day. I think this was a mistake as it really doesn’t make sense given the bizarre and scary things that happened so far that they would want to continue their stay. It also makes the film overly long with not one, but two days for Rae to use her investigative skills in order to uncover the mystery of the old place. The last two days depicted in the film would have compounded the tension, resulting in a much more entertaining and fast paced jaunt had they simply combined the events of them into one day.
That said, there is a strong sense of danger given the fact that these well thought out characters are put in such grave peril in THE CHILD REMAINS. The film delivers strong moments of tension, a genuinely dreadful mood, some truly frightening imagery, and a creepy vibe involving some pretty uncomfortable and taboo subject matter. THE CHILD REMAINS is not your typical horror film and that’s a good thing.