It Remains - Cinema Release

A truly chilling experience

James Whittington
Saturday, November 4, 2023

It Remains

Trinity CineAsia

Certificate 18

What starts as a by-the-numbers story of revenge from beyond the grave, It Remains from director Kelvin Shum (Deliverance 2022) soon turns into a gripping and heartfelt story of a father’s love, how he tried to right an unforgivable wrong and the impact it makes across those who encounter him.

Finn (Anson Lo) goes on an island adventure with his friends to get over a haunting tragedy. This journey into wilderness goes horribly awry. They begin to suffer from frightening dreams and come upon strange artifacts on this strange island, it’s not long before they realize that an ancient devil exists and stalks them at every turn. What awaits them are things they never expect out of this supposedly serene trip.

By focusing mainly guilt and the ripples it causes through time, It Remains is a refreshing take on a genre which has been done to death over the last few years. The movie is held together by Anson Lo as a boyfriend who is trapped by recurring images of his dead girlfriend. Its dreamlike atmosphere which remains solemn and grey throughout, it manages to mix reality and surreal imagary with great skill.

The four visitors to the island are all fully formed, and this is thanks to the care each actor gives to their interpretations. Each one has a piece of their lives which they continually relive in their minds and each of their stories contributes to the unease and darkness to the movie. This use of memories being the enemy is smart and chilling.

The construction of the movie is solid, no scenes or moments are padded and uses camera angles that Sam Raimi would be proud of and add to the mystery and unrelenting darkness. The movie has a lot to say about blaming oneself for happenings, how we sometimes fail to process grief and the horrific realisation that no matter how guilt-ridden you are you can never go back to that one, life defining and pivotal moment.

There is some light towards the end of the movie, a subtle and charming moment which will lift the spirit of the audience where David Chiang as Uncle Wah finally manages to feel the acknowledgment and understanding he has been craving.

It Remains is a movie that brings the paranormal genre into more realistic surroundings and bodes well for this often overlooked horror strand.