‘What Still Remains’ (2018) Movie Review

In the post-apocalyptic film, What Still Remains, Anna, played by Lulu Antariksa (T@gged TV series) has to survive in a world that has long since been destroyed by disease. When she meets a stranger named Peter, played by Colin O’Donoghue (Once Upon a Time TV series), who offers her a place in his community, she must decide whether she can trust this stranger.

What Still Remains is directed and written by Josh Mendoza and is his first feature film directorial.

This review was tough to write, as there is so much I wanted to say, but it’s next to impossible to say anything about this film without spoiling it. That’s largely due to the fact that not a lot happens for the first 45 minutes of the film.

If you’ve played The Last of Us by Naughty Dog, then you’ll no doubt see the comparison here. It’s The Last of Us but with all the bits they didn’t put into the game. The first 45 minutes sees the film trying to establish the world and cement some sort on-screen relationship with Peter and Anna.

To its credit, the long, drawn out, 45-minute intro does add to some of the film’s ambiance. It’s by no means scary, but there is a definite creep factor. So that, by the time you reach the community, you are seriously doubting that Anna can trust anything or anyone. It has a real Wicker Man plus M. Night Shyamalan’s The Village vibe to it.

In the latter half of What Still Remains, there are some very welcoming veteran actors that help to further create the sense of tension that the film is obviously trying to build. Jeff Kober (Sons of Anarchy TV series, The Walking Dead TV series) and Mimi Rogers (The X-Files TV series, Ginger Snaps 2000) both have a way of drawing you in. They have great screen presence, however, they alone could not save this movie.

Unfortunately, What Still Remains is a mess. It doesn’t know what it wants to be. It has elements of drama and thriller, for sure. but it dabbles in too many ponds. I found myself getting really annoyed with it, willing it to become scary, to have some weight to it, thinking that the buildup would maybe deliver. That never happens. I guessed every single plot point. In fact, I guessed the ending at the beginning. Almost nothing in this film will take you by surprise or even scare you.

This film has one plot point going for it, a McGuffin if you will, and that’s the less is more tactic that some of the greats have used to create masterpieces, like in Alien for example. However. when less is more becomes don’t show the monster ever, well… you end up just pissing off your viewers.

What Still Remains throws up questions that it never answers. It set up a world that makes you, the viewer, desperate to see from the safety of your couch, but it never takes you there. This film is a tease.

I enjoyed the acting and the movie is filmed well. It ticks all of those boxes correctly. But that is where the good stops. The predictable plot points, the fact that it doesn’t know what it wants to be, makes this film very frustrating to watch. It’s a creepy thriller movie that goes nowhere.

About Ruben Lee Shaw

Movies have been a part of Ruben's life for as long as he can remember. His first film experience was E.T. when he was 5 in a dark grotty cinema in Amsterdam (at least that is how he remembers it). He grew up in South Africa and studied Film and Television production in the UK, which is where he now resides with his stunning wife, 2 interesting teenagers, a fat cat, a crazy dog, and sometimes a dark passenger, (his very imaginative imagination). He has worked on both features and short films and has experience as a journalist/reviewer for films, tv, and games. In 2016 he created his own super Geeky brand called The Ruby Tuesday.  Ruben has a love for horror and things that go bump in the night, although he himself will admit to being a scaredy-cat. Ruben's first teen-fantasy-horror novel is to be released in 2018. Some of his favorite creatives and their creations are Stephen King (It and on writing), Dean Koontz, (Odd Thomas series) Ridley Scott (Alien), C. S. Lewis (Narnia and Screwtape letters) John Carpenter (The Thing and Big Trouble in Little China), James Herbert (Rats) and Guillermo del Toro (Pan's Labrythn, Hellboy and The Book of Life). Ruben continues to push the boundaries of his imagination and intends to release three novels and short films in the coming years.

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