[Review] The Remnant (Blood in the Snow Film Festival): Crime and Creepiness Collide in Canadian Horror Short

Caper movie meets horror story in the Canadian short film The Remnant when a group of con artists try to pull one over on an elderly lady. Director Navin Ramaswaran serves up a thrilling supernatural tale that is an absolute blast to watch unfold.

Sheila Hargrave (Jill Frappier) lives alone in a large, well-appointed home. Her maid dies after witnessing something quite out of the ordinary, leading Sheila to believe her house is haunted by a malevolent spirit. She hires a group of paranormal investigators — leader Richard Marwick (Peter Kelghan of Ginger Snaps), and assistants Michelle LaCroix (Kaniehtiio Horn of Mohawk), Misako Tanaka (Grace Lynn Kung of Cult of Chucky), and Dylan Matthews (Michael James Regan of V-Wars) — to perform a seance to rid her house of ghosts, not knowing that they mean to rip her off for more than just their ghostbusting fees. Sheila’s skeptical daughter Anne (Jennifer Dale of Of Unknown Origin) throws a wrench into the criminals’ works when she shows up unexpectedly. 

Ramaswaran (who has also helmed such fright-fare features as Poor Agnes and Late Night Double Feature, along with many shorts), working from a screenplay by Jeff Gross and Jonathan Williams, does a splendid job of balancing heist dynamics with occult suspense. He also shows off some terrific framing, aided wonderfully by cinematographer Russ De Jong, and Ramaswaran handled the editing expertly, too. 

The ensemble cast is superb. Viewers get a strong feel for each character and can emotionally invest in them quickly, thanks to this veteran group of actors. 

The Remnant builds toward a chilling, highly satisfying climax. It is a truly stunning effort that should find a great deal of success during its film festival run.

The Remnant screened at Blood in the Snow Film Festival, which ran November 21–26, 2019, at the Royal Cinema in Toronto, Canada.

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Joseph Perry
Joseph Perry fell in love with horror films as a preschooler when he first saw the Gill-Man swim across the TV screen in "The Creature from The Black Lagoon" and Mothra battle Godzilla in "Godzilla Vs. The Thing.” His education in fright fare continued with TV series such as "The Twilight Zone" and "Outer Limits," along with legendary northern California horror host Bob Wilkins’ "Creature Features." His love for silver age and golden age comic books, including horror titles from Gold Key, Dell, and Marvel started around age 5.

He is a contributing writer for the "Phantom of the Movies VideoScope" and “Drive-In Asylum” print magazines and the websites Horror Fuel, Diabolique Magazine, The Scariest Things, B&S About Movies, and When It Was Cool. He is a co-host of the "Uphill Both Ways" pop culture nostalgia podcast and also writes for its website. Joseph occasionally proudly co-writes articles with his son Cohen Perry, who is a film critic in his own right.

A former northern Californian and Oregonian, Joseph has been teaching, writing, and living in South Korea since 2008.