Defiant Screen Entertainment, Rated MA
Obviously a teen-targeted scary saga (despite having just enough violence to qualify for an MA Rating), this wannabe-creeper has a mildly unusual set-up and an initially grim mood, although it does eventually somewhat go to Hell.
Ten years after some kind of new-fangled apocalyptic bomb went off in Chicago and millions died, the survivors are still struggling to maintain something like normalcy in Jewel City (actually Manitoba) because they’re continually haunted by ‘Remnants’ – phantoms of the dead or, perhaps, those now trapped in an alternate dimension or time loop. Or something.
A Gothy high schooler named Veronica (Bella Thorne in a black wig), who is now merely annoyed when she keeps seeing her Dad’s ghost at the breakfast table, starts becoming convinced that some of the Remnants want help, and this seems to be confirmed when one (Thomas Elms as Brian) turns up to apparently check her out while she’s showering. Concerned that Brian wants to spirit her away to realms unknown, she enlists the help of a stereotyped nerd named Kirk (Richard Harmon) and her favourite teacher, Mr. Bittner (Dermot Mulroney, who really should do better movies), and discovers a plot twist that you’ll see coming ten miles off.
Drawn from a novel by Daniel Waters (Break My Heart One Thousand Times) and directed by the prolific Scott Speer (who specialises in movies you’ve never heard of like Midnight Sun and Status Update), this offers a glum performance by Thorne, who gets about in shapeless winter clothes here and never has a chance to change into the short-shorts she wears in Amityville: The Awakening and other dopey outings. But then there’s the Remnants, and they’re okay and quite eerie at first, but after we’ve seen them (and Veronica’s sneered at them) fifty times, they lose their sporadically spooky qualities.
Low spirits indeed.