This psychological horror flick relies heavily on sound effects and music to take a walk in the woods to a very scare place. Adapted from Laird Barron’s short story “30”, the main plot revolves around two biologists hired by an unnamed corporation to investigate some strange animal behavior on a remote tract of land they bought. The land also just happens to be the site where a Manson-like cult ended up in a bloodbath years earlier. Keith (William Jackson Harper, Paterson and The Good Place) and Jessica (Rebecca Henderson, Manhunt: Unabomber) spend their days setting up motion controlled cameras and taking soil samples to try and find out if there is anything particularly supernatural about the place, though you never know exactly what the corporate overlords are looking for. And of course strange things do start happening. And the question becomes, what’s real and can this possibly end well?
Keith spends a lot of time just walking in the woods, switching out memory cards on the cameras that are set up all over the place. Most of the time when he comes back to base, there’s nothing on the cards, even though something has set the cameras off, and occasionally they’re tampered with by unseen forces. Meanwhile, Jessica deals mainly with soil and animal samples back at the lab in their futuristic white pods base. Keith and Jessica don’t seem to trust or like one another much, though as those strange things start to happen that changes.
I can’t really say what happens, both because you really need to experience it without spoilers, and because ultimately I don’t really know what happened. As I said this film depends on music and effects a lot, but it is extremely effective and you’re constantly on edge watching it. They Remain should appeal to psychological horror flicks lovers — think Blair Witch with much better production values. It’s beautifully shot and the actors are both quite good. See it, but be afraid, very afraid. You might not want to go on that nature hike afterward.
Follow-up having seen Annihilation: These two films have a lot in common. An unseen, unknown malevolent force out there and scientists putting themselves in danger trying to figure it out. I have to say this film was more interesting to me. It was simpler and had a lot less star power, but it was creepier.