This week I was asked to be part of a pre-screening for The Remaining (opening Sept. 5), a Christian-themed film that is bound to affect many people of faith in surprising ways.
But this is also a film that can be enjoyed as just a film–a horror/monster movie, yet–and does not have to be viewed as just a “church movie.” But beware, along with the frightening horror movie moments, The Remaining will make you think about your life, too.
The film by Sony Pictures/Affirm Films–the same outfit that made the recent Heaven Is For Real starring Greg Kinnear—follows five friends and a young teen they meet along the way, all of whom didn’t make the cut during the Biblical rapture that occurs within the first half hour of the film.
For those unfamiliar, the rapture is the end of times when the Bible says God will instantly take into Heaven the souls of all believing humans on earth leaving only those who do not believe that there is a god or those with no faith.
The events laid out in the Bible for those left on earth is nothing short of horrendous, and this film does not spare the audience these terrible things. Animals go crazy, fire and ice fall from the skies, fallen angels skulk about torturing people… well, it’s all there in your Bible, after all. This film didn’t create that part of its story line, it just relates it and in gory detail.
If one just takes the movie as it is, one finds that the whole thing works admirably as a logical, suspenseful, scary, fright film with Hollywood quality performances. You develop an interest in the characters, and their emotions are believable.
The simple fact of the matter is, if you just want a great Summer fright film, this one will work for you, Biblical allusions or not. After all, if you are going to suspend disbelief for the The Blair Witch Project, or Paranormal Activity, or if you are going to accept a story where a man in an iron suit, a green monster and a Norse God team up to defend New York City, then you should have no problem going with the film’s rapture theme.
It just might make you take stock of your life, too. It is, after all, a Christian-themed movie and despite the fright-night tricks, smoky atmosphere, and death and destruction, this movie does have a message: reassess your life and take faith in God.
Everyone you meet in this film is a fallen soul, a non-believer. You’ll even meet a Christian pastor (John Pyper-Ferguson, X-Men: The Last Stand) who confesses that he never truly believed.
The crowd I was with contained some church officials and along with a smattering of applause at the end, several of them were very taken by this film. One even began to cry the message touched her so deeply.
So, there is enough of a Christian message for religious folks to be affected even as the story can just be taken as a “regular” horror movie.
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