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Mortal Remains (2013) – Movie Review

Mortal Remains (2013) - Movie Review

I find that with indie found footage film releases becoming more and more common in the film industry, it’s easy to discard titles before you’ve even hit the play button…

That’s certainly been the case over the last couple of months!

Before this period I was aware that ‘no-hope directors’ were becoming all the rage, but I didn’t expect them all to pop up at the same time!

The genre felt like it was slipping away.

Then I came across Mortal Remains – a film I really didn’t hold out much hope for.

I’d just finished sitting through a terrible example of Found Footage, and the cover of Mortal Remains looked a little ‘amateur Photoshop’ at best.

But I should know by now – never judge a book by it’s cover…

The Plot

A docu-thriller focusing on the life, brief career, and mysterious death of Maryland filmmaker Karl Atticus, referred to by some as the “godfather of the slasher film.” Features interviews with various historians and aficionados including Eduardo Sanchez, director of “The Blair Witch Project,” who in a 2008 interview posited the question: Why, for nearly four decades, has Atticus’s story been practically eradicated from the annals of cinematic history?

Building a Mythos

Over the last couple of decades, the indie horror genre has benefited greatly from filmmakers building/creating a Mythos.

The most obvious of these is the Marble Hornets series that jumped on the back of Slender Man and turned him into a new entity, that controlled their disturbing on-screen world.

Directors Mark Ricche and Christian Stavrakis have built their Mythos around a dangerous fictional figurehead named Karl Atticus – a character you are not going to forget in a hurry!

I decided to look into the whole ‘idea’ of Atticus online, just to see how far this movie’s reach has spread.

When using the Google search box, I only got as far as ‘Karl At…’ before the instant algorithm threw up the suggestion of Atticus – a sure-fire indication that this search term has been used thousands of times before I used it.

Simply put – the Mythos of Karl Atticus has worked!

Conclusion

How many Found Footage films manage to get Eduardo Sanchez to make a two minute cameo appearance?

Surely that’s got to be an indication that you are onto a winner, right?

I also thought that Stavrakis & Ricche’s decision to play themselves in the lead roles was critical to the way the movie panned out.

I’m not saying the pair of directors are top actors, far from it, I’m just saying that they knew how to play the game – and they delivered.

The pair’s onscreen presence really managed to inject a layer of authenticity to the independent feature, and this is what helps it stand out above the rest.

The movie is a mix of mockumentary and Found Footage, which cleverly gives the directors leeway to cast themselves without too many hiccups.

Cinematography is about average, but that doesn’t really matter when you glue together the film’s overall journey.

Acting really is acceptable, from start to finish, and fits easily into the motion picture – no overacting, no irritating teenager shit – just believable performances throughout.

Since the first viewing, I’ve actually watched this movie another couple of times as I was sure there was more experience left in it…and there was!

I really like this one – a ‘dark horse’ that has maneuvered itself into a healthy position within the genre.

Definitely recommended.

Chris

4 Comments

  1. Great review! I was dying to see this for years and even volunteered to help market it on social media in 2015. It had a long run on the US horror festival circuit and I finally got hold of one of the limited editions on VHS earlier this year. For a FF fan and child of the 80s, it was nearly a religious experience to dig out the old VCR from the closet and watch this on analog format. Of course the worn rental tape design (complete w/ a “please rewind” sticker) on the VHS also contributed to the overall experience. And on top of that, the movie didn’t suck!

    • Oh that’s cool – I haven’t had a VHS in my hand for years now! The movie was a great experience in my book – I didn’t see it coming, I thought it was going to be like some low budget student shit…I was wrong!

  2. I am so glad you managed to bring this one to my attention. These days I dont get my hopes up because even the so called good ff films (e.g aliens zone of silence) are utterly disappointing but this one I enjoyed and the ending was satisfying in the sence that it was not quite abrupt or open ended etc. it was a creepy end to a good movie, wish the were more like these out there.

    • Glad you agree Corne – I watched it again last week and it actually gets better with each viewing. There should definitely be more films like this put together – they don’t exactly need a big budget etc.

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