“People Become Their Own Kind of Monster.”
It’s the tagline for writer/director Josh Mendoza’s first feature film WHAT STILL REMAINS, and quite accurately sums up the film’s post-apocalyptic world. A world where the plague’s semi-human victims may not always be the worst monsters.
Within the film’s first few minutes Anna (Lulu Antariksa) loses her mother and her brother David (Roshon Fegan). she’s alone in a world ravaged by a virus that turned its victims into “The Changed”, deformed and bloodthirsty creatures. She soon meets Peter (Peter O’Brien THE RITE, STORAGE 24) who invites her back to his home, a religious settlement. With few options, she accepts.
The trip there will be dangerous, but what awaits her may be worse. As Shakespeare said, “The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose”. And what more important purpose is there than survival?
WHAT STILL REMAINS takes the post-apocalypse film and injects it with a dose of philosophy and intelligence. There’s still plenty of action, but it isn’t a brain-dead action film like FUTURE WORLD either. Approaching its points from both theological and moral perspectives it questions what is right and wrong. And for pointedly if the religious folk with their own interpretation of the bible are any better than the Berserkers, uninfected humans who chose to live like The Changed.
The thing is, The Changed are never really the threat in the film. While they and whatever created them be it mutant disease or bio-weapon, may have destroyed society they’re now more of a boogeyman. The real threat comes from other people, bandits, Berserkers or the ones claiming to be doing God’s work. There’s some great back and forth between Anna and a captive Berserker (Peter O’Brien LAKE ALICE, THE RETURN) that brings up a lot of questions for the viewer.
Punctuating its drama with enough action to keep the viewer interested without blowing its budget, WHAT STILL REMAINS is an above-average entry into a crowded genre. Gravitas Ventures will release WHAT STILL REMAINS in selected theaters August 10th, and on VOD nationwide August 14th.