With current outbreaks of preventable diseases such as measles and the anti-vaccination cult in the news, Remedy arrives at a good time publicity-wise. The 22 minute short deals with a mother (Charlotte Bjornbak, Cannibal Corpse Killers) who hides her son Cole (Frank Seed) away in a secluded cabin to try to cure his terminal illness with unconventional treatments. Things are already tense between her and her older son Travis (Sam Bixby) over Cole’s treatment. Things soon spiral into very dark territory with the arrival of a sinister doctor and medical team.
Remedy is filled with nightmarish images and sequences. The ones in the hospital are particularly effective, reminding me at times of Dark Floors and Inoperable. The synopsis refers to an alternate universe but the feeling is of somebody sliding into madness, and taking those around her with them. The film captures this feeling very well, right down to the final scene.
Remedy was shot as a Capstone project by film students from Azusa Pacific University. This had me initially worried. Student films can be a very mixed bag and you never know what you’ll get. And because the school claims its Cinematic Arts majors will, among other things “Integrate an understanding of Christian faith through critical, creative, and collaborative endeavors.” Thankfully there wasn’t any of the preaching faith-based films tend to be full of.
Director Jordan Nicks and co-writer Noah Ouellette concentrate on storytelling and atmosphere and succeed in delivering them. How you react to the film as a whole may depend on how you view the subject matter. I fall in the middle, I believe, for example, CBD may be useful for some issues. But I don’t believe it, or any substance is a miracle cure for everything from sore joints to depression and cancer. Those with beliefs at either end of the spectrum will probably find something in Remedy to disagree with.
And that seems to be the point. There is so much information and disinformation available making a proper decision can be hard. Especially when the stakes are high and conventional medicine is short on answers.
Remedy is looking to land some festival screenings in the coming months