Directed by: Andy Stewart
Written by: Andy Stewart
Cast: Lucy Goldie, Nicholas Vince
Claire Miller is afraid to fall asleep. Plagued by nightmares, she finds herself waking in strange places with no recollection of how she got there. As her mental state gradually deteriorates, Claire will soon find out that the reasons for her problems have been with her for a very long time…
If you’re familiar with Andy’s previous work (Ink, Split and Dysmorphia), you know what you’re going to get with this, yeah? Body horror, gross seeping puss filled special effects, right? WRONG. I mean, there are still some uncomfortable visual moments in Remnant,(when it’s your specialty, it’d be rude not to), but this is a complete change of pace for Andy, a more subtle, psychological affair, and by jove it’s been done in spectacular style.
As with his shorts before, Remnant is beautifully shot and perfectly contrast, between dark, gritty nightlife and soft dream like sequences. The plot centres on Claire, played by Lucy Goldie, an everyday girl who’s life is turned upside down when she no longer feels at home in her own skin. Lucy is strong in the role she has been cast, perfectly capturing the agony of a woman confusingly losing her mind, closing in on herself, left to battle her inner demons, completely alone. It also pulls in a strong turn from horror heavyweight Nicholas Vince, as Claire’s caring but frustrated boss, Ian.
For a 13 minute short, it’s hard to find criticism, with its gorgeous score, colourful hazy visuals and top notch performances, it’s a fantastic, intriguing watch. Remnant taps into a scenario you’d never consider could happen, and that’s what makes it so interesting. In conclusion, a brilliant short, setting the standard for how film making should be done.
Scottish director Andy Stewart heads in an interesting new direction on ‘Remnant’, a short which sees him move away from the more overt Cronenbergian leanings of his earlier work with impressive results. Less direct and visceral than his Body Horror Trilogy, ‘Remnant’ still goes for the jugular, but the accent this time is on drama, and this dark, sinister venture into subtler territory finds its way under your skin in an entirely different way.
Protagonist Clare seems to be spiralling. Haunted by disturbing visions, finding unexplained contusions on her body and struggling at work, a solid, central performance from Lucy Goldie engages your sympathies early, and as her condition worsens and the mystery intensifies, ‘Remnant’ fits a healthy level of intrigue and mounting dread into its 14 minute runtime. The film’s nightmare segments are nicely executed, and while the blood flows a little less readily than we’re used to from Stewart, the punch the film packs is no less powerful as a result.
Ultimately, ‘Remnant’ succeeds both as a slick exercise in narrative tension and as a director’s bold attempt to pull his work in a new direction. With an established proficiency for both wince-inducing body horror and restrained, simmering tension, what comes next from Stewart could prove to be something very special indeed.