The Remaining: The Book Of Revelation Becomes A New Christian Thriller

Monday, August 11, 2014

"After the rapture, there are fates worse than death."

Thus begins Affirm Film's new Christian horror movie The Remaining.  Anyone who knows me will know that I do not like to be scared — in fact, I have never seen a horror movie in my life. Until now.

And I loved it.

The Remaining is a supernatural suspense that follows a close group of friends whose wedding celebration is suddenly interrupted by a mysterious catastrophe.  Hundreds of people are suddenly dead in what they discover is the rapture.  All hell breaks loose as those who remain fight for their lives and struggle to find faith in the midst of the apocalypse.

Here are just some of the many reasons why I love this movie:

1. It was fun being scared but not scarred. 

I went to go see The Remaining with my dad and brother at a prescreening with Affirm Films.  For the majority of the movie, my brother Manning and I were clinging to each other as if our lives depended on it.  In the moment, we were terrified - but in a good way!  We found it fun and exhilarating to be afraid, to jump at the unexpected, all while knowing that there wasn't going to be anything so scary that we would be mentally scarred.

There was nothing gory or gruesome in this movie.   I wouldn't recommend it for someone much younger than thirteen, but it's perfect for someone who wants a suspenseful, action packed, paranormal horror movie that still carries Christian themes.

2. It showed what a world without God would look like.

The movie was based on the passage from Revelation 9:

"And the fifth angel blew his trumpet, and I saw a star fallen from heaven to earth, and he was given the key to the shaft of the bottomless pit. . .Then from the smoke came locusts on the earth, and they were given power like the power of scorpions of the earth.

They were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any green plant or any tree, but only those people who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads. They were allowed to torment them for five months, but not to kill them, and their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it stings someone. And in those days people will seek death and will not find it. They will long to die, but death will flee from them.

In appearance the locusts were like horses prepared for battle: on their heads were what looked like crowns of gold; their faces were like human faces, their hair like women's hair, and their teeth like lions' teeth; they had breastplates like breastplates of iron, and the noise of their wings was like the noise of many chariots with horses rushing into battle. They have tails and stings like scorpions, and their power to hurt people for five months is in their tails."  (Revelation 9 : 1 - 10)

What a terrifying thought!  The movie shows only "the first of the things to come" and it is a bleak beginning to the end.  A world without God, without righteousness and purity and goodness, is one of complete and total depravity, fear, pain and misery.  It is a foreshadowing to the very real existence of hell.  I'm reminded of John Milton's Paradise Lost, in which we get a glimpse of the poet's vision of the inferno, much like Dante's:

"No light, but rather darkness visible

Served only to discover sights of woe,

Regions of sorrow, doleful shades, where peace

And rest can never dwell, hope never comes

That comes at all; but torture without end

Still urges, and a fiery deluge, fed

With ever-burning sulphur unconsumed.

Such place Eternal Justice had prepared

For those rebellious..."

3. The pastor was one of the remaining.

If the rapture happened today, who would you expect to be taken up?  Most of us probably imagine those who appear to be overly religious from an external standpoint, such as pastors and Christian evangelists.  But one of my favorite parts of the movie was that the pastor character was one of the remaining.

"Just because you have a church and a title doesn't mean you have real faith," he said to the friends when they sought refuge in his church.  This struck a chord in me.  From the world's standpoint, he did all the right things.  He ran a church, counseled others, gave sermons every week.  And yet his faith was shallow, not genuine, and not based on true faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

4. It's a reminder that life is short and fleeting.

We have no guarantee for tomorrow.

James 4:14 reminds us, "Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes."

I am continuously being reminded that life is a gift.  Every day is a miracle.  The Remaining brings to mind the transience of life and challenges viewers to make the most of every moment they have with those they love.

Director Casey La Scala says of the inspiration behind the script, "A couple of things happened at the same time. When my father passed a lot of things ran through my mind. One being to love the one you're with before it's too late, because things could end in the blink of an eye. . . I wanted to create a story that would capture the imagination of everyone, mainstream and faith-based audiences. The Remaining captures both by centering on the extreme and horrific circumstances surrounding the biblical accounts of the end times."

5. It puts viewers in the midst of the action.

In the same interview, La Scala went on to say, "When the audience sees the movie they will feel like they are there." That's the best way to describe The Remaining.  It has a similar cinematographic feel to The Blair Witch Project, since many of the more suspenseful scenes are filmed on a handheld video camera.  To me, this is the equivalent of writing a novel in the first person, much like the award-winning Hunger Games.  Viewers become one of the main characters and feel like they have experienced the events of the end times themselves.

6. It's not about the theology of the rapture — it's about self reflection.

What is the real point of the movie?  There is spiritual warfare going on.  We never know what's coming next.

I don't want to get into a debate on premillennialism vs. postmillennialism and dispensationalism.  The truth is that no matter how much knowledge we gain, we will never know or fully comprehend.  Though I personally am not convinced that the rapture lines up with my Biblical worldview, I appreciate this movie for the way it motivates and challenges movie goers to be introspective.  Am I living in a way that is righteous?  Am I seeking out my faith?  Do I live every day like it's my last?  If the events of the end times did come today, would be I be one of the remaining?

7. Very few movies get me thinking about it after the fact. This one did.

I'm going to be honest and tell you that Christian movies often frustrate me since I find them to be sappy and preachy.  But this is one of the few that has really impacted me.  I have thought about it, read about it, considered the possibilities of the plot and discussed it more than any movie I've watched in recent memory.  That alone intrigues me.  But the reason that The Remaining is so captivating is that it's audience is so unique.

This movie is for people who think they're Christians and who really aren't.

Many characters in the movie thought they were believers and realized they weren't.  The Remaining asks the same question to both Christians and non-Christians: Do I really believe?

One of the film's stars, Alexa Vega, stated about her character, a bride who believed herself to be a Christian, "I think it's an incredibly beautiful story . . . Even though her family is extremely religious, she practices but was not necessarily a believer. It was amazing to play this girl that makes this  transition and finds herself and her faith despite the things going on around her."

There are very few movies that can be so effective for evangelism, that can challenge viewers to consider their own relationship with God.  This is a groundbreaking film for the Christian industry, one that captivates audiences by taking them along the ultimate fight for faith and survival against unknown forces of the abyss.  The movie is both entertaining and inspiring, with content that will surely encourage and challenge even the steadiest church-goer.

Go see it for yourself. ;)


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  1. Great review of this movie! I too have seen the film and believe you have captured all of the messages and movement that the director intended to have audiences contemplate and share long after the end credits have rolled.

    1. I'm glad you agree! Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts. :)

  2. John 1 : 1- 5 . the BiBle are our instructions , it's teachs the true word's of the almighty God ! the Revalation of Jesus Christ to ST, JOHN : is a book of Prophecy called the the future ! to all those true born again Christian in the Lord Jesus Christ , i this revalation book are no more the future , but it's the present , and it's now . all the Prophecy are Fulfilling for the Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ ! may the Lord save and Bless you all, and believe in the Lord Jesus, and for what he done on the Cross to set all of us free from the sins and to have a eternal life in ! this film for some are just a Christian movies, but it's captured the message of what's going to happened. Jesus are coming soon, and i'm praying for the salvations of all our souls and for all of the human being ! God is Love !.....