A FILM described by its promoters as the first faith-based
horror film will be released in Britain next month.
The film, The Remaining, is an interpretation of the
book of Revelation, and the idea of a post-Apocalyptic Rapture when
all true believers are taken into heaven as the world is
The film opened a year ago in the US to mixed reviews. The
entertainment daily Variety described it as "a theologically
questionable, but fitfully exciting melodrama", and suggested that
its mix of disaster movie, horror-thriller, and faith-based
entertainment might find a more appreciative audience on DVD. A
reviewer for the Washington Post described it as "a
low-budget, low-impact attempt to rewrite the Book of Revelation as
a horror flick", and rated it with just half a star.
"The Remaining" of the title are five friends celebrating a
wedding when an apocalyptic event hits, complete with boulder-sized
hail, swarming locusts, and attacks by winged demons. They are left
behind when others are taken to heaven, compelling them to make up
their own minds about faith.
Nick Pollard, co-founder of the educational charity Damaris,
which is promoting the film in the UK, said that it "posed a vexed
question for the Church - how far to engage with popular culture?
The film pulls no punches in presenting a hard-hitting message
about God's judgement, and yet it proved popular at this year's
Frightfest film festival.
"The challenges raised by this film are familiar to Christians
who seek to reach all people in all places: what is the limit to
where we should go and what we should accept? Jesus rejected the
criticism he faced for eating with tax collectors and sinners.
Should Christians follow that example with horror films?"
The director of the UK Christian Film Festival, Ray Horowitz,
saw it as part of a genre of end-times films such as Thief in
the Night from 1972, and the Left Behind series of
the early 2000s - reworked this year with Nicholas Cage - which are
based on the best-selling books of Tim LaHaye and Jerry B.
He said: "Let's remember that at one time it was considered
blasphemous to even visit the cinema, whatever it was showing.
We've come a long way in understanding and interpreting
contemporary film. Anything using the book of Revelation as its
source of inspiration will always be open to heated discussion, but
we shouldn't ignore the masses of people who love horror films and
who have yet to hear the Christian message interpreted within their
genre. The Remaining is powerful and disturbing - much
like the gospel itself."