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New faith-based horror film is all Revelation and Rapture

24 October 2014

AFFIRM FILMS

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 des­troyed.

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. Jenkins.

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."

 

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