Directed by Juliane Block and written by Wolf-Peter Arand and Laura Sommer, preceding her death a young woman (Maja-Celiné Probst) relives her life in a mirror world, giving her the chance to fight her killer (Gregory B. Waldis). Also starring: Priscilla Wittman, Hanna Schmidt-Foß, Anne Alexander-Sieder, Kevin Leslie, Pete Riley, Rada Boehning.
Within minutes of the film starting, several questions arise, such as are the two leads a couple or father and daughter? Or what era is the film set in? While the former of these questions is answered, the latter is a baffling mystery which is never full explained or presented with any reason why it would be kept a mystery. Sadly, this is how the film goes, it raises questions and, for the most part, presents no answers.
The film is rooted with the acting of its two leads and while Probst’s Talli can be a little on the nose at times, it doesn’t raise any major issues but Waldis’s Damian is a whole other story, for a character that’s crying out for a classic sinister charm, a sweet-talker with a dark mind, Waldis can’t provide it. His acting is devoid of charisma and in the brief moments we do get of the two before he tries to kill her, there’s no chemistry at all, with the film being so reliant on his character’s villainy it’s a huge blow that he doesn’t come across as threatening, but more so irritating.
Although the main issue is the story and its pacing, it’s almost incoherent and while the first half barely settles long enough to make a point before it’s chopped up and moved along to the next thing, the second half out of the blue slows down so much it’s frustrating. Every so often there are new elements to the story thrown in and while they attempt to give a very small amount of context to these additions, some of them just simply don’t make sense in the larger picture. The whole experience is frustrating and jarring, it goes from too much happening to too little, there’s no clear reasoning to spend so much more time on some elements rather than others. There are a couple of moments where things are relatively clear, a rather fumbling telling of Talli’s relationships with her mother and sister but that’s about it. There’s also never any glimpse of how the two leads met, how their relationship started or anything that would at least provide a more solid foundation to the story.
8 Remains does not present an enjoyable experience, the story is frustratingly nonsensical, there’s dozens of questions that it raises which go unanswered and somewhere in it is a plot but it’s been sliced up and thrown together to the point where it’s completely lost and simply not worth it. The pace is irritatingly inconsistent and makes it more difficult to watch because after adjusting to the faster speed, it immediately goes into one long, extended and repetitive scene. There’s no subtlety, grace or clarity to be found here.