July 17, 2017 Residue (Movie Review)
“And death shall be chosen rather than life by all the residue of them that remains of this evil family, which remain in all the places whither I have driven them, saith the LORD of hosts” (Jeremiah 8:3, KJV). Interestingly enough, the evil incarnate remnants in the film Residue also demands death, as well as souls, and can too be found in an ancient book of sorts; one which not only seeks to spread a much darker message, but which also intends to take that which it desires by even the most sinister means and measures.
A Canadian Supernatural Thriller that initially premiered April 29th at the Sunscreen Film Festival, Residue will now receive a limited theatrical release as well as being released on VOD and iTunes on July 18th via XLrator Media and IndustryWorks Studios. Writer/Director Rusty Nixon (Dawn the Line 2014, Candiland 2016) and Motorcycle Boy Productions bring viewers a spectacular Neo-Noir Creature-Feature that is sure to tickle quite a few fancies; which could actually lead to a little more residue for some viewers.
This more than capable cast consisted of James Clayton (Minority Report series, Candiland 2016) as cynical and self-indulgent private investigator, Luke Harding; Taylor Hickson (Aftermath series, Deadpool 2016) as his estranged and rebellious daughter, Angelina Harding; Elysia Rotaru (Arrow series, Supernatural series) as his secret love interest and neighbor, Monica; Matt Frewer (Max Headroom 1985, Watchmen 2009) as seedy crime lord, Mr. Fairweather; William B. Davis (The X-Files 1998, The Tall Man 2012) as the enigmatic arch nemesis, Mr. Lamont; and Blaine Anderson (Hot Tub Time Machine 2010, A Snow Capped Christmas 2016) as John/The Doctor.
In addition, Residue also includes noteworthy performances by Jason Burkart (Jackhammer 2014, Anxious Oswald Greene 2014) and Scotty Mac (Date and Switch 2014, Heel Kick! 2017) as Fairweather’s ’80s inspired wrestlers/henchmen, Scotty and Ferox; Alika Autran (The 100 series, Altered Carbon series) as Angelina’s free-spirited “friend,” Julie; Costas Mandylor (Saw IV 2007, Saw V 2008) and Michael Matic (Dawn the Line 2014, Candiland 2016) as Lamont’s henchmen, Jacob and Boston; Dan Payne (The Cabin in the Woods 2012, Watchmen 2009) as Anthony; and finally, Linda Darlow (The Accused 1988, Immediate Family 1989) and Will Williams (The Mary Alice Brandon File 2015, Candiland 2016) as the nosey neighbors and elderly couple, Mrs. and Mr. Oats.
All this in mind, Residue is the intriguing tale of Private Investigator Luke Harding (Clayton), who gets his hands on some pretty wicked reading material after botching a “delivery job” for known crime lord, Mr. Fairweather (Frewer), and his ’80s Glam Rock inspired wrestling goons, Ferox (Burkart) and Scotty (Mac). Luke really finds himself stuck between Hell and a hard place when rival crime lord, Mr. Lamont (Davis), sends henchmen Jacob (Mandylor) and Boston (Matic) to pursue Luke and take back the book.
As Luke further investigates the strange and mysterious book at his rundown apartment, he gets himself into even hotter water when he gets a call from his estranged daughter, Angelina (Hickson), who is looking for a place to stay. Luke enlists the help of his crush, Monica (Rotaru), to get his apartment ready for his daughter’s arrival, but the book soon proves to be far more trouble than it could ever be worth; especially when it sets off a chain of events that will turn his life completely upside down and his apartment into a literal living Hell.
Honestly, Residue is easily some of the most fun a person can have with a movie. It is overflowing with such rich elements of that decadent, old Hollywood, artistic Film Noir style that defined a cinematic era, but which has now been transformed into something much more modern; the beautifully infamous Neo-Noir style that encourages the use of heightened vibrancy through bright, contrasting colors, while still holding true to some of its more traditional components. There are also strong elements of Supernatural Horror, Psychological Horror, and Monster Movies; as well as containing flashes of Comedy that make for an overall fun-filled movie experience.
Viewers will enjoy the first-person voice over narration that is spoken as read journal entries; the emblematic eroticism and sexuality without ever overdoing it; the archetypal long tracking shots and moments of deep focus while staring out of a window or off into the distance; and even the classic chiaroscuro lighting, just with a slightly more dazzling color palette. Viewers will also appreciate smoke-obscured scenes; neon lights; unbalanced framing; blurred ethical lines; crime and violence; and rather complex plots and analepsis, or a somewhat convoluted timeline; all of which are the most basic and adored elements of a Neo-Noir film.
The cinematography is captivating and when paired with such an excellent score, made for a movie experience that brought the story straight into the viewers’ homes. That said, the performances are perfection, and while each character was played with such flawless enthusiasm, it was Clayton’s portrayal of Luke which stole the show. Harding’s progressive descent into demon-driven insanity, as well as his commitment to solve the case, his running commentary, and his wish to ultimately do the right thing, coupled with his antiquated style garnished with a modern technological twist, built a solid foundation for Clayton’s detective character, Luke Harding, to be considered amongst some of the many film detective greats.
Overall, Nixon does an absolutely phenomenal job bringing such vitality to Residue. With the help of a talented cast, interesting and weirdly likable characters, its comically deft dialogue, extremely elucidative cinematography, mood-enhancing film score, impressive special effects, and overabundance of brilliantly portrayed elements that are so indicative of that modernized and updated Film Noir style, he was able to create a highly entertaining Supernatural Thriller. For these reasons, CrypticRock gives Residue 4.5 out of 5 stars.