I’m a sucker for a good movie poster, which is why I immediately watched Residue (2017) on Netflix. It looked like a great horror sci-fi throwback with an 80’s flair. Unfortunately, Residue suffers from trying to deliver too many things, and it comes up short in the process.
Residue is the story of Luke, a private detective, hired to make an unusual delivery for a substantial fee. When outside forces attempt to obtain the package, he’s forced to run for his life. Luke discovers the sought after item is an adventurer’s journal, which recounts the chilling details of a beast he encountered. As Luke reads on, the journal’s words come to life, and Luke must make it to the end to save the ones he loves.
Let’s start with the good stuff. Residue showcases some great special effects makeup. As a nerd of the show Face Off on SyFy, I know good effects makeups when I see them, and Matthew Aebig’s effects team shined. I also enjoyed the cinematography by Jan Wolff. There were a lot of well-conceived shots that were very creepy.
Residue also had an amazing horror story concept. I loved the idea of the words in an adventurer’s journal coming to life and plaguing its readers. The problem is this aspect took a back seat to the mystery noir package the film was shoved into, and I was ultimately left wanting to know more about the core story concept.
Residue mainly suffers from trying to be too many things at once. It tries to be a horror, mystery noir, and dark comedy film at the same time, and doesn’t excel at any. Writer/director Rusty Nixon’s storytelling pace was frantic at times, especially toward the end when the film was coming to its conclusion. I’m sure this was due to budget constraints, as the film was only 84 minutes long, but I wish some unnecessary things were left out so the horror story could have been the core focus.
The acting performances were mixed in Residue, and unfortunately, the film’s star, James Clayton, was a bit frustrating to watch at times. His attempt to deliver the cool, relaxed private detective role was too much, and it came off as flat and disconnected, especially in scenes that warranted a much stronger reaction.
Despite my mixed feelings about Residue, I still think it’s worth your attention. There are a lot of cool concepts and effects put forward here, and I appreciate the story’s originality. I believe Rusty Nixon has the potential to make a great horror film. With a higher budget and a little creative restraint, he has the talent to produce something really strong and unique. I’ll be keeping an eye out for his next project.