The days may seem at their darkest, but still, you must not give in to fear. Whether the knife is against your throat, or the rapist is about to enter, you must not give up hope. You have one last chance in Hell. And do not be surprised when that moment arrives in the form of the undead. Not a zombie, or a vampire – but a revenant. The Revenant.
Originally running the festival circuits thru 2009, this multi-award winning horror comedy took years to get on the shelf. Regardless of that process of decision making, we have, bestowed upon us now, The Revenant, from special effects artist gone director, D. Kerry Prior. And while I am not a fan of the horror comedy in general, this film pierces a direct tap into the funny bone, and feeds off it relentlessly.
Here’s the low down. David Anders (Once Upon a Time, The Vampire Diaries) plays Bart – an American soldier shot down while on tour in Iraq. He leaves behind his pill popping best friend Joey (Chris Wylde), and a squandered relationship with his girlfriend Janet (Louise Griffiths), and for three weeks after the funeral, everyone adjusts to life without him. Too bad, because here comes Bart, back from the grave.
If you have a penchant for films that ride the line of realism, as opposed to filled with goofy situations and quick zooms on people’s comedic expressions, The Revenant is the film you’ve been waiting for. Because coming back from the grave can’t be pleasant. Waking up in a black box underground feeling buried alive, panicing like a maniac to get out – and if you get out, there’s that first look in the mirror, when you see your flesh decomposed and have to unstitch your lips from the embalming. Forget about it.
Its these well acted and serious moments that keeps this film’s heart pumping. David Anders does an outstanding job here, and plays the best acted “smart zombie” I can remember, since perhaps Howard Sherman as Bub in Day of the Dead, who in my book was the best ever. So a strong horror foundation is set. You identify and relate. When Bart tries to stop by Joey’s house for some sympathy and some help, and gets hit in the head with a bat by a bug eyed Chris Wylde shocked to hell screaming “What the fuck!?”, its so relateable you can’t help but bust out laughing.
I’ll admit it and be honest whether others agree with me or not. I never laughed out loud so hard or with so many people at such fucked up situations in a theater in my life, as I did when The Revenant played the New York City Horror Film Festival and won the best picture, best actor, best director, and audience awards in 2008.
The Revenant is a horror film, above all, and it should be approached like that. It can be dark and bloody, graphically violent, and contains a lot of practical brutality of the flesh special effects that can make your stomach tense or force others to close their eyes. But moments like these, such as sucking on a tough guy’s bald head for blood, or seeing someone’s burned face with no eyelids yelling at someone – they make some squirm, while others will literally bust out dying (per his ‘The Exorcist is a comedy’ comments in a recent interview). And all this while The Revenant also works on a heartfelt level relationship wise because of the accurate dramatic acting of this ensemble. So much so, some will be pleasantly surprised, all around.
Bart didn’t ask to come back to life. He didn’t want to stink like roadkill and drink blood from homies dome plates. He just has to, to survive. He and Joey aren’t bad guys. They just want to make the best of a bad situation. If you gotta kill to survive, why not take out some crooks, save some damsels in distress, and feed off the bullet hole taps as you go. There’s lots of cash and drugs to be scored along the way. That’s what a lot of us would do, forced into the same situation. But the undead don’t belong. Heads must be chopped off, or they plague your life and eventually come for you. Its not intended. Its just what happens when you’re a revenant.
This film kicks ass. It drops August 24 in theaters and VOD.