I don’t know why people say that this literal zombie apocalypse within pop culture is ending, because it’s not. And it never will as long as we keep getting as creative as Kerry Prior did with The Revenant, his horror comedy about a fallen soldier, turned zombie-thing.
Bart (David Anders) is laid to rest after an ambush attack while serving in the military. 3 weeks later when his body is returned home, he’s given a funeral, and awakens that night to find himself the newest member of the undead. Bart turns to his best friend, Joey (Chris Wylde) for help, and the two embark on a quest for answers ending in finding out that it’s blood Bart needs to stay alive. Well, blood isn’t just readily available, so the two get creative and start cleaning up the garbage on the street.
And when I say garbage, you know I mean bad guys, right? We’re talking about zombie/vampire vigilante-ism here. And when I say zombie/vampire, I’m not kidding. Prior took his favorite qualities from each of the monsters and created his own hybrid that only wakes during the evening hours and reanimates by drinking human blood. Trust me, it works. And I know that this is not new considering that the two spawned from the same mythology, but it’s also what sets this film apart from similar films in the past. I walked in thinking I was going to watch another Shaun of the Dead, and that’s ok. And I enjoyed that I walked out feeling like I was introduced to a new type of monster.
And there’s an impressive amount of utility built into the film to keep the balance between horror and comedy. It makes good use of that eerie ‘are we laughing now or are we being serious?‘ silence often, although there is no doubt you’ll be laughing most of the time. And the (what feels like) improved dialogue keeps the conversations sincere and reactions believable, especially between Bart and Joey. Anders turns Bart into this gentle-giant type monster that you find yourself rooting for the entire time, and Wylde is great with his quick wit (and questionable food choices in the film). They play well off of each other and take us on a hilarious misadventure. And when things get serious between the two, it’s sincere.
I can’t same the same for Bart and his girlfriend Janet (Louise Griffiths) though, which was a relationship at no point did I ever care about or find believable. Same goes for Matty (Jacy King), the hippy friend that stops by sometimes and says poignant things. And it’s not due to lack of good acting, both do well with what they’re given. It’s that the relationships are lost on the BFF duo.
I have no doubt that Prior has a long and fruitful directing career ahead of him, especially if he stays in the genre. He’s got a pretty good cult classic on his hands for his first film, not too bad for a special effects artists directorial debut.
The Revenant was released in 2009 and has been making its way around to independent festivals ever since, and is available to purchase on amazon.com if you’ve got the extra dough (it’s not cheap). Visit the official website, thereverantmovie.com, for information about theatrical screenings in your area.