Wait, what is this, a zombie horror comedy from 2009 that I haven’t seen yet? The Revenant is exactly that and so much more, especially for the fans of the genre. Granted it’s a bit too long and clunky but at least it offers something new. So, we will be following a soldier killed in Iraq who somehow wakes from the dead and has to deal with this new reality. One of the things that makes this movie interesting is that he’s neither a zombie nor a vampire. He’s The Revenant!
The whole movie has this personal feel to it and I’m not talking about the world-building because that’s just fine. I’m talking about this cozy atmosphere, sarcastic dialogues, and the relationship between two best friends. A relationship that’s first going to be strained by death and then some more by the resurrection. This is just one of the issues we glance over along with religion, racism, military, police, and others.
Now, there are two cuts of The Revenant and I watched the longer one with a running time of just under two hours. Each scene here is about 30 seconds longer than it needs to be and some of them feel completely out of place. This messes with the pacing, especially in the final third of the movie. However, if you’re willing to just go with it, there’s a nice surprise for you at the end.
Second Lieutenant Bart Gregory has been killed in Iraq over a month ago during a routine mission. Now, his family and friends have gathered to bury him in his hometown of Los Angeles. However, that night Bart wakes up and somehow manages to get to his best friend’s house. Joey, a small-time drug dealer, can’t believe that his friend is in front of his door and he reluctantly lets him. Now, the two of them must figure out the next steps as Bart is not feeling so well. And he seems to be the living undead. Or something like that.
Apart from a few messy shootouts scenes towards the end, The Revenant looks surprisingly good for an indie production. The makeup is excellent and there will be several really effective and graphic scenes. Of course, projectile vomiting is a must but there will also be some stuff. Creative, nasty and glorious stuff that we haven’t seen in other zombie slash vampire movies.
The plot unfolds relatively naturally without many forced turns and twists. For example, after figuring out that there’s something wrong with Bart, Joey takes him to the hospital. And you can guess how that’s going to go. We’re a bit in the Shaun of the Dead territory here but The Revenant offers a much wilder and darker story. Plus, it has this indie charm that makes everything feel much better than it actually is. And more visceral too.
Finally, I must mention our two leads, David Anders and Chris Wylde giving pitch-perfect performances. You felt like they were best buddies in real life too. Jacy King was so good as Mathilda that I might even consider becoming a Wiccan for her. The man who wrote and directed this movie, D. Kerry Prior hasn’t worked on any projects since then. Until recently when he announced his two new movies Virgin Forest and The Saturn Particle Rampage, so keep an eye out for them. And I’m glad he turned around on the whole title thing as these are memorable as fuck.
Director: D. Kerry Prior
Writer: D. Kerry Prior
Cast: David Anders, Chris Wylde, Louise Griffiths, Jacy King, Eric Payne, Bernardo Badillo
Fun Facts: The poem that appears in the intro is actually from “There Is No Death” by J.L. McCreery.
IMDb Link: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1336006/