A horror movie/buddy comedy about Joey and his undead friend Bart who comes back from the dead as a revenant: an articulate zombie that needs to drink blood to arrest the decomposition of his body.
THE REVENANT is a GREAT film!! I never start a review out like that but I didn’t feel that beating around the bush was the way to go in this case. When I put this film on, I knew nothing about it other than it starred David Anders who many may remember from the second season of HEROES or J.J. Abrams’ ALIAS. I have to say, I was hooked in to the unique story from frame one and was never let down. This is a top notch production from special effects maestro Kerry Prior who not only directed, but wrote, produced, and edited as well. I can’t believe that this film has eluded me, I’m just excited since I have just watched a modern classic.
Bart (David Anders) is an American soldier that is killed in Iraq. His body is sent home for the funeral. His pal Joey (Chris Wylde), girlfriend Janet (Louise Griffiths), and Janet’s Wiccan best friend Matty (Jacy King) are all in mourning. His death was a bit of a shock to everyone so they all have to deal with it in their own ways. In their grieving, Janet ends up in the bed of Joey. That is only the beginning. Several days after the funeral, Bart comes back. He goes to visit Joey right away. At first he doesn’t realize that he has been dead, eventually it is realized that he is the walking dead. They try to figure out what it is exactly that he has become. It is decided that he is a revenant, one that returns after death. They eventually realize that Bart needs blood to survive which leads them on a wild ride that involves vigilantism, a trail of bodies, and the most unique non-sexual use for a vibrator that you will ever see.
This is just one of those films where all the stars align and everything falls perfectly into place. Prior (maybe best known as a special effects artist on films like BUBBA HO-TEP and PHANTASM II & III) has crafted a unique script packed with humor, gore, and plenty of twists and turns to keep you on your toes. And let us not forget, that there is a whole lot of heart in there too. A major part of the films’ success is the chemistry between the two leads Anders and Wylde. From the get go you can believe their relationship, Bart the good guy and Joey the asshole best pal. Their dialogue is funny and even moving at times. The way their dialogue flows, it has a certain rhythm that reminded me a bit of Tarantino, in a good way. The whole film may have been just a bit inspired by him, then blows up in its own unique direction that kept me smiling from beginning to end.
The majority of the humor comes from Bart trying to discover what he has become and Joey’s ideas and reactions. It all isn’t about laughs though, since there is plenty of shocks and gore to satisfy the most hardcore of gorehound. And to make the film perfectly well rounded, the heart and drama comes from a genuine place that raises this film far above anything I have seen in the past several years.
Films like these only pop up once every few years and they surprise us all. THE REVENANT is pure perfection and it would be a travesty if this film doesn’t find itself in a future list of genre greats. If I have any complaints at all, it would be that the ride had to come to an end. Without question I am giving THE REVENANT ***** out of 5 stars, and well deserved too. Do whatever it takes to find this film. I’m not sure what the release plans are but find it. Find it now, search like your life depends on it, then sink your teeth in, this is one of the greats!!
The Revenant is now available from LionsGate Entertainment
The Revenant (2009)