The independent zombie movie has been put through its paces so many times that it’s shocking to see a filmmaker do anything special with it -- which makes D. Kerry Prior’s The Revenant all the more refreshing. It’s a pitch-black comedy meets a buddy film meets a fascinating character study; the movie covers a lot of ground tonally, yet it’s never disjointed. In addition, the acting feels fresh -- especially between the two male leads -- and despite its meager budget, the production doesn’t look cheap at all. Add in a script with numerous twists and turns, as well as a truly inspired ending, and The Revenant reveals itself as a bona fide contender for cult status.
Prior, a former special-effects technician, crafts a fascinating portrait of soldier Joey (Chris Wylde), a regular guy who comes home from a war in a body bag, only to reawaken with all of his senses intact. Upon reuniting with his buddy Bart (David Anders), the duo celebrate Joey’s second chance before realizing that he might actually need human blood to survive. Soon, the dregs of society become food so that Joey can continue to exist. Where it goes from there is something that should be experienced and not spoiled, but just know that the scope gets wildly bigger than you’d ever think it would.
There’s plenty to celebrate in the horror department, as the film gets icky more than a few times -- generating just as many laughs as squeals. Like guns? The Revenant has those too, giving the movie a somewhat Tarantino touch. But there’s no doubt that the heart of the film lies with the standout performances from Wylde and Anders. Without their affable chemistry and Wylde’s soulful portrayal of a normal dude stuck in a monster’s body, the flick would sink. As it is, The Revenant is legitimately funny, inventive, and just plain cool. leave a comment --Jeremy Wheeler