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Revenant, The (2012)
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by Jay Seaver

"Your average vampire vigilante."
3 stars

SCREENED AT THE 2010 FANTASIA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL: "The Revenant" is nearly two hours, long for a splatter-comedy, and if I could come up with a good suggestion for trimming it, I would probably offer it. The trouble is, the scenes which could probably survive a little tightening-up - the ones that are mostly David Anders and Chris Wylde talking - actually have a really nice rhythm to them. If the movie was mostly that, it would be a real low-budget delight.

Good news: Bart (David Anders) is finally home from Iraq. Bad news: He returned to Los Angeles in a pine box. Good news: He's able to climb out of his coffin and meet up with his best buddy Joey (Chris Wylde). Bad news: He's got no appetite for anything but human blood. Good news: There are a bunch of creeps in the bad parts of town that are probably most useful as revenant food. Bad news: The LAPD doesn't take kindly to vigilantes. And Bart hasn't told his girlfriend Janet (Louise Griffiths) that he's sort of alive, even though her friend Mathilda (Jacy King) is noticing something is amiss. That's small stuff, though; other than that, it's all upside.

When the movie focuses on Bart and Joey just hanging out, trying to make sense of Bart's undead state, it's a lot of fun. Anders and Wylde have great chemistry together, and they make Bart and Joey the sort of slackers that we can absolutely buy as being surprised by what's going on but also just sort of rolling with it. They play off of each other very well, working their banter around physical and gross-out comedy without skipping a beat. And as much as we meet them as goofy comedic types, the actors make their characters real and three-dimensional enough that we buy into what's going on as the situation becomes more serious in the second half of the movie.

Despite the good work by the cast, The Revenant does at times seem to lose its way as it goes on. Writer/director Kerry Prior seems to have had a bunch of ideas for what he could do with a sort-of-vampire popping up in modern-day L.A., and was determined to use them all, whether or not they drew the film out too long, gave it an uneven tone, or ultimately just didn't make sense. It doesn't quite feel like flailing around, but the movie does become something of an aggregation of little bits that worked individually, and fit together from piece to piece, eventually wandering far from its main strengths. It also loses something as the number of characters contracts, and the violence becomes out-of-character slapstick even while the characters' issues become more serious.

For a horror comedy with a minuscule budget, it is put together very well. Prior sets himself a bit of a challenge in that the vast majority of the film has to take place at night - revenants aren't quite vampires who burst into flames when the sun comes up, but they do lose their animating spark, whether they're in a building or outside - and while the footage is somewhat grainy, the audience always has a good idea of what's going on, and when the action goes from small but gory effects to a larger chase and standoff, Prior handles the change in scale well.

While the movie has been playing festivals for the better part of the year and seemed pretty locked, Prior made the occasional comment in his Q&A about how certain cut scenes may wind up back in at some point. Certain bits could be elaborated on, but I'm not sure making this movie longer would do the pacing and occasional disjointed feeling any favors, even though most of the movie is pretty good.

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originally posted: 08/27/10 23:55:54
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2009 CineVegas Film Festival For more in the 2009 CineVegas Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: Fantastic Fest 2009 For more in the Fantastic Fest 2009 series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2009 Chicago International Film Festival For more in the 2009 Chicago International Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2009 Starz Denver Film Festival For more in the 2009 Starz Denver Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2010 Fantasia International Film Festival For more in the 2010 Fantasia International Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

8/30/10 Ronald Holst One more Vampire movie Boring 1 stars
8/28/10 paul carter well put production. 3 stars
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  DVD: 18-Sep-2012


  DVD: 18-Sep-2012

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