I've always been fascinated by the B-movie genre. How is it that an entire aspect of Hollywood can exist underground, churning out bad films with such consistency that anyone would care take notice? At some point, the Law of Dimnishing Retuns has to take effect, forcing every well-meaning but utterly dissapointing flick into well-deserved obvilon. The Revenant is that kind of film, existing only for the briefest of moments before finding itself on the scrap heap with the rest of the would-of-could-ofs.
After American soldier Bart (David Anders) is killed in Iraq and buried back home, he soon returns to life as a decomposing corpse who cannot eat human food. He shows up at the doorstep of his stoner best friend Joey (Chris Wylde) to help him figure out why he has returned from the dead. Eventually, the two realize that Bart is a revenant, a half vampire/half zombie who has returned to terrorize the living. With his body continuing to decompose, Bart and Joey set out to find (at first) plasma, then live humans for Bart to feed on. At the same time, Joey realizes that Bart has become nearly invincible, resisting death even after several gunshots. As Bart's girlfriend (Louise Griffiths) and Wiccan buddy (Jacy King) learn of Bart's return, things go from weird to messy, with Joey becoming a revenant as well, and the boys turning into LA's version of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance kid.
The nearly two-hour movie wastes lots of time with unneeded backstories, eventually turning into a gore-intensive third act that favors body counts and Quentin Tarantino-like edits rather than offering any real character development. King and Griffiths are totally unnecessary to the story, and many of the boys' victims are second-rate actors who orchestrate their lines with the delicacy of a bull in a china shop. Director D. Kerry Prior (Roadkill) tries his best to gross out the audience with every horror cliche imaginable, but it's his tepid script and selection of actors which evntually kill the project. Still, not all is lost. As a writer, Prior pulls off some well-placed one-liners, especially during the gun battle near film's end. Anders and Wylde have good chemistry, if you can get past the expletives which are so numerous one would have thought they were being paid for each one uttered. And while I can't give away the final ending, it's safe to say that 'politicially incorrect' is an excellent way to define it. In our war-ridden, post-9/11 world, it does serve to elevate the genre in the most obscene manner possible.
There's a reason why Hollywood doesn't produce every script it receives; and while The Revenant has its funny moments, it's not without major flaws, too. That's unfortunate, because with a little professional nip and tuck, this film could have been the best horror comedy of the last decade. Instead, we're left with a story that wanders far off the beaten path, never really going anywhere except downhill. Perhaps that was Prior's intention, but it could have been executed so much better. Instead, like Joey and Bart, The Revenant seems to merely exist, seeking its end through humor and ultra-violence, but mostly remaining lost. Stay away from this film, unless the idea of B-movie fare appeals to you. The Revenant is rated R for everything including language and man junk...yes, there's junk on the screen.
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