Cast: David Anders, Louise Griffiths, Jacy King, and Chris Wylde.
Tagline: "The only thing worse than having your best friend die is having him come back."
While watching D. Kerry Prior's The Revenant, this reviewer is reminded of another zombie buddy movie titled Deadheads. In both films, two friends have to deal with becoming undead. Deadheads is more of a road trip comedy, while The Revenant is a darker thriller. Both films tell tales of a friend trying to help another with elements of romance on the periphery.
As more background, The Revenant was completed in 2009 and despite winning several awards, this title has experienced some delays in reaching the public. Lionsgate has picked up this title for an September release and fans of zombie thrillers and comedies will want to shamble out to their local Redbox to feed on this title at home.
The Revenant primarily focuses on characters Bart (David Anders) and Joey (Chris Wylde). Bart returns to America from Iraq in a bodybag. Meanwhile, Joey beds Bart's girlfriend, Janet (Louise Griffiths), soon after his demise. What are friends for? However, Bart returns from the dead as some part of biological warfare experiment. He needs blood to prevent decomposition and soon Bart is strolling the streets of Hollywood in search of the vulnerable.
Bart is labelled a revenant: "one who returns from the dead in corporeal form," but really he is most similar to a zombie. His skin is greyish and his disease infects his friends and the city at large. As well, Bart can only be killed by head trauma. On the other side of the argument, Bart does not feed on brains. Instead, he feeds on blood. Either way, Bart and later Joey are feeding on the living. There are enough undead elements here to classify this title as a zombie film or a zombie buddy film, of which there are few in existence.
There is a lot to like in this style of film. The music, while strangely orchestral, is often amplifying the sometimes dower atmosphere. There are few light moments in the soundtrack as this film plays out partly in tragic fashion. This reviewer still found himself laughing at disturbing scenes. Late in the film, Joey has lost his body and he needs the aid of a vibrator to speak. Try not to laugh at this scene. There are a few sight gags that involve an amputation and Bart's inability to put his hands up in the presence of police. The acting is well done. Dialogue and expressions are delivered in an often witty way. It is just a shame that the characters Janet and Mathilda (Jacy King) are not given enough screen time to balance out the many testosterone fueled gunplay and robbery scenes.
The Revenant is a great film full of both serious and light moments. There is comedy and there is a sad love story at the film's core. This film offers a twist in the end and this title is enjoyable all the way through. Really a zombie film in the vein of Deadheads, The Revenant will be available on DVD and Blu-Ray September 18th. Horror fans should grab themselves a copy. After all, few films can combine so many genres in such an emotive and darkly comedic film.
Overall: 7.75 (this film really stands out, good writing, well drawn characters, many genres, a disheartening ending, good production values, funny).
*to be released by Lionsgate
The film's homepage is here:
The Revenant's Official Website
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