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rochefort [Film Festival 09.28.09] movie review horror comedy

Year: 2009
Directors: D. Kerry Prior
Writers: D. Kerry Prior
IMDB: link
Trailer: link
Review by: rochefort
Rating: 7 out of 10

Day Three of my 2009 Fantastic Fest marathon ended with "The Revenant", Kerry Prior's horror/comedy buddy movie, one that's been picking up a lot of buzz and awards lately. I had very little foreknowledge of the overall story, and ended up liking it quite a bit. It's a genuinely fun movie that goes in a new direction or two

When we first see Bart (David Anders), he's a body in a coffin, a soldier recently killed in Iraq. His best friend Joey (Chris Wylde), girlfriend Janet (Louise Griffiths), and her best friend Mathilda (Jacy King) are still coping the night of the funeral when Bart rises from the grave. Reeking, disoriented, and decomposing, Bart heads to Joey's house to try and figure out how he's cheated death, and Joey's ensuing freakout is one of the film's funnier moments. When it soon becomes clear that Bart can't eat regular food and passes out promptly when the sun rises, Joey asks Mathilda, a wiccan, to take a look at him. She deduces that Bart is a vampire-like "revenant", and will need fresh human blood to stave off his rapid decomposition. Joey, good friend that he is, decides to drive Bart through the sketchier parts of L.A. in search of vagrants and thugs who might provide him with a daily source of nourishing plasma.

The setup itself is a familiar enough one, calling to mind some of the more post-modern takes on the modern urban vampire like "Martin", "The Addiction", and "Near Dark", but what follows in the second and third acts of the film is altogether new, as director Prior and his leads turn the duo of Bart and Joey into something we haven't seen before. Wylde gets the funniest moments, Anders his more than capable straight man, and for every joke that doesn't connect there are at least three more that do. The twists are plentiful, and for the majority of the film they follow a progression so logical that you wonder why somebody didn't think of them before. The chemistry between the two leads is the real strength, the glue that holds the whole thing together even when the plot veers off on at least one tangent too many in the final twenty or so minutes. And remember that scene in "Re-Animator" where the severed head, you know, did that thing? There's a scene in this film that will have the same sort of resonant notoriety with horror fans, a genuine geek water cooler moment.

This is the sort of movie that festivals like Fantastic Fest are made for. They come out of nowhere, sometimes with almost no hype or buzz whatsoever, and the second you walk out of the theater you are part of its promotional campaign. Expect to hear some grumbling over the final few scenes, and a few dodgy fx shots do admittedly briefly jolt you out, but in the final analysis "The Revenant" will stick with most people, and repeat viewings will almost certainly confirm the film's staying power. Think of this one as a delicious steak dinner followed by a lackluster dessert, and you'll probably be in the right frame of mind to enjoy it to the fullest.

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quietearth (11 years ago) Reply

I thought this film had some good comedy but it was few and far between.. I'd give it a 5/10 and wouldn't recommend it.


Anonymous (11 years ago) Reply

Sounds a lot like "Deathdream"

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