Actually filmed in 2009, it is a surprise that The Revenant wasn’t released earlier. In the spirit of Shaun of the Dead, The Revenant is a zombie horror comedy with a sub-plot of romance. In fact it ‘s even more of a mash-up of genres, including military and action films.
When Bart (Anders) is shot and killed whilst on a tour of duty in Iraq, he is bought back home to be buried. His friends, family and grieving girlfriend Janet (Griffiths) are all in attendance. When the funeral is over everyone leaves, but Bart’s tombstone is left unplanted as the digger carrying it breaks down. Once night falls Bart comes back to life and breaks out of his coffin. Dropping in on his best friend, Joey (Wylde), they are able to ascertain via a process of elimination that Bart is not a vampire or a zombie, but a revenant, meaning Bart has come back as an articulate, reanimated corpse who needs to drink blood to survive. However, when the sun rises, he returns to a corpse-like state until night falls again.
After stealing plasma from a blood bank, Bart and Joey end up taking out a gang member who shoots Bart, and the dead mugger becomes his next source of food. It is at this point that the two main protagonists decide to become vigilantes who target the scum of LA – in a bid to rid the streets of criminals, providing Bart with a steady stream of fresh blood at the same time. Imagine Bart as an undead Kick-Ass without the martial arts, and you’re not too far off. Soon enough, Joey is mortally wounded and Bart brings him back to life. It’s at this point where things go pear-shaped for the dynamic duo, as those close to them start to die and the two fall out, shooting each other multiple times, even though they know they can’t die.
The previous actions of the pair catch up to Joey and there’s a scene that has to go down as one of the most original uses for a vibrator in a horror film you are ever likely to see. Bart’s world collapses around him and the final act seems strangely out of kilter with the tone of the rest of the film, but it doesn’t suffer as a result. There are hinted sub-plots about addiction and morality that add layers to the tale, but if delved into any further, would have dragged the film down.
The filmmakers have created a strange hybrid movie that works very well and suffers from very few lulls or troughs in its nearly two hour running time. You can’t help but connect to the two main leads and enjoy their adventures and, even when the film suddenly turns jet black in tone in the final act, it works well. The viewer is thrown around quite a bit with the changes in pace and genre, but it is a pleasure to witness a horror film not just playing it safe. It may be missing some of the British charm of Shaun, but The Revenant is a lot of fun and well worth your time.
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