The Revenant (2009)
By: Devon B. on February 19, 2012  | 
Eagle | Region 4, PAL | 2.35:1 (16:9 enhanced) | English DD 5.1 | 112 minutes (Full Specs)
The Movie
Cover Art
Director: D. Kerry Prior
Starring: David Anders, Chris Wylde, Louise Griffiths, Jacy King
Screenplay: D. Kerry Prior
Country: USA
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While I thought the Masters of Horror TV series was wildly uneven, one of the standout episodes was Joe Dante's Homecoming, a political zombie story. I thought The Revenant would be a retread of the themes from Homecoming, but was pleased to find there's not a lot of similarity between the two stories, except for the obvious plot point of a dead army guy coming back to life. I was alarmed at first when The Revenant opened in the Iraq war with soldiers conducting a political debate, but almost immediately after the first scene the politics are left behind.

As I said, the film starts in Iraq, with our hero being killed under strange circumstances. After an odd eulogy where the priest essentially tells the congregation that their loved one is doomed to go to Hell, the soldier proves him wrong and awakens. Luckily for the soldier it was before his grave was filled, so he's able to just hop right out without a lot of annoying digging. He heads to his friend's house and the pair of them try to work out what's going on. The solider needs blood to survive, so the pair decide he's probably a vampire, but he naturally balks at killing people to drink their blood. It happens much latter in the film so I wouldn't normally divulge this plot point, but given all the advertising seems to focus on it, I guess it's safe to say that eventually the soldier decides to use his new undead skills to become a vigilante and fight crime so he can feel good about the blood he's drinking.

Not owing as much to Homecoming as I thought it would was a nice surprise, but The Revenant did feel very familiar to me at any rate. Monstrous vigilantes are nothing new, as Troma would proudly attest, and consuming the naughty is very Little Shop of Horrors. The Revenant does have a fresh take on some things, though, including the condition which the soldier suffers from. There're certainly some amusing moments, but early on the film develops some major pacing problems and ultimately the movie could've lost 20 minutes. The movie's all right, but the script really needed another draft or two to tighten things up, because, undead vigilantism aside, there is some really improbable plotting. The pacing and script issues can be overlooked once the premise is set up and the film starts to get interesting, but unfortunately the movie gets pretentious and dull towards the end and I was left with an overall impression that it was merely mediocre.

This impression isn't entirely fair. The film doesn't look like it cost a lot of money, but production values are usually decent. Some of the acting's shit, but the leads are mostly fine, even when struggling with forced dialogue. Some of the FX work, particularly the understated FX, work really well. And some of the recurring things, like stabs at all sorts of systems of belief, work pretty well. It's just a shame the movie as a whole didn't gel.
The Revenant has some video haze and at times looks very video, but it's otherwise a clean and clear print. The movie looks lower budget, but that wouldn't be a flaw in the transfer. There is some slight edge enhancement at times, but the transfer is mostly good.
The DVD includes both a 5.1 or a DTS 5.1 track to choose from. I flipped between the two for comparison, and found the DTS had a bit more punch, but not as much as I would've expected. The DTS is by no means a reference track, and it's not that different from the normal 5.1 mix. I wasn't immersed in the DTS track, but I didn't find it distractingly bad as I could hear everything I needed to.
Extra Features
The main extra is a commentary with writer/director D. Kerry Prior. He mentions an actors' commentary track but the disc didn't have one. His information wavers between being interesting and being nonsense, and he unfortunately loses steam as he goes along so he tends more towards the later. He does describe a bit of the differences between this cut of the film and festival cut, and I have to say the festival cut sounds better. There's also a 12 ½ minute making of that has a lot of tongue in cheek humour. Lastly there're trailers for Blood Fight, Mr Nice, Warlord, Jabberwock, Set Up and Dead Heads.
The Verdict
The Revenant isn't bad, but gets bogged down in its own self indulgence. It's definitely one of the better post Shaun of the Dead undead comedies, but that's not really such a milestone.
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score

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