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Review: The Revenant (2009)

Director: D. Kerry Prior | 113 minutes | horror, comedy | Actors: David Anders, Annie Abbott, Senyo Amoaku, Anne Arles, Suzan Averitt, Bernardo Badillo, Brooke Bickford, Jakob Bokulich, Amy Correa, Braxton Davis, Don Dunn, Philippe Durand, Mark Elias, Stacy Glassgold, Michael J. Gonzalez, Louise Griffiths, Jennifer Holloway, Clint Jung, Jacy King, Jonathan Mangum, Mike Rad, Jeff Rector, Cathy Shim, Twain Taylor, Emiliano Torres, David Ury, Wally White, Chris Wylde

Quite a few vampire or zombie films have already been produced on this planet, as well as a lot of comic variations on these types of films. So it’s not easy to capture something original in that corner on celluloid. In that respect, “The Revenant” already gets an “A” for effort “, or points for the effort. In “The Revenant,” ex-serviceman Bart (David Anders) comes back from the dead, but he is not brain dead like the average zombie, nor can he have a need for juicy virgins like the average vampire. He is actually exactly the good old Bart as his buddy Joey (Chris Wylde) had “left” him. So when Bart shows up at Chris’ door half rotting, they just try to rationalize everything and (probably) make just as silly, boring jokes as before. The difference is – apart from his unsavory and battered appearance – that Bart cannot keep normal food down. Because yes, unfortunately he does need human blood to stay alive. So they just have to find a morally acceptable way to get it.

In theory, this makes for some comical situations. Like when Bart goes to get blood from a blood bank but does not know which blood type he needs and has to deal with some kind of social worker who thinks he is on drugs or belongs to a cult. Or when Joey plans to lure beggars into the car on the side of the road because no one misses them and they don’t contribute to society, as he argues. But they don’t get any of the bums to want to “work for food” as is written on the cards they hold up by default. They prefer money. In the end, they accidentally found a great way to get human blood: they just stop criminals – murderers, rapists – while breaking the law and use them for blood. A win-win situation. On the one hand, they are superheroes who tackle and on the other, Bart (and later his friend Joey) can stay alive.

Unfortunately it is regrettable that the script has no clear direction and director D. Kelly Prior has taken too much on his plate. Why and how did Bart actually become a zombie? Should a lot of value be attached to the military perspective, and the fact that Bart served in Iraq and has thus become (as) a zombie there? And what about the brief reference to zombies as biological weapons? And why is there any love story in the film at all when hardly anything is done with it. In addition, the “superheroes” angle is potentially amusing but is introduced quite late and the villains that make their appearance are also a great and very credible plot twist, which unfortunately is only used for a very short time. In addition, you can question the main criminals in the film (a black and Latino man), who are portrayed very stereo typically.

The dialogue is often a bit long-winded and lacks the sparkle and intelligence of the work of a Quentin Tarantino or Kevin Smith, who specialize in dry observations and absurd situations. The authors of “The Reverent” clearly want to achieve the same kind of hilarity as in the best work of these specialists, but unfortunately it often has the opposite effect. When Bart visits Joey for the first time and sadly tries to interpret the unreal situation – with “fucking this and fucking that” in succession – it is more tiring than comical.

Fortunately, the special effects and gore and splatter moments worked very well. It is good to see that Prior has a background in special effects (in films like “A Nightmare on Elm Street”). A talking head, stripped of its body, is very convincing (and hilarious how to make it understood by means of a vibrator against its neck), and subtle make-up and effects also work very well.

In principle, the qualities are present, but there is not enough direction. The first half of the film gets off to a slow start and is a bit monotonous – with recurring situations – but in the second half of the film the director more and more releases the brakes, while a little more restriction or realism would have been nice. . For example, the cops in the film are so stupid and incompetent that it gets annoying. They sift through without mercy innocent bystanders with bullets and fail (for a long time) to track down the anti-heroes, even though they drive around in a very striking car with a surfboard on the roof. Still, if the good aspects had been put in the right dose in the film, and some unnecessary, faint moments cut out, “The Revenant” could have been quite a sleeper hit. The film is original enough.

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