The Revenant DVD Review
Written and directed by Kerry Prior
2009, Region 2 (PAL), 110 minutes, Rated 15 (UK)
DVD released on April 2nd 2012
David Anders as Bart
Chris Wylde as Joey
Jacy King as Mathilda
Louise Griffiths as Janet
On paper The Revenant should be chock-full of awesome. Two buddies become undead vigilantes and use their inability to die as an advantage against the dregs of society. Sounds great, right? Not so much. This should have been Kick Ass with zombies, but it turns out to be a bit of a mess.
As The Revenant opens it finds Bart (David Anders) on a tour of duty with the Army in Iraq. On a nighttime journey, the truck he’s driving hits what appears to be a child. Ignoring his superior’s orders to maintain protocol and keep the truck moving, he goes to investigate. Through his night-vision goggles he sees the child is still alive… and accompanied by armed insurgents. BOOM! Headshot.
Back in the USA, Bart’s military funeral is attended by friends and family who mourn his passing. However, that night Bart crawls out of his handily unfilled grave and returns home to see best friend Joey (Chris Wylde), who is naturally disturbed to see Bart up and about. After some internet research, Joey reveals that Bart is a Revenant: a dead body returned to the earth in corporeal form.
The guys hang out together like the old friends they are until Bart’s thirst for blood becomes too much. To avoid decomposing, he must drink the blood of the living during the hours of night. From dawn to sunset, he returns to being a lifeless corpse. It’s not all bad though, his new-found state means he can’t be killed, so the pair embarks on some gung-ho vigilantism to clean the streets and provide Bart with a midnight snack.
The Revenant’s biggest crime is that it tries to do far too much in the space of one movie. There are some great ideas behind the story, but trying to cram a love-story, bromance and comedy action piece into one film feels like overkill in this instance. Considering the Pierce Brothers pulled this off perfectly with Deadheads, there’s really no excuse why it shouldn’t have been done.
My major gripe with The Revenant is the casting of Chris Wylde as slacker best friend Joey. I normally enjoy this kind of character and usually they never fail to bring the funny as the light relief in these situations. Maybe it’s what Wylde brings to the character, maybe it’s the script he’s been given, but he’s a massive irritant. Most of his humour consists of screaming “Dude! What the fuck? Oh fuck gross! Fuck!” whenever Bart does anything befitting the undead. Every single line he utters is peppered with F-bombs to the point of ridiculousness. I don’t mind profanity, far from it, but it needs to be written and delivered in the right way to work. FX artist turned writer and director Kerry Prior has to carry the blame for much of this.
Bart’s girlfriend Janet (Lousie Griffiths) is there to provide a love interest, but she is insipid and uninteresting with a complete lack of selling the emotion of a bereaved partner reunited. Ironically, one of the few interesting characters is Janet’s friend Mathilda (Jacy King), who provides information on the dark side with her interest in the Wiccan religion. Sadly, she’s not in the film nearly enough to make an impact.
The film pushes two hours running time – far too long for this type of feature – with David Anders having to carry the production on his capable shoulders. While he’s likable enough to believe in, the rest of the cast, the story and direction aren’t up to scratch to bring any significant entertainment value. Too many good ideas lost in an unsatisfactory mix make The Revenant one to avoid.
Video and Audio:
The 2.35:1 widescreen picture shows no problems, and the slimy underbelly of the city is shown in impressive quality. The 5.1 audio mix isn't anything special, but does the job with no issues.
The special features include a bunch of deleted scenes which should have been more. The film is overlong at 110 minutes, and there's still an awful lot that should've been extras rather than in the main feature. A behind the scenes featurette runs about 13 minutes and features, mostly, Chris Wylde saying "fuck" a lot. Again. Presumably it's for people who didn't get enough of that in the film. As a documentary, it's pretty poor, giving little insight into the filmmaking process or any of the issues encountered. Finally there are three, count them, feature commentaries: the first is with director Kerry Prior, the second with the actors David Anders, Chris Wylde, Louise Griffiths and Jacy King. Finally there's also one with the visual effects artists. Everyone wants to say something about the film.