The Revenant is a film that I’ve been excited to see for nearly 3 years. With a production date of 2009, the film sat on the shelf, making only a few festival appearances. Eventually it was released on DVD and Blu Ray in other territories. This, naturally, led to torrents of the movie to start popping up. I vowed not to watch this thing, until it received a legitimate stateside release. After all, what good is it to talk about a great movie that nobody can even see(legitimately)? That time has finally come, and after receiving a screener in the mail, I decided it was time to give it a go.The first thing I’d like to mention, is the fact that what little marketing The Revenant has received, I feel is misleading. Even the word-of-mouth led me to believe that this was going to be a different kind of movie than it was. If you were to venture onto the IMDB message boards, you would think that this is one of the best, unheard of zombie films to be released in recent years. The only problem with that suggestion, is that its not a zombie movie at all. I’m not sure how one could even mistake it for being such. It’s not even a “walks the line” type of zombie movie like 28 Days Later, where technically there are no zombies, but clearly it’s a zombie movie. If The Revenant is anything, it’s one of the more unique vampire films I’ve seen lately. In all honest though, this is a completely different beast.
While it would be safe in my opinion, to classify The Revenant as a vampire film, that is not to say that the film is formulaic in that regard. I had never even heard of a revenant until seeing this movie. I might be a movie nerd, but I’m not into D&D, Magic: The Gathering, nor did I do any kind of vampiristic role playing as a teen. I’m just your average, bearded, angry Irish male, who happens to have an unhealthy obsession with movies. A revenant, apparently, is similar to a vampire. Though, some lore depicts the creature as more of a ghost than anything else. Essentially, a revenant is a ghost, or a reanimated corpse that decomposes unless it drinks human blood. Sounds like a vampire, right? Yeah, that’s what I thought to.
The story follows an Army transport driver named Bart, played by David Anders. If you’re as big of a narrative TV nerd as I am, you’ll recognize David from his role as Julian Sark in JJ Abrahms hit spy series, Alias. Bart is on a late-night drive, when he sudden sees a child in the middle of the road. Despite protocol dictating that you never stop the vehicle on the road at night, regardless of what happens, Bart gets out to see if he actually did just hit a child. It turns out to be an ambush, and Bart is killed in action. At his funeral, we’re introduced to his best friend Joey, played by Chris Wylde, who you’ll undoubtedly recognize, but not know from where until you IMDB his name. Joey is crashed out from a long night of drinking, and fucking Bart’s grieving girlfriend, when he hears a knock at the door. Joey is a little more than shocked to see his dead friend standing at his doorstep. From this moment on we follow the duo, as they attempt to identify the reason as to why Bart is back, and ultimately, figure out what to do about it.
The Revenant is really one hell of a dark comedy. And, when I say dark, I mean it really does go to some dark places. Despite being a buddy comedy at its core, there isn’t much lightheartedness to the film at all. When Bart first comes back from the dead, there are a few cheesy gags. And, Chris Wylde’s sarcastic performance may lighten up the mood a bit at first, but for the most part, there’s a very “black” sense of humor about the whole film. I’m not going to go into any more detail than I already have, as I’d hate to spoil a movie that some people have been waiting for so long to see. But, suffice it to say, my expectations were met, and exceeded. The Revenant will be in select theaters, and on VOD beginning August 24th. If I had the ability to see this movie with an audience, I would be all over it.