Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Revenant: Movie Review


Buddy comedy movies are always a good time but more often than not, they usually will follow the same tired storyline filled with sex and weed-related jokes. The horror dramedy, The Revenant, starring David Anders and Chris Wylde, challenges the traditional bromance movie by throwing in death, blood, and zombies, making for a creative and entertaining take on the living dead.

The film opens with soldier, Bart (Anders), following him as he embarks on a night-mission with his fellow comrads in Iraq. When a baby runs out into the middle of the road and Bart fears that his truck has hit it, he immediately gets out to make sure that the child is okay. Upon his exit, Bart is confronted by a group of Iraqi's with guns and he soon realizes that the whole thing was a set up. The soldier is killed and sent back home to be buried; however, he doesn't stay buried.

Following his funeral, Bart awakens, confused and terrified as to what has happened to him. Unsure of what to do, he goes to the only person he knows he can trust: his best friend, Joey (Wylde). Moments after the initial shock and alarm, Joey takes his friend in and vows to help him figure out what is going on. After researching his friend's condition, Joey concludes that Bart is a Revenant, a person who has come back from the dead, similar to a zombie and vampire, and dependent on blood to live.

Not knowing how to take his diagnosis, Bart decides that he doesn't want to kill to get the blood--at least not anyone innocent. After finding themselves at the wrong place at the wrong time several times, Bart concludes that he will become a vigilante "superhero", and begins killing criminals for their blood, all the while having a few good laughs with his best friend.

The Revenant, a 2009 film directed by D. Kerry Prior, is an interesting take on the zombie/vampire craze and it creates a new kind of supernatural creature for people to root for. The main duo are immediately likeable from the moment that they share the screen and each actor plays off the other very well. Anders is perfect as the silent, stern, and by-the-books army soldier while Wydle evens things out and lightens the mood with his humor and bluntness.

Not only are the characters likeable and believable as best buds, Anders does a great job at creating a sense of empathy for Bart, making the audience want him to have his second chance at life, despite the costs it may have on the lives of others. As Bart gets himself deeper and deeper into the situation, putting himself into worst-case scenarios, one cannot help but become anxious and hope for his safety as he navigates through each ordeal.

It's easy to understand what Bart does because in a way, he's doing the right thing. Although he murders people to survive, Bart only goes after individuals who are causing problems on the street, ultimately cleaning up the bad guys and saving innocent lives. The vigilante aspect of the film was unique and fun because Bart was put into interesting situations, resulting in humorous interactions between characters.

It was different to see a zombie/vampire-like character who wasn't lusting after a woman or simply just thirsting for flesh. Bart is one-of-a-kind and actually has a personality, which makes him all the more likeable. The fact that he had an actual purpose and a way of obtaining what he needed makes him stand out among past characters in the genre.

The Revenant isn't all just jokes and gags; the film is lightly sprinkled with social commentary on society and the government, all in the backdrop of a horror about friendship, relationships, and life in general. The friendship between Bart and Joey is the sole driving force of the movie but Bart's way of dealing with his life, his relationship with his girlfriend and his status in the military are big themes throughout the film as well.

The movie is thoroughly enjoyable up until the last half, when things seem to veer off in a different direction and the movie lost the magic that it had created in the beginning. The friendship between the men is tested and some of the decisions that are made don't really make sense, considering how positively their relationship was presented in the beginning. Character choices didn't feel right and they didn't feel like the characters the audience was first introduced too.

Other than a minor road bump toward the end of the film, overall the movie is an enjoyable watch. The ending is questionable and also sad as it comments on how society treats things that we are unsure of. The movie is filled with laughs balanced by sentimental moments between two buddies who are just trying to enjoy their second chance at having the time of their lives together. It's a unique and different take on the living dead and it provides viewers with something new to absorb into their horror-dependent minds. The Revenant is definitely a watch and it will most likely stand the test of time as the quintessential buddy-horror flick.


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