MOVIE: *** (out of 5)
DVD EXPERIENCE: *** (out of 5)
BY KEVIN CARR
Even though I am an unabashed fan of the horror genre, I’ve been tired of zombie movies since the 1980s. I just don’t think there’s a whole lot of new material that can be mined from them. Sure, in the early 2000s, there was a brief surge of new ideas, often in the zom com category with “Shaun of the Dead” and “Fido.” And there was also an offshoot of outbreak films (that zombie purists would tell you aren’t really zombie movies) with “[REC],” “Quarantine” and “28 Days Later.”
Still, zombie movies tend to be a bit boring to me if it’s just about a bunch of people running away from monsters we’ve seen before. The modern zombie movie’s heart and soul is in the people trying to survive, and sadly those characters are often poorly written and, frankly, full of dumbasses. That’s part of the reason why I loathe “The Walking Dead.”
However, every now and then, I run across a film that defies the genre and tries something different. Movies like “American Zombie” and even “Dylan Dog: Dead of Night” have attempted to tell the story from the zombie’s point of view, but I haven’t seen it done as effectively as the new film “The Revenant.”
The aforementioned zombie purists might take issue with me classifying “The Revenant” as a zombie film because it’s really a revenant film, in which revenants are ancient legends where vampire lore comes from. However, as constructed, “The Revenant” fits better in to the zombie hierarchy.
The story follows Bart Gregory (David Anders) a U.S. soldier who is killed in the Middle East. His body is shipped home, and he is given a funeral, but he ends up coming back to life as a revenant, which is a cursed soul who comes back to life with a thirst for human blood. Instead of just turning into the monster, Bart channels his powers into something productive. Along with his best friend, he becomes a street vigilante, choosing his victims by pronouncing criminals guilty on the spot.
This is one of the more unique approaches to such a story, and for that reason, I respect the hell out of it. In fact, it gives an honestly realistic view of what one might go through if he found out he was one of the walking dead. For those who remember the film “Chronicle” earlier this year, which I hated with a passion, this movie plugs a lot of the holes that I saw in terms of what someone might do were they granted such “powers.”
The film isn’t perfect, and it does fall apart near the end, but the zany comedy angle throughout much of the movie gives it an interesting diversion from your humdrum zombie comedy… or your humdrum zombie standard.
There’s a basic selection of special features on this disc, including an audio commentary with director Kerry Prior, a second audio commentary with the cast, the trailer, deleted scenes, a photo gallery and a making-of featurette.