SDCC Offsite : The Revenant screening
David Anders plays Bart Gregory
One of the many new movies using Comic Con to build interest is Kerry Prior’s 2009 zombie buddy movie The Revenant, which finally has a theatrical release this August. Director Prior and the four main cast members were on hand to talk about the making of the film and answer some audience questions at the Gaslamp Theatre on (fittingly) Friday 13th.
Starring David Anders (Heroes, Alias) as a soldier who is killed in action only to return from the dead and cause problems for his loved ones, The Revenant is just different enough from the rest of the zombie movie crowd to become a cult hit. Bart Gregory is killed on duty in Iraq and returned home where he manages to crawl out of his own grave and hook up with his best friend Joey. Realising that Bart needs to drink human blood to survive the two become vigilantes, killing gang bangers, robbers and rapists and using their blood for sustenance before dumping the bodies in the river. However their crimes come back to bite then, literally, when their victims also begin to rise from the dead.
The Revenant is laugh out loud funny, different, and has a strong beating heart which makes you root for the main characters no matter how depraved they become. David Anders gets to showcase his comedy talents alongside a final act performance which is a true tear jerker. Chris Wylde gives the traditionally affable best buddy role a smart twist which taps into some real darkness and creates a strong central conflict between the two male leads. Louise Griffiths and Jacy King provide a taste of the real world as Bart’s heartbroken girlfriend and cynical Wiccan friend.
Brilliant special effects, plenty of laughs and great chemistry between the two leading actors combine to make this the American Shaun of the Dead. The spin on the normal zombie/vampire film which sees the two main characters having to first decipher what the rules are of Bart’s particular affliction dispenses with any tedious exposition on mythology. Instead it’s a mixture of internet research and guesswork which leads to the establishment of a new type of vampire - glassy clouded eyes and no fangs, which means there are some really creepy scenes of Anders literally sucking the blood out of open wounds. The make-up and effects bely the film’s small budget - in particular the make-up on murdered gang member Miguel is something to behold. The entire movie has a kind of grimy look to it, from Joey’s filthy apartment to the blood and gore which constantly cover the main characters. The only time this lets up is at the film’s chilling epilogue, which I won’t spoil for you.
Your correspondent with David Anders
However the thing which sets The Revenant apart is the license it gives for the main characters to show and convey deep emotion. Zombie movies, and especially those with male leads, rarely allow for much emotional range but the affecting final act will stay with you long after the credits roll. There’s a real sadness to the film which is beautifully played by Anders in particular.
Completed in 2009, The Revenant has only just been given a distribution deal, and is released in August in the USA rated R.