Susan Granger’s review of “The Revenant” (Paladin/Lightning Entertainment)
This horror comedy begins as an American soldier, Private Bart Gregory (David Anders), is ambushed and killed on a routine patrol in Iraq. After his body is shipped home to Los Angeles and buried, he rises from the grave and goes to look for his slacker buddy, Joey (Chris Wylde), who opportunistically bedded Bart’s grieving girl-friend, Janet (Louise Griffiths), right after the funeral. Stunned to see him on his doorstep, Joey bongs Bart with a baseball bat.
“You look awful,” Joey notes, observing his friend’s decaying corpse. But that’s not surprising since Bart has become a “revenant,” a sort of undead zombie/vampire hybrid with an insatiable thirst for blood. “I’m kind of decomposing,” Bart apologetically explains. So their first-stop is at the hospital blood-bank.
“I can’t indiscriminately dole out blood to every strung-out buffoon who wanders in off the streets,” protests the technician (Yvette Freeman), who thinks Bart is part of some weird, possibly satanic cult. “Have you heard about Dianetics?”
Preying on the homeless is next, but then they happen to witness a convenience store robbery and kill the thief, providing both a public service and supplying Bart with the blood he needs so as not to continue rotting. That’s how Bart and Joey become vigilante gunslingers, roaming the streets at night, stopping crimes and wreaking revenge on the offenders. After biting their heads off (lest they become revenge-seeking revenants too), the vigilantes toss the body parts – since, in one ill-fated encounter, Joey also becomes a revenant.
Obviously influenced by “Shaun of the Dead,” writer/director D. Kerry Prior (“The Phantasm” franchise, “Starship Troopers,” “Air Force One”) relies too much on his visual and special effects background because he obviously lacks experience in pacing, as scene after scene drags on far too long. David Anders (“The Vampire Diaries”) and Chris Wylde (“The Ten”) make their undead, immortal protagonists as ingratiating as possible, under the circumstances.
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “The Revenant” is a ghoulishly repetitive, gore-laden 4, a flimsy fright farce that eventually becomes the walking dud.