Reviewed by: Zombie Boy
D. Kerry Prior
What's it about
A soldier killed in Iraq returns from the dead as a blood-drinking revenantÖand sort of hangs out with his buddy.
Is it good movie?
Staff Sargent Bart Gregory is not having a good few months. Not only did he get shot in the head in Iraq, but after he was shipped home and buried, he rose from the dead as a revenant, hungry for the blood of the living. But itís only after cruising the strip with his best friend Joey that he figures this out: the way he passes into a coma when the sun comes up, and only regains consciousness exactly at dusk; the way he pukes copious amounts of black bile whenever he tries to eat food; and, you know, the fact that heís a rotting corpse. Turns out blood is the only thing that makes him feel, well, alive.
Joey, being the beautiful mess that he is, has no compunctions about helping Bart find a victim to drink. Bart is more reticent. After an altercation with a gang-banger trying to mug them, they figure out how to kill two birds with one stone: vigilantism. They rid the streets of an unsavory element, and get some much needed hemoglobin on which for Bart to nosh. This of course has varied and unforeseen consequences, which tear apart both menís lives. But while this movie is certainly a tragedy, especially the grim ending, the lionís share of the film is more comedic in tone.
Kerry Prior wears many hats on this film: writer, director, producer, VFX, and editor. Which is why the movie, while entertaining, is a bit overlong and tends towards self-indulgence. I also got a heavy Boondock Saints vibe in the second act. But overall the movie is satisfying. There is good chemistry between the actors, the vampire makeups Ė with a clear zombie appeal Ė are well done, and a good deal of comedy is mined from both the situation of waking up dead, and of having your best friend, whose funeral you just attended the night before, show up on your doorstep looking for a couch upon which to crash.
Two side notes: David Anders, as Bart, looks like Giles from BTVS on the DVD cover, but like Bub at the end of the movie. And Bartís last name is Gregory, and a store at which a spoilery thing happens is named Samsaís. And thatís one for the literary crowd.
Video / Audio
Video: 2.35:1, widescreen, enhanced for 16x9 TVs.
Audio: 5.1 Dolby Digital, English only, with optional Spanish subtitles.
Directorís Commentary: Writer/director Kerry Prior sounds very much like a character from this film. Both in his cadence and vernacular. Which I guess makes sense. He starts a little slow, but gets more animated as he warms up. Lots of good production tidbits.
Actorsí Commentary: This commentary includes actors David Anders (Bart), Chris Wylde (Joey), Louise Griffiths (Bartís girlfriend Janet), and Jacy King (Janetís friend Mathilda). This commentary opens with all the actors cracking beers, so you know itís going to be that kind of gig. I am happy they had a good time, but there wasnít much it to which I could listen. They more poke fun at each otherís scenes then reveal any pertinent info.
Making of: This is a 13-minute piece titled Revealing the Revenant. The narration and music are set up like a haunted house, or cryptozoology special, which is an interesting juxtaposition of the straight movie clips and behind the scenes footage.
Deleted Scenes: There are about half a dozen scenes here, totally slightly over 12-minutes. Some of them are kind of funny, but being about two-hours long, they would have really slowed things down in key areas. Stuff like driving to the ER, driving to the Blood Bank, and especially Bart arguing with his girlfriend Janet over his intimacy issues.
Photo Gallery: This is a nice mix of production still and candids, but unfortunately is way too short.
Finally there is a trailer, as well as a collection of other trailers from Lionsgate film.
While the film is a bit long and tends towards self-indulgence, it succeeds both in its comedy and its tragedy, and ultimately is a smart, well-made genre film. And this is coming from a guy who hates vampire films as a rule. What other film gives you an animate severed head thatís voice can only be heard when a vibrator is pressed against its neck? Not many, folks. Iíd definitely recommend this one for a watch.