The zompire or zombie/vampire film from Lionsgate Home Entertainment, The Revenant has finally made its way to DVD. Filmed around Los Angeles and in Iran, the movie was originally released in 2009, and won awards for director, Kerry Prior, the actors, David Anders and Chris Wylde, and the film itself from a number of horror film festivals. In anticipation of the DVD release, a limited theatrical release from Lightning Entertainment began on August 24 2012.
David Anders is probably best known for his roles in ABC’c Sunday night fairy tale series, Once Upon a Time and the now completed Heroes series. In The Revenant, Anders plays Bart Gregory, a soldier who dies overseas under strange circumstances while on patrol. Of the whole collage of horror that The Revenant is, this scene is the most different. From there, his body is flown back to the United States where his funeral is attended by his cynical and stoner best friend played by Chris Wylde and beautiful but slightly neurotic girlfriend, Janet, played by Louise Griffiths.
As those closest to Bart finally make peace with him being gone, Bart wakes up in the morgue. It doesn’t take him long to figure out that something is wrong. With nowhere else to go, Bart makes his way to his best friend’s apartment. Though, he’s a zombie, Bart discovers that he needs blood to survive and in addition to passing out at sunrise, he has some other vampiric abilities. Ironically, in trying to figure out Bart’s affliction, the term zombie is never even contemplated. What ensues is the inevitable exploitation of his abilities, the costs associated with those actions and Bart’s struggle to maintain his personal relationships despite the circumstances.
Though the film meanders from time to time, David Anders pulls off his role expertly and Chris Wylde is often a scene stealer. Violent and gory but not without humor, The Revenant manages to find a path somewhere between the late Tony Scott’s version of The Hunger and Simon Pegg’s Shaun of the Dead. The dialogue writing makes up for any rough edges the film has and keeps pace with the standards set by Kevin Smith, Quentin Tarantino, and Pegg. A buddy flick at heart, the movie’s over the top approach to gore doesn’t ever mute the humanity. The ending in particular is a sobering bookend to The Revenant’s wild ride.
The Revenant DVD itself is a competent 16:9 widescreen transfer with sharp definition and color and well mixed Dolby Digital audio. The Lionsgate release of the film includes a few special features including two audio commentaries. One commentary features director Kerry Prior and the other allows cast members David Anders and Chris Wylde to offer their insights. A ‘making of’ featurette, a handful of deleted scenes and a photo gallery round out the rest of the extras. Though not necessary to watch, the deleted scenes do help fill in a few of the holes in what is surprisingly entertaining story. Fans of horror films that haven’t yet had a chance to see The Revenant should definitely add it to their list.