The Revenant is not a zombie movie. A half hour in you might be tempted to think it's a vampire movie, but that notion gets thrown out the window in favor of a little used word used to describe a corporeal being that has risen from the dead yet needs blood to survive. This allows writer/director/producer Kerry Prior to construct his own mythology regarding those nefarious of nightwalkers, which he does so with glee.
The eponymous character is Bart, a soldier killed in a gunfight in Iraq who left behind a devoted girlfriend Janet and best friend Joey, rises from the dead. Dealing with death every sunrise and the uncontrollable urge to projectile vomit black bile, Bart and Joey try to make sense of the situation and figure out just what the Hell is going on, all while enjoying the benefits that come with being unable to die. Chris Wylde looking like a Matrix reject ensures.
The first half of The Revenant is incredibly strong, showcasing Kerry's witty dialogue between Bart and Joey while taking jabs at the likes of Scientology and race relations in seedy LA. Unfortunately, it falls victim to what most horror comedies fall victim to: a strong start, laced with ample amounts of humor and clever dialogue, but ultimately becoming more serious until most of the humor simply disappears. This "problem" is merely subjective, but in the case of The Revenant it manages to be just bothersome, due in no small part to its incredibly long running time. In the end it just plods along, though thankfully culminates in an ending that, despite the transition from buddy comedy to pseudo-serious thriller, is incredibly original and a perfect setup for a sequel.
This transition, however, is also reflected in the characters. As the film progresses, the characters become a little less exciting to watch. David Anders, who plays the titular character, manages to remain convincing throughout the film, while Chris Wylde embraces his character to the point where he just becomes annoying. He undergoes a drastic change in personality, and you just want to reach through the screen and punch his Matrix-channeling face (you'll get it when you see it). The rest of the cast serves it purposes, especially Janet's friend Matty, a colorful Wiccan nurse who seems to be the only who sees the walking dead as an actual problem.
The Revenant sports a solid first half, providing ample laughs and excellent interaction between the two main characters before a drawn out second half that has you looking at your watch. Prior certainly had a good idea, one that was highly unique, but wound up being incredibly overeager. Still, despite the negatives, The Revenant is an impressive outing from a man who prior directorial effort was thirteen years earlier in 1996.