Not to be confused with the recently released zom-com "The" Revenant (read my review of that film, here), just plain old Revenant is anything but old or plain. The story's a classic (author moves into haunted house to write about his experiences) and the look is lo-fi (little computer-aided imagery), but the movie feels fresh and alive, with an undercurrent of true passion from the filmmakers and cast. (In fact, they're intermixed: star Stephen Twardokus is also a co-writer.)
The action follows Paul and Stella (played by Liesel Kopp), a young couple who seeks a haunted house in which to move. This is so Paul's trajectory as a wannabe novelist, which is flagging before its even begun, can get a jolt. He's not shy. The moment he moves into the home where a father murdered his entire family, Paul says, "Show me what you got, house!" And it does… in time. At first, the tortured souls are reluctant to do much more than pop out every now and again (which is enough to scare Stella away), but have much poking, prodding and provoking, things start to turn spooky enough for not just one book, but several sequels.
While some viewers might wonder why Paul would stay inside four walls that're not only haunted, but perhaps dangerously so, I felt as though it was organic to the story: he's been a quitter all his life, and he is finally sticking to a promise he's made to himself. While all these bumps in the night commence and continue, Paul keeps on track with his investigation and writing. He tracks down some previous tenants, and gets an earful from Sue (Wendy Haines), who suffers from post traumatic stress disorder from her time in that house with the entity. But what happens once the mystery is solved? We know who did it, but not why… is this kind of resolution which lays souls to rest, or is it the kind that's better left alone?
Revenant truly is a slow-burn film (to use a term that's been overused; but here, it's no cliché), well-crafted, and the kind of ghost story those who're susceptible to scares will not want to watch alone, or at night with the lights off.
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Reviewed by Staci Layne Wilson