Directed by Luke Boyce.
Starring Caito Aase, Shaina Schrooten, Bishop Stevens.
Horror, US, 86 minutes.
Streaming on Shudder from 23rd June.
Set in 1987 REVEALER tells the tale of stripper Angie and the evangelical Sally. Circling each other since school, Angie delights in Sally’s puritanical disapproval of her lifestyle. A disapproval that Sally makes obvious by protesting outside the bar where Angie makes a living. The two women soon have to rely on each other when the apocalypse begins, forcing Sally inside while Angie tries to work out how to escape the confines of her strippers booth which she now finds herself trapped in. As the apocalypse gains pace the two women realise they must overcome their prejudices of each other as all manner of demons descend upon the dingy bar.
REVEALER misfires its simple yet intriguing premise on a number of levels. Whether its conceptually, thematically or even technically. In an age where women’s rights are more under fire than ever in America, a film where women debate over the use of their bodies seems more than relevant at this current moment in time. Although made at the height of the pandemic, a fact that shows itself far too easily due to its limited cast and unimaginative use of its single location, such issues were even in play back then so for REVEALER to go no further than its odd couple set-up with no real point of view on either side displays a crippling lack of awareness or insight on the part of director Luke Boyce and scriptwriters Tim Seeley and Mike Moreci, who have carved out far more impressive work with their comic book careers.
It is a surprise to see Seeley drop the ball so spectacularly here. A cult name due to his work on HACK/SLASH, a series that flipped slasher film stereotypes on its head, the characterisation on display here is thinner than paper. As Angie, Caito Aase is given very little to work with beyond delivering quip laden dialogue that falls flat every time and Shaina Schrooten’s performance as Sally never goes beyond the surface cliches of her 80’s wardrobe.
Why the film is set in that now over exposed decade is also a mystery. As stated before the issues that the film pretends to look at are as relevant now more than ever so it feels that the decision to make it a period piece is just to trot out another unmemorable synthwave soundtrack and to drench everything in neon lighting in the name of played out nostalgia. Both pointless and unimaginative with his direction, Luke Boyce has taken something as interesting as a biblical apocalypse and sucked it dry of any dramatic potential or threat. For a horror film about a stripper trying to survive the end of days there is no tension, urgency or drama let alone flesh, blood or gore.
There is a hint of an interesting premise that plays out over the end credits that would have made for something more entertaining than the previous eighty plus minutes and that seems to sum up this toothless film’s problems neatly. More concentration and effort seem to have gone into that than the actual film that comes before it. Maybe Boyce and his collaborators will get it the right way around next time.