Revelation Trail

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A preacher and a marshal in the American Old West are forced to reexamine their lives when a horde of zombies destroy their town and send them both on the run.

Zombies and preachers go together about as well as zombies and anyone else, meaning as long as the preacher’s not trying to bash our skull in or doesn’t factor as the key ingredient in dinner, we get along just fine. I’ve mentioned before that there happen to be religious zombies, so of course there are zombies who go to church, as well as there being zombies among the clergy themselves. We tried to do our own zombie churches that were for the undead only, but two problems arose, one, there weren’t enough church going zombies to justify undead only churches, and two, of those that were church going, they felt it was kind of wrong to not allow anyone looking for god into their church, so the whole thing was scrapped in favor of churches that weren’t so segregated. Sometimes it works out alright, sometimes it ends with pitchforks, torches, and lots of angry curse words, either way, the religious among zombiekind prefer to keep it as it is, not letting lifeist meatsacks scare them away. Personally, I’m not a big church person, the singing always scared me away, but good on them for sticking to their guns, and good on those preachers who aren’t among the living dead but have no problem preaching to them. This zombie salutes you. Now the preacher in Revelation Trail, I think he’d sooner blast a zombie than try and help him reach salvation, though the two might be one and the same to him.

Our story begins in the American Old West with a town preacher taking in two members of his congregation, Isaiah and Jakob, two criminals known for being troublemakers among the town. What he doesn’t realize is that Isaiah and Jakob murdered and brutalized a family before hitting the road, but not before Jakob was bitten by one of the family members he believed to be among the deceased. Though Jakob nearly gives away their crime, the preacher allows them to stay in his barn, away from his own family, where an enraged Isaiah murders his partner and hides the body. Jakob reanimates the very next day, attacking the preacher’s family and sending him into town to look for help, he instead runs into a zombified Isaiah shambling through the town’s main street, puts him down, and is locked up by the town lawman, Marshal Edwards. Being a friend to the preacher, Edwards goes out to the preacher’s farm to check on the man’s wife and child but finds them already among the living dead and now accompanied by an ever growing zombie horde. Edwards heads back to town as quickly as he can, springing the preacher from jail upon his arrival, and the pair head into the woods as chaos overtakes the place they once called home. Together they travel the countryside where the preacher begins to feel that he has another purpose in life, to send the undead for final judgement, as he believes that being a zombie is the result of being trapped between heaven and hell and only when he’s destroyed their bodies will the dead finally be able to face judgement. Marshal Edwards could care less as long as they find the occasional bottle of whiskey along the way. They don’t have to wander for long though, eventually coming across a military fort that’s been taken over by a group of civilians just trying to survive with the help of their leader Samuel Beard, but Beard doesn’t seem to be who he says he is, and the man’s grasp on sanity is obviously slipping, threatening not only the safety of those inside, but the preacher’s mission to save the undead.

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{That shovel might just become the preacher’s best friend}

You might have noticed something while reading that plot description, the fact that other people get named, but the preacher is only ever referenced by his title. That’s because as far as I know, he doesn’t have a name, he’s only ever referred to as “the Preacher.” I’m sure the people in town, his family, and the marshal all knew his name, but we the audience are never given it. I thought it actually worked pretty well for the movie, gave Revelation Trail an old school western feel like some of the old Clint Eastwood movies where he was given a title like the Stranger, the Drifter, or the Chair Whisperer. That was something that Revelation Trail succeeded in doing, making a zombie movie and a spaghetti western merge so perfectly that what came out was neither and yet both, a spaghetti zombie western. Everything from the sets to the costumes (which due to budget constraints had to be made out of existing clothing) is perfectly done, and even the dialogue seemed to line up to what was appropriate for the time with only a few mistakes here and there that were thrown in for, mostly, dramatic effect. Zombies in the American Old West is something this zombie would like to see more of.

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{Zombie Preacher vs. The Preacher: Revelation Trail 2}

The heart of the movie is the team of the preacher and Marshal Edwards. There’s a great dichotomy between the two characters with the preacher being far too idealistic, letting his principles blind him to the reality of the world as it is, while Edwards has a more realistic view of the world that has led to a fatalistic approach to life which causes him to give in to his hopelessness at times. The two play off of each other well, Marshal being able to do what’s necessary at any given time and the preacher keeping Marshal from falling too deep into his hopelessness. They work together to shore up what the other is lacking, and I thoroughly enjoyed their pairing. Though it was their team up that I enjoyed the most, each was a good character on their own. The preacher is a more serious character, a deep thinker with a lot of heart but who seems to see the world through rose colored glasses, and Marshal Edwards is more of a cynical smartass with a good sense of humor and laid back attitude but whose hopelessness is constantly threating to consume him. The only problem I had with them comes more from Daniel Britt’s (Marshal Edwards) performance than anything else. While Daniel Van Thomas tends to keep his portrayal of the preacher reserved, Britt tends to ham it up, going a little over the top and cheesier than it needed to be. The pair were nearly perfect, evidenced by the fact that despite a good chuck of the film focusing on just the two of them, Revelation Trail was still enjoyable, I just wish Britt had held back a little bit.

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{These two are a great pair}

The makeup effects for Revelation Trail where phenomenal, showcasing some great work with both the zombies and the gore. The zombies looked outstanding, some were fresher with only a few wounds received before death while others were rotted and falling apart, their bodies a mess of ruined flesh and decay, but they all looked fantastic. Revelation Trail isn’t a gorefest, but it does have its bloody moments were you can expect an abundance gory goodness as zombies are destroyed and the living are devoured. I was immensely impressed with both the zombie makeup and gore, but I did have a couple of problems with the zombies. One was this stupid hissing they did throughout the flick, something that seemed more likely to show up in a vampire parody film than a serious zombie movie. It was akin to the vampire hiss from 30 Days of Night only even more annoying and silly, which is saying something considering how silly the hissing was in that movie. The zombie actors do a great job, giving some very haunting portrayals, but the hissing ruins their performances by making those haunting portrayals just silly. The other thing that bugged me about them was how some were fast while a majority were slow. I already have my issues with fast moving zombies, but I’m usually more forgiving with it should their speed be given a reason. There is no reason here, some were slow because they were slow, others were fast because the director needed them to be fast. It would have been better if there was some kind of consistency to their speed.

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{This is why you don’t let your grass get too crazy}

Despite my, admittedly minor, complaints, Revelation Trail was still a pretty decent flick that blended the western and zombie genres together well. It’s not a must see movie, but I’d still recommend giving it a chance.

 

The Undead Review

 

Directed By: John P. Gibson

Starring: Daniel Van Thomas (Alien Rising, Deadly Famous), Daniel Britt (The Good Fight, Turned), Robert Valentine

Written By: John P. Gibson (Happiless), Blake Armstrong, Daniel Van Thomas

Released By: Living End Productions, Extra Life Media, an Entertainment One

Release Year: 2013

Release Type: Straight to Video

MPAA Rating: Rated R

Rotten Heads: Three and a Half Heads Out of Five

About The Undead Review

When I was alive I was an asshole and after I died remained pretty much the same, if not a little worse. You’d think becoming a member of the walking dead would mellow a person out, no more worrying about awkward small talk with people, no more having to be politically correct, and the entire world is your upright, bipedal buffet. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fun as hell to be a zombie, just somewhat irritating at times, especially those times you have to watch a lame movie or read a lame book. Thankfully, when I am forced to watch these films or read those books, I’ve got places like The Undead Review to bitch and moan to my heart’s content. {When he’s not devouring the living or sinking his teeth into a good film The Undead Review (Andy Taylor) spends his time writing his own stories or hunting down the paranormal. Oh, and did we mention his blind dog once saved the world?)
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