The Movie Waffler New Release Review [Shudder] - REVEALER | The Movie Waffler

New Release Review [Shudder] - REVEALER

revealer review
A stripper and a religious protester must work together to survive the apocalypse.

Review by Eric Hillis

Directed by: Luke Boyce

Starring: Caito Aase, Shaina Schrooten, Bishop Stevens, Buzz Leer, Phil Bogdan, Sammy DelPurgatorio

revealer poster

Reminding us that America's culture wars didn't begin with the election of Trump, director Luke Boyce's Revealer plays out its culture clash in 1987. This was the era of the Satanic Panic, a time when conservative Christians were blaming everything from Heavy Metal to Dungeons & Dragons for the ills of society. Boyce's film may be set in the '80s, but its not so subtle dialogue makes it clear it's addressing issues that continue to divide America. You can't help but assume the '80s setting exists merely to do away with the storytelling inconveniences of cellphones and wifi, and perhaps add a bit of neon sheen.

That neon sheen is provided by the day-glo lighting of Revealers, a strip joint on the outskirts of Chicago. There we find Angie (Caito Aase), a stripper who begs for an extra shift in a peep show booth to earn some cash to help take care of her nephew. To get to work Angie has to run the gauntlet through an angry mob of Christian protesters, including the young Sally (Shaina Schrooten), who seems to take a personal interest in trying to save the stripper's soul.

revealer review

As Angie gets to work grinding her body in the booth, outside all Hell is breaking loose. Literally. It's the biblical apocalypse, the day of reckoning, judgement day, all that fire and brimstone stuff made real. Sally manages to find her way into Revealers and take shelter, only to find it seems herself and Angie may be the only two people left alive in Chicago. Can they put their differences aside and work together to find a way out?

You have to admit Revealer has a cracking premise, one that should allow for high-concept filmmaking on a low budget. But this sort of movie relies on the witty interplay between its mismatched protagonists. The script, by comics writers Tim Seeley and Michael Moreci, never manages to exploit the potential humour of its novel setup. We go into Revealer expecting witty banter between its leads, but instead we find that the film serves as a crude mouthpiece for a series of stock liberal atheist talking points.

revealer review

The effect is akin to a lecture, with Angie constantly berating Sally over her perceived hypocrisy of Christians. Sally never really gets to put her point of view across, because the film doesn't want her to. As a non-believer who has had many a drunken debate with religious folks, I can tell you they certainly don’t shy away from sticking up for their beliefs and arguing their case, and nor should they. It's clear from the start that the movie is taking Angie's side, which is perfectly fine (it's the same side this writer would take on such matters), but its one-sided argument becomes so over-bearing that even if, like me, you agree with everything she says, it all becomes tiresome. I can only imagine what a Christian viewer might make of the film.

I don’t believe in God and I don’t have a religious bone in my body, but if I found myself in the middle of an apocalypse where demons from Hell were literally chasing me in order to steal my soul, I would probably have to hold my hands up and admit that Christians might have been onto something after all. Even while all this is going on, Angie still argues that the Bible is nonsense. Look around girl, there's a big demon with horns behind you!

revealer review

Aase and Schrooten display enough chemistry to suggest that had they been gifted a better script, Revealer could have been a winning horror-comedy. With the movie essentially confined to one location and most of the chaos happening offscreen, the weight really falls on their shoulders, and they deserve better. Ultimately Angie and Sally are stock stereotypes, the stripper with a heart of gold and the religious girl who may not be as prim and proper as she makes out. While we've seen those characters before, we've never quite seen them paired in a scenario like this, so it really is a shame that Revealer couldn't make something interesting of this premise.

Revealer has a message about not judging people, but it's a hypocritical message, as the filmmakers have clearly judged those whose views don’t align with their own. What's revealed most of all here is its anti-religious bias.

 is on Shudder from June 23rd.

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