Movie Review: “The Apostate: Call Of The Revenant”

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Review by James McDonald

A man is found crawling around, covered in his own blood, in a disused underground car park. But he’s not alone. Four dead bodies are found in the same place. Through a series of flashbacks and interviews, we slowly piece together the events that took place that led to his incarceration and the grisly discoveries.

The first “Saw” movie was gruesome, violent and gritty but it also had one hell of a surprise ending that most people never saw coming, myself included. I watched the sub-par sequels that followed but like other horror film franchises, the first in the series was the best. With “The Apostate: Call of the Revenant”, director Andy Dodd was obviously very influenced by that movie, with most of his film taking place in one location, just like “Saw.” And that is not necessarily a good thing. Movies that tend to take place in one setting, either for the duration of the story or for most of it, can sometimes get boring pretty quickly, depending on the story and the director and unfortunately, that is the case here.

The movie introduces us to Lance Cooper (James Bryhan), a single father whose only teenage daughter was recently murdered with no suspect ever detained. The movie begins with him waking up in a small bathroom, suffering from a head injury and a sizable laceration on his leg. He has no recollection of how he got there or the events that lead up to this point. Intermittently, we cut to Lance being held in a police interrogation room where he is being questioned by Detective Inspector Holly Andrews (Terri Dwyer). Apparently, he was discovered in a disused underground parking lot, covered in his own blood and through a series of flashbacks and interviews, the truth slowly surfaces.

The movie states that the events that happened are actually based on a true story and that the names and dates are the only aspects that were changed. Come to find out, Mr. Cooper, after the loss of his daughter, went exploring online, trying to locate other people who were going through similar situations, hoping that they could relate and maybe even help each other through their emotional, turbulent existence but rather than help them, something inside of him snapped and he killed them instead, iterating, “It’s what they would have wanted”. In other words, he put them out of their misery. While that is what we are told the ‘real’ Lance Cooper stated while being interrogated, sadly, the film version is nowhere near as interesting.

When turning a real life story into a somewhat fictionalized movie, the director has certain artistic license that he or she can utilize. Most ‘true stories’ are changed around considerably so that the film version is kept interesting for the audience, even if the true events were not as compelling. Here though, we literally spend half of the movie watching Mr. Cooper wake up, try to recognize his surroundings, break out of the miniscule bathroom, crawl down the hallway, drag himself into other rooms where he happens upon the dead bodies of his victims at which point we cut back to his interrogation where being accused by Ms. Andrews, he continually denies the allegations, even though we see him torturing and ultimately killing them in flashback.

While the real events might have made for an interesting movie, this representation is not it. The performances by all involved are unnecessarily forced and some of the gratuitous torture that he exacts on his victims, felt very out of place and very unneeded. I didn’t need to see a young girl getting her stomach ripped open or an eyeball being gouged out, it simply could have been suggested and would have worked so much better. Sometimes, less is more. It’s also at this point that we see one of the victims fight back, hence, his head and leg injury. In the end however, the movie is monotonous and uninteresting and while watching someone crawl around on the ground for forty minutes might seem engaging on paper, on screen, it feels like an inordinately, severe lifetime.

In select theaters September 13th

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James McDonald
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