It’s been argued that in the event of a global catastrophe, the human race will finally set aside their differences and come together for the sake of survival (though that wasn’t necessarily the case when dealing with a global pandemic). But what if we were confronted by something on an apocalyptic scale? Would we then hold out a helping hand for a complete stranger or even an enemy? The minds behind Revealer seem to think so.
Revealer, the newest Shudder Original is the debut feature for director Luke Boyce, co-founder of the Emmy Award-winning production company Shatterglass Studios, and was written by bestselling comic authors Michael Moreci (Barbaric, The Plot) and Tim Seeley (Hack/Slash, Revival), backed by the producers of such films as Scare Package, The Stylist and many more.
“…bathed in eye-popping colors and a score dominated by synths.”
It’s just another day at the office for exotic dancer Angie Pitarelli (Caito Aase). Every day, she has to walk by a crowd of religious protesters posted outside the Revealer Adult Bookstore, led by the puritanical Sally Mewbourne (Shaina Schrooten), who regularly accuses Angie of corrupting the men in town. Once inside the store, she has to endure the comments from her lazy boss Ray (Bishop Stevens, Girl On The Third Floor) to stop scaring the customers and to smile more.
According to Ray, the protesters in the parking lot are good for business. But as Angie seductively dances in a peep show booth for waves of horny men who pay her in crumpled dollar bills, she’s unaware that outside the store, the skies have opened up, unleashing an unknown evil onto the world. Panic only sets in when she realizes that something terrible has happened to Ray and the door to get out of the peep show booth is stuck shut.
The only person who could possibly save Angie from her enclosure happens to be her least favorite person on the planet, Sally, who had ducked into the porno shop to escape the unseen carnage outside. At first, the two trade insults. Sally shames Angie for her profession while Angie calls Sally stuck-up and self-righteous. But with no one else left to help her, Angie tries a different tactic and appeals to Sally‘s humanity. She argues that saving a sinner such as herself will at least score Sally brownie points with God. After all, she’ll need all the good favor she can get now that the Earth has been infiltrated by otherworldly monsters.
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Revealer is mainly character-driven. It’s about two women who, under normal circumstances, would be considered mortal enemies. Despite their differences, they develop an unlikely friendship when presented with an apocalyptic scenario. Most of the humor comes from the insults the two launch at each other, but as Angie and Sally descend into the labyrinthian tunnels underneath Chicago, they reveal parts of themselves that prove there is more to them than meets the eye, and gives meaning as to why they have pursued their chosen lifestyles.
Angie takes a stand on behalf of all sex workers, proclaiming to Sally that she enjoys what she does and she refuses to be shamed for it. Sally proves useful by providing context to what’s happening based on what she studied in the Book of Revelations; Though there is the remaining question as to why she hasn’t ascended to Heaven with the rest of the righteous souls.
Without giving too much away about the ending, their final destination is unimportant. The emphasis is on how these two women learn compassion for each other to the point where they’re willing to put their lives on the line for the other person. Both Schrooten and Aase put on phenomenal performances, starting off as archetypes– a religious zealot and bitter stripper– who slowly peel back layers to reveal complex and emotional characters (while simultaneously getting splattered with blood).
The story is set in the late 1980s, which naturally calls for a nostalgic aesthetic (or at least a 21st-century perception of how the ’80s looked). Everything is bathed in eye-popping colors and a score dominated by synths. I watched Revealer in between episodes of the new season of Stranger Things and noticed that stylistically, these two properties aren’t that far removed from each other. Lighting plays a vital role in this movie. Inside the booth, Angie is illuminated by a neon glow as she screams for help. Deep in the dimly lit tunnels, Angie and Sally rely on light from a flashlight that flickers out at the most inconvenient times.
The demonic creatures that have crawled up from the pits of Hell looked very convincing thanks to a combination of practical and digital effects. Angie and Sally must fend off waves of pale snake-like beasts with beaks similar to the sandworms in Tremors. Our heroes are also being pursued by a goat-headed entity, who according to Sally is Asmodeus, the king of demons. He’s obscured in shadows for most of the film and speaks in a distorted gurgle that made me wish subtitles were available because I couldn’t quite make out what he was saying. I would have liked to see more hellish beasts, but as I mentioned above, the end-times are secondary to the character development, though we do get to see the landscape of this new Hell on Earth during the end credits sequence.
Revealer is wickedly funny but it also has a lot of heart and a positive message. No matter our differences, we’re all just looking for love and acceptance, yet we create divisions by putting up defenses to hide who we really are. Unfortunately, it might take a rapture or a similar world-ending situation for humans to finally get along.
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“Revealer is wickedly funny but it also has a lot of heart and a positive message.”
Revealer will be available to stream on Shudder on June 23, 2022. Let us know what you thought of this apocalyptic tale of friendship over on Twitter, Reddit, Facebook, and in the official Nightmare on Film Street Discord. Not a social media fan? Get more horror delivered straight to your inbox by joining the Neighbourhood Watch Newsletter.