This is true independent cinema. Six years in the making and the backing of a lot of hardworking people who just flat out love crafting film; that’s really what you’re getting with Revelation Trail. I have to admit, I was skeptical when I first heard about this production. I found it difficult to believe that a zombie western could be anything other than cheesy. Surprisingly, what Revelation Trail is, is the tale of the internal conflict of a man of the cloth during desperate times.
Revelation Trail of course has some of the short-comings of an independently funded horror film. If you get in there with a finely toothed comb, you’re bound find some inconsistencies or slip-ups. For example, some of the zombies run, while others drag themselves on the ground or walk with your standard slump, and although the various types of zombies that exist in this scenario are mentioned in a piece of dialogue, it’s not entirely clear for most of the duration of the film. These are the sorts of issues that may blind the overly-critical, but it’s important to realize that surprisingly, Revelation Trail really overcomes a lot of those short-comings as well. You won’t be disappointed with the zombies themselves, nor the spot on crafting of each and every head shot. For a movie with little to no budget, these are generally aspects of the craft that can easily be overlooked, so I was relived to see that for this film it wasn’t so. In addition, a lot of time and care clearly went into the scouting and designing of the sets. Color me impressed, because once again I expected a lot less from this type of movie. Generally speaking, Revelation Trail covers its bases from a technical aspect. The quality of sound and lighting are something to be noticed, as they cultivate the desired atmosphere for this, a movie that doesn’t try to fit the norms of the zombie sub-genre, but instead seems to lean more toward a western aesthetic. Once again, this isn’t really a movie about zombies.
Perhaps the greatest benefit of Revelation Trail is that it’s made up of a cast that seems to know how to handle the heavy dialogue and monologues (of which there are many). Daniel Britt has a great natural language about him that just screams “old west sheriff”, and Daniel Van Thomas offers Preacher all the five o’clock shadow that’s required of a man who has lost his family to the undead, but had to pick up and run without so much as a goodbye. Both of these characters really have a lot of weight on their shoulders, because the plot of the movie is really pretty simple. The film relies on the delivery of these actors, and they both manage to deliver with a dry candor that’s disquieting and worthy of praise. Basically, if what you want from a zombie movie is high-paced, heart throbbing action, with explosions of blood and a love interest, this isn’t the movie for you. This is instead a film for those who enjoy a slower-paced romp with the undead, which attempts to be a bit more thoughtful.
Disclaimer: This is not just an independent film, this is an independent film made by some people who are close to my film-lovers’ heart. It would be impossible for me to fairly assess this feature. Though my opinion may be a bit colored, I still strongly suggest you look into Revelation Trail. If you’re lucky, there may be a screening in your area, or the film might just get the funding it requires to manage distribution. Keep your eyes peeled.