Angie Pitarelli (Caito Aase, 2 in the Bush: A Love Story, Christmas Is Canceled) and Sally Mewbourne (Shaina Schrooten, Scare Package II: Rad Chad’s Revenge) know each other, but they aren’t exactly friends. Angie works a peep booth at The Revealers Bookstore. Sally spends a lot of time there too, only she’s protesting against this den of inequity.
It’s summer 1987 and Angie has picked up an extra shift to help with the bills. This means an extra day of dealing with not just Sally but her boss Ray (Bishop Stevens, The Horrific Evil Monsters, Girl on the Third Floor) and a parade of obnoxious patrons. But she’ll soon be wishing that was all she had to deal with as she and Sally are trapped in the store as what seems to be Armageddon unfolds outside.
Director Luke Boyce working from a script co-written by a pair of comic writers Michael Moreci (Barbaric) and Tim Seeley (Hack/Slash, Revival) opens Revealer with an odd but amusing segment where a televangelist finds himself in what appears to be hell’s back alley. It’s a fitting warmup for the claustrophobic horrors to come.
After a montage of Angie’s dancing which looks like a scene from Flashdance rather than porn, and Sally protesting the skies turn red and wrath descends upon Earth killing Ray and leaving Angie trapped in her booth. Sally somehow survives and takes shelter in the store and the two trade insults as Angie tries to get the door unstuck.
The back and forth here is amusing as Sally refuses to help find a way out, preferring to just wait to be raptured up to heaven. Until she realizes that isn’t happening anytime soon. Both actresses deliver excellent performances and keep us invested in their characters even as we wait for the minions of hell to show up.
Which they do, first in the shape of a zombified Ray with a tongue that Gene Simmons would kill for. Then in much nastier forms including Asmodeus himself as the duo try to escape via the old bootlegger tunnels that run under the store and the rest of the city. These are done with a mix of practical makeup and CGI. It’s fairly low budget and low tech but for the most part, close-ups of the snake/slug creatures being a major exception, they get the job done.
While there is a great reference to C.H.U.D. and its constant play on HBO during the scenes in the tunnel, Revealer’s dialogue also manages to slip into cliche at times, like when we find out who Angie is trying to get back home to. Just as it’s no surprise that Sally isn’t as pure as she would have us believe, you can probably guess where she strays from the path of the Lord.
Revealer ends back in the same location where it started, and which we now know where and what it is. The finale is fun, if somewhat improbable, and rather fitting considering what the ladies went through to get that far.
I was impressed with just how much milage Boyce managed to get out of two characters and a handful of sets, only two of which, the store’s booth area and the tunnels, get much use. Revealer’s script and acting are strong to keep the characters interesting. And the cinematography of Robert Patrick Stern (The Rake, The Stylist) is inventive enough to keep the locations from getting boring. That’s a fairly impressive feat, especially in tunnels that look like they were imported from Wolfenstein 3D.
Overall Revealer is a fun film with enough inspired moments to get past its low budget and occasional missteps. It manages to provide a big dose of entertainment by tackling a small part of the End of Days.
Revealer will be available exclusively on Shudder in the US, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand on Thursday, June 23. And if you’re looking for more like this, FilmTagger can reveal a few suggestions.