Shudder Streaming: Revealer (2022) - Reviewed

Robert Frost once wrote, “Some say the world will end in fire / Some say in ice.”  What happens at the end of the world has been an area of contention for centuries now, and it doesn’t necessarily end at the whole “fire and ice” debate.  A nuclear holocaust?  A zombie outbreak?  A deadly virus?  There’s a whole new slew of possibilities in the 21st century that people have postulated.  While anything seems possible anymore, one scenario seems a little less feasible to many skeptical individuals:  a full-blown biblical rapture.

In Luke Boyce’s Revealer, we see two ends of the spectrum in the midst of what appears to be the end of the world, colorful with a 1980s backdrop:  a hardened, worldly skeptic looking for a more rational explanation for what’s happening, and a Bible-thumping Christian zealot who is immediately convinced an apocalypse straight out of the Book of Revelations is in motion.  Angie (Caito Aase) is the former, and she’s a feisty peepshow stripper with zero inhibitions.  Sally (Shaina Schrooten) is the latter, and she’s furiously protesting Angie’s peepshow theater when chaos unfolds.  Once Angie and Sally realize something is amiss, they ban together despite their differences to make it out of the theater in one piece.

From the get-go, Revealer has an “odd couple”-type energy about it.  These two characters on opposite sides of the spectrum have plenty of opposing viewpoints, and they’re not afraid to share them.  In fact, it often feels like the film’s sole focus.  When they’re not blatantly disagreeing ideologically, they’re discussing in great detail plans of their escape and next steps — so much so that the prospect of total annihilation plays second fiddle the majority of the time.  While some of their discussions are interesting — particularly the moments when they spur some character development — exhausting exchanges about logistics sully the more engaging ones.  At best, the dynamic between these two characters showcases the concept of two extremes learning to see the opposite side a little more clearly, humanizing both; at worst, it’s a tedious exercise in unnecessary exposition to fill a 90-minute running time.


In the times that we are, in fact, privy to some sense of the outside world being amiss, some respectable-looking practical effects are used.  From an eel-like face-sucker that tries to jump into Angie’s mouth to a fairly formidable-looking demon, Revealer manages to supply some tense moments when it’s not micro-focused on its main characters’ dichotomy.  Unfortunately for this film, there aren’t enough of these scenes to keep audiences interested enough for the entirety of the film.  While a sense of urgency about their situation is present, it’s not nearly present enough to make sense for a literal apocalypse surrounding them.


This film was shot during the peak of COVID-19, so the cast list and sets are understandably minimal, and they do a solid job of working with what they have.  They even manage to make it look great.  The shots are bathed in saturated reds and deep shadows with some snappy editing that is especially fun during Angie’s striptease near the beginning.  Nevertheless, it’s not enough to make up for a largely uneventful film with a few punctuated moments of chaos. 


While Revealer isn’t the worst apocalypse film by any means, it might be one of the most anti-climactic.  Just like a peepshow stripper whose curtain closes when she’s getting to “the good part,” this film has the audience wanting more and then never getting it.  It’s more “buddy film” than horror, so Shudder viewers beware.  If a character piece with minor apocalyptic undertones sounds like a good time, you might not be entirely disappointed, but don’t go into this one expecting much Armageddon-fueld action and terror.


—Andrea Riley