Reviews
Revelation 22:22 (2005) 1 brain1 brain
(USA)

I'll admit that I have less taste for indie films than some people, perhaps most. I've been saturated with slick production values for most of my life, so when I see something that doesn't fit that mold, I can't help there being a part of my mind that rebels. So for you indie fans out there, take my review with a grain of salt. Having said that, Revelations 22:22 is one of the better indie films I've seen. It's clear that director/writer Jerry Orzel has a good sense of story and a love of the genre, and generally the acting is quite good. There are moments of truly inspired dialog as well. You'll know the moments when you see them.

In the movie, a cop, Bob (Gabriel Gonder), a young mixed-race couple, Barry and Kim (Lawrence Benjamin and Valerie Brokaw), some jewelry store robbers led by Simon (Quinn Stefan), and their hostage (Tracy Mahoney) end up together, surrounded by zombies in an old gas station that's been turned into a pot den. In the vein of Night of the Living Dead, there is as much conflict among the living as there is between the living and the dead. Through a run of bad luck, despite the fact that the group came to the station in three separate cars, none of the cars are usable without some planning. The conflict arises mostly through arguments about how best to proceed, but Orzel also adds some dialog about race and religion. The race dialog seems natural enough, although it could be dropped from the story without much effect, but the religion dialog seems a little pedantic and forced.

There's an interesting mix of characters, and generally they play well off each other. Orzel put some thought into the characters' back stories, fleshing them out and making them more real. The main conflicts are between Bob and Simon, and these two actors do a fine job of showing palpable dislike for each other. The movie is a little chunky in the pacing, though. It drags at times, and the buildup of tension is mostly reflected in the diminishing number of live bodies.

One thing about indie zombie films, it's relatively easy to make passable zombies, but Orzel has particular attention to detail: for instance, there is one close-up of a zombie's feet while walking where one foot is twisted around sideways. In other technical aspects, the film was good for the budget they had to work with. The outdoor night scenes are shot in the daytime using a blue filter, but this is much preferable to night scenes I've seen in other indie films where all you can see are vague dark shapes moving around. The props were also decent. I especially liked the getaway car of the robbers, which has a back end peppered with bullet holes.

Overall, I enjoyed the film. It's a step above some other indie fare, and there were some really good moments. It will be interesting to see what Orzel comes up with in the future.