Revealer

**

Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

Revealer
"It may have a mid-Eighties BBC TV series vibe to it, but it passes the time amiably enough." | Photo: Shudder

Angie (Caito Aase) is a stripper who makes her living in the Revealers bookstore and peep show. Sally (Shaina Schrooten) is a fundamentalist Christian who routinely protests outside it. One day, when unexpected events plunge the wider world into chaos, the two find themselves trapped together in adjoining peep show booths. Can they put their differences aside and help each other to escape? Is there anywhere to escape to? If we wander through the tunnels beneath the building for long enough, will writer/director Luke Boyce find any additional ideas?

There’s a curious coyness about this Shudder original, which clothes itself in the garb of exploitation cinema but then has its stripper heroine keep all of her underwear on, without even hinting at its removal. Even the blood and gore is pretty tame by genre standards. The mutated penis ‘snakes’ which appear in due course are fairly well rendered but we’ve seen many like them before, and the film’s humanoid monster – whom Sally interprets as a Biblical demon but is curiously unable to pronounce properly – looks like a second rate Halloween costume. The acting is mostly competent, but can only get the film so far.

Copy picture

Aase is an interesting choice to play Angie because she looks like a real person – like a real stripper – rather than Hollywood’s idea of a stripper. She still has the athleticism to convince as a performer. It’s odd to hear venue owner Ray (Bishop Stevens) complain that Angie is too aggressive and scaring the customers, however, as anyone with real experience in the industry would know how to turn that into a selling point. The set-up doesn’t quite ring true, and this is even more of a problem with Sally. Her arguments in defence of her religious position lack all sophistication, and even though it emerges that she has a secret and does not truly believe herself to be free from sin, the lack of conviction with which she expresses her faith is problematic.

Not only is Sally unconvincing, she’s a straw man, a fundamentalist character set up to be knocked down, which robs the film of tension. Where there could have been challenging debate and an interesting flow of ideas, this rather flaccid sparring lets down both characters. It’s a relief, then, that the actors have some chemistry and that the friendship which grows between Angie and Sally, despite the latter’s best efforts, makes the film watchable despite its flaws. It may have a mid-Eighties BBC TV series vibe to it, but it passes the time amiably enough.

In the end, the biggest problem with Revealer is that Boyce wants to have his cake and eat it – to play the exploitation game without taking any risks, and to liberally borrow from fundamentalist mythology whilst dismissing those who believe in it at the same time. The result is half-baked.

Reviewed on: 19 Jun 2022
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Tensions rise when a stripper and religious protester are trapped together in a peep show booth and must come together to survive the apocalypse in 1980's Chicago.

Director: Luke Boyce

Writer: Luke Boyce, Michael Moreci, Tim Seeley

Starring: Bishop Stevens, Buzz Leer, Caito Aase, Phil Bogdan, Sammy DelPurgatorio, Shaina Schrooten

Year: 2022

Runtime: 86 minutes

Country: UK

Festivals:

Fantaspoa 2022

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