Taking place in 1980s Chicago, Revealer tells the story of two seemingly different women.
Angie (Caito Aase) is a stripper who spend most of her day in an incredibly sleazy peep show booth. The men that she dances for are a collection of grotesque pervs. (Keep an eye out and you’ll notice a sign warning that “wet dollar bills” will not be accepted. Ewww!) Angie is under no illusions about where she’s working or who is paying to watch her but she needs the money. She’s putting up with a lot of crap in order to giver her nephew the type of stable life that she’s never had and, understandably, she doesn’t have much patience for anyone who would judge her for it.
Sally (Shaina Schrooten) is someone who spends almost all of her time judging. For weeks, she has been leading protests in front of Angie’s place of employment. As soon as Angie shows up for an extra shift, she is confronted by Sally. Sally claims that Angie is “a harlot” who is leading people down the path of sin and damnation. Angie says that Sally is just jealous because she’s never truly live her life.
Together …. they solve crimes!
No, actually, they don’t. Instead, they find themselves forced to deal with some theological issues when a horned demon unleashes an army of snakes on the world. Angie is trapped in her peep show booth, with no way to get out. Sally, fleeing from the demons, ends up outside the same booth. Sally is convinced that the apocalypse has begun. Angie just wants to get back to her nephew. Despite their differing views and their initially antagonistic relationship, Angie and Sally are going to have to work together in order to survive. Along the way, hidden truths are revealed. Angie and Sally learn that they’re not so different and they even start to become friends. But does that matter, considering that the world apparently ended in 1987?
I had a mixed reaction to Revealer. On the one hand, there’s something wonderfully subversive about setting a film about the end of the world in the distant past. If nothing else, it keeps the viewer off-balance. (I was reminded a bit of how 2001’s Donnie Darko predicted that the world would end in 1988.) As well, the two leads both did a good job with their characters, adding depth and nuance to two roles that could have easily become clichés. In the role of Sally, Shaina Schrooten gave an especially good performance. I wasn’t particularly shocked when Sally revealed her big secret but Schrooten’s performance still made the scene effective.
On the negative side, the snakes were frightening but the demon who controlled them obviously fell prey to the film’s low budget and looked a bit less impressive. As well, the script itself was often overwritten. Sally and Angie’s constant debate over religion felt more than a little heavy-handed. (I mean, it’s easy to win an argument when the screenwriter is on your side.) Even more importantly, they tended to disrupt the flow of the film. Too many scenes stopped dead in their tracks so that Sally could quote the Bible and Angie could get upset about it. Since neither had anything to say about their beliefs that hadn’t already been said in a hundred other movies, their arguments were occasionally a bit dull, despite the best efforts of Caito Aase and Shaina Schrooten.
Revealer was uneven, though the ending was certainly effective and both of the lead actresses did a good job bringing their characters to life. Watching the film, I wondered if maybe the world did end in 1987 and the rest of us just haven’t noticed yet.