Revealer is a Shudder Original Movie directed by Luke Boyce It centers on Angie (Caito Aase), a stripper, and Sally (Shaina Schrooten), a religious protestor, who become trapped in a peep show booth during the apocalypse in 1980s Chicago. The film was written by Tim Seeley and Michael Moreci, comic book writers and lifelong horror fans, who talked to Dread Central about making the movie.
“The character of Sally was based on this woman in the town where I grew up. She was such a prevalent part of my childhood because we’d always drive home and I’d see her outside the mall protesting Satanic toys, albums, or whatever,” said Seeley.
Part of the writers thinking was taking a character like that and crafting an ’80s foil. That’s how they came up with Angie, who doesn’t judge and just wants to live. According to Seeley, putting them together allowed them to highlight the things that were different about them and the ways that they were similar, which was a theme in the movie.
“Yeah, something I talked about with Luke and Tim is that when we make something, whether it’s in comics or film, we want to make it earnestly. We want to say what we say and really mean it. That comes through with the characters. So, we want them to be earnest themselves. And to be earnest, you have to have some complexity. You have to have some statements about you that are good and bad.
“Tim and I are people who understand and believe that life is messy. People are complicated. Sometimes they’re right. Sometimes they’re wrong. We wanted to show that through Sally and Angie. They’re both complicated. They both have good and bad qualities. From a writer’s standpoint, it’s really better to write characters like that because I think you can take them to a more gratifying place,” said Moreci.
Both writers had nothing but nice things to say about the film’s leads. Seeley called them “so watchable” and noted that “it’s kind of insane how charismatic they are.” According to Seeley, there were things between the two in the film that wasn’t written in the script. Working with actors in that way was a rewarding part of the process.
“100 percent. Watchable is such a great word. They are both so talented in their own unique ways. What’s really wonderful about them is everything they do is thoroughly real. It feels like Shaina and Caito inhabit these characters and understand them. They really go big with everything. They’re not sying away from what the story is. They act it and emote it. They do everything so fully, and I love that. Again, that goes to the earnestness that exists in the movie from start to finish,” said Moreci.
Moreci, who had the benefit of watching the film a couple of times before its release, said that no doubt, Revealer is a horror movie. At the same time, he didn’t find it that scary. It’s certainly suspenseful because you care about the characters and the journey they go on is so strange that you don’t know what’ll happen next. “There’s no real jump scare, though.”
“We’re also kind of jaded. Because my sister-in-law watched it, and she did jump a couple of times. So that might just be as simple as we’re broken horror fans. [Laughs] The film isn’t meant to be disturbing, though. It’s more of a fast and fun ride. Just like on a rollercoaster, there are a couple of stomach-dropping moments, but most of the time, you’re having a really good time,” said Seeley.
The process of making Revealer
According to Moreci, they started writing in May 2020, then shot the movie in July that year. Also, while making the movie was wonderful from start to finish, there was a lot to be anxious about since it was the height of Covid. Nevertheless, Revealer was shot in safety by a dedicated and careful cast and crew.
“Yeah, for us, to make something when we weren’t even sure there was going to be a world tomorrow was kind of a weird situation. It was such a crazy time to work on something together, but we made it to keep ourselves sand and hang out with our friends. So, if people get that out of it, I’ll be very pleased,” said Seeley.
Seeley later added that part of the reason for the ’80s setting was that they didn’t want cellphones and didn’t want to deal with the politics of now. Plus, since both he and Moreci lived through the ’80s, Revealer would have been a project for which they wouldn’t have to do any research.
“There are themes in there though, too. One of our inspirations was seeing that it was the ’80s all over again with book banning and all this PMRC-style bullshit. We knew this was coming, and we were right. These things always seem to come after these events where we’re isolated, and people forget how to have empathy for each other. That figured into our thought process, too,” said Seeley.
Another thing that was on the writers’ minds was the film’s limited budget. They wanted Revealer to be a genre film and not be afraid to say it was about the end of the world. The question of, “if we don’t show it are people going to get it? Do we have to at least peek outside?” However, Moreci, Seeley, and Boyce felt that people would still get it.
“So, the important thing wasn’t the chaos or destruction. It was about these characters, their journey, and this idea of judgment. This idea of how in dire situations, and this is where you read in Covid, do we unite? How do we find a common ground to get through these things together? That’s the heart of the movie. It’s less about how many demons and hellfire can we show. It’s about how to make those big things granular and how our characters respond to them.”