Film Review: AVENGED (2013)

Film Review: AVENGED (2013)

May 17, 2016

IMDb: Avenged (2013)
Director: Michael S. Ojeda
Stars: Amanda Adrienne Smith, Marc Anthony Samuel, Rodney Rowland

There is nothing I love more than a really good revenge film – hissably evil baddies; sunny, likable good guys with good friends, beautiful families, wonderful lives…that are all about to get shot to shit by the bastards. That journey into the blackest darkness usually leaves no one unscathed, no firearm unemptied, and no villains standing. I am so happy to report that the sub-genre is alive and well, and AVENGED is more than ample proof of that.

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Formerly titled SAVAGED, it’s the tale of a young couple in love, Zoe, who is a deaf-mute (Amanda Adrienne), and her black boyfriend, Dane, (Marc Anthony Samuel). Once Dane has proposed to her, Zoe decides she wants to drive cross-country, alone, to join him and move in with him, in spite of the concerns of her sister about going it alone.

Unfortunately, her sister’s worries are all-too well-founded. She stops roadside on the outskirts of the wrong town, just in time to witness the brutal murder of two Native American men by a bunch of the nastiest rednecks this side of Custer’s army. Speaking of which – the leader of the bunch, Trey (Rodney Rowland), prides himself on being a direct descendant of a well-known racist Apache killer. He explains this to Zoe while she is being gang-raped and tortured by the lowlifes, by the way, who also stab her and leave her for dead.

Found by a local shaman, Grey Wolf (Joseph Runningfox of RAVENOUS), he tries to nurse her back to health and save her when she gets too close to death. The ceremony is successful, but she hasn’t come back alone: the spirit of the Apache chief who was betrayed and murdered by Trey’s ancestor has come back, and he’s not leaving Earth, or Zoe’s body, until justice is paid in the blood of those redneck murderers.

In the meantime, Dane has gone looking for Zoe, and in the process runs afoul of Trey and his gang, who by then are already one man down. Needless to say their meeting does not go well, and the bad guys think that by holding Dane hostage, they have a bargaining chip with the possessed Zoe, to control her and the vengeful spirit inhabiting her. They couldn’t have been more mistaken.

This is classic B-goodness from director Michael S. Ojeda. The practical and CG effects are beautifully handled to complement each other, and the cast has a ball, particularly Rowland, (formerly of SPACE: ABOVE AND BEYOND) and his right hand henchman, West, played low-key, high-menace by Tom Ardavany. When a badass character like West starts to get scared, you know the shit has truly hit the fan.

Besides the great gore and violence factors, AVENGED has a great little message about the futility and stupidity of racism, and how vengeance begets vengeance over time, but all on either side of the fence are lost, since nobody truly comes out winning, even in the service of brutal, frontier justice…decades after it’s called for.

AVENGED will leave you wanting more, and like me, waiting excitedly for Michael Ojeda’s next film!

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