‘They took her life… she’ll take her revenge’
Avenged – aka Savaged – is a 2013 American supernatural exploitation horror feature film written and directed by Michael S. Ojeda, with additional dialogue by Deon van Rooyen. It stars Amanda Adrienne, Tom Ardavany and Ronnie Gene Blevins.
A deaf-mute woman is making a trip across the country when she tries to save a Native American boy from being slaughtered by a group of men. Her act of bravery has horrific consequences…
With frequent comparisons to The Crow (1994), Avenged offers a supernatural twist on the rape-revenge plot as popularised in the 1970’s, perhaps most notably by the controversial cult classic, Day of the Woman aka I Spit on Your Grave (1978). If you’re an advocate of valiant heroines, director Michael S. Ojeda gives us more reason to root for protagonist, Zoe, than simply being a victim.
Zoe’s character is the heart of Avenged (originally titled Savaged). Even her death isn’t enough to keep her from seeking revenge upon her abusers. In the attempt to resurrect Zoe, a Native American shaman, played by Joseph Runningfox (Ravenous) inadvertently summons the bloodthirsty spirit of an Apache war chief that takes host of her body. The story progresses smoothly and we’re thrust into a predictable bar fight, although the juicy scenes of disembowelment offer a nice ingredient.
As Zoe, actress Amanda Adrienne Smith gives a believable portrayal of the innocent woman-turned-zombie-warrior, and the gore – which consists of scalping, arrows and plenty more – continues in the same vein right up to the emotional climax.
To further add to the suspense, Zoe is rapidly decaying and she only has so long to hunt down those who wronged her; as well as rescuing her boyfriend, who’s later abducted by the remaining rednecks (appearances by Ronnie Gene Blevins and Rodney Rowland). This evokes a certain amount of sorrow as Zoe frantically tapes herself together and tends to her maggot-ridden wounds, knowing that she’ll never be as she once was.
The action scenes are entertaining, and Michael S. Ojeda clearly put a lot of thought into creating something that deviated from the typical revenge/torture path, resulting in a more wholesome experience for the viewer.
It was good to see that Avenged made the most of its limitations, too. The use of special FX goes a long way in horror, not to mention it being fun. There’s always some refreshment from the overuse of CGI as often seen with bigger budgets; while the digital effects in Avenged aren’t the best, these scenes were sparse and don’t detract from enjoyment of the flick.
So, while it would be a little ambitious to place Avenged up there with The Crow, it certainly holds its own for a B movie and is deserving of the positive reception that it received from critics.
“Savaged delivers on all levels. Ojeda knew exactly what kind of movie he was making and what the audience would want to see. This rape/revenge/Redsploitation hybrid is delirious fun that’ll knock you on your ass. Time to dig up the hatchet and take some scalps!” Patrick Cooper, Bloody Disgusting
“A case might be made that the savagery depicted teeters on being over-the-top, except that is precisely what this type of movie is expected to do to make its point. Even with uneven performances and a third act that could use a slight rhythm tune-up, Savaged is able to do just that with pure blood-boiling intensity alone.” Ian Sedensky, Culture Crypt
Cast and characters:
- Amanda Adrienne as Zoe
- Tom Ardavany as West
- Rodney Rowland as Trey
- Ronnie Gene Blevins as Jed
- Marc Anthony Samuel as Dane (Zoe’s boyfriend)
- Kyle Morris as Skeeter
- Brionne Davis as Cody
- Bobby Field as Investigator #1
- Ernie Charles as Investigator #2
- Ed Fletcher as Roddy
- Jason Gurvitz as Will
- Willow Hale as Woman
- Dan Kiefer as Goat
- Daniel Knight as Sheriff Holt
- John Charles Meyer as Creed
- Joseph Runningfox as Grey Wolf
- Rick Mora as Indian Man