A deaf girl is brutalized by a murderous gang who are then hunted by her when the bloodthirsty spirit of an Apache warrior inhabits her lifeless body.
REVIEW: Movies like Avenged, aka Savaged if you live in the U.K., is exactly why I love the modern day Video-on-Demand release outlets such as Itunes and the like. A movie such as this would never find its way to a wide theatrical release and if it was just even ten years ago it probably would have never even been made at all. But Itunes, Vudu, and all those style of Pay-to-Watch platforms provide an amazing VOD outlet for great low budget genre titles like this to premiere at and find a home on.
Avenged came out earlier this year over here in Canada and the U.S., although it’s been out elsewhere in the world for the last year or so under the alternate title of Savaged. At the end of the day I’m fine with either title, but I do like the Avenged title slightly more, just because it encompasses more of what the overall movie itself is about, as opposed to the Savaged title, which pretty much is constrained to just the one individual, albeit important, scene.
And good lord, what a powerful scene it is too. Leading up to it, this adorably sweet deaf and mute girl, as played by relative newcomer Amanda Adrienne, is on a solo cross-country road trip to meet up, and move in, with her long-term boyfriend and along the way she witnesses a murder of a Native American man by a group of over-eager obnoxious redneck hillbilly types, out in the middle of the desert. Of course they can’t let her go free to rat them out so they give chase to her, kidnapping her and bringing her back to their cabin where they proceed to, in very uncomfortable-to-watch savage fashion, torture, rape, and eventually murder her.
As if such acts wasn’t already brutal and savage enough as it is, the mere fact that this girl is also deaf and mute on top of it all just added another layer to her innocence and thus, the brutality of the acts committed on her. I actually had to go look up online just to see if she really was deaf and mute in real life, because she pulled that role off so convincingly that I honestly couldn’t tell (side note: She’s actually not, which makes me all the more impressed with her performance here).
The movie then kind of crosses a bridge from I Spit On Your Grave to The Crow as another Native American man finds the girl’s dead brutalized body and performs an ancient shamanistic ritual to return her to life, however something goes wrong and the angry spirit of a long-dead wronged tribal chieftain hops a ride back in her body as well, which only further fuels her need for revenge on these redneck hillbillies because, you know, she really needed further motivation there. When she’s herself, she remains the sweet and innocent girl we knew at the beginning of the movie, just now far more confused and with massive blackouts and gaps in her memory. What those black outs are from however, is when her vengeance takes over, allowing the spirit to take control and she plasters war paint all over her face and heads out on a scheme of brutal revenge against those who wronged her.
And I don’t use the word 'brutal' lightly here. The fantastically-shot fight scenes and moments of revenge are gory as all-hell and will certainly make you wince more than once. There’s one scene in particular where after kicking a couple of peoples' asses all across the pub and back again, she slams a broken bottle into one man’s eye and than proceeds to turn and slowly rip out another’s intestines like one long string of rope, and than there’s another scene where one of the men get an arrow shot through their neck and then proceeds to keep it in so that for half the movie every time this character is on screen he’s got this long arrow sticking out of his neck and blood pumping out everywhere, and then there’s that main climax…ohhh boy. The climax of this movie would make even an Evil Dead fan blush. Gore hounds, especially, will love all these savage scenes of revenge. Not to mention a rather graphic scene where the main character’s body is falling apart, piece by bloody piece, and she re-attaches her limbs and stitches herself back together all with duct tape (cause duct tape really does fix everything).
Unfortunately, the movie runs into a bit of overly-done territory for the secondary plot, which while not ‘bad’ per sey, it did kind of have me wishing less of the movie focused on it then it did, for the simple fact that we’ve seen this type of secondary plot done to death in dozens upon dozens of other movies. There’s a point where her boyfriend, after realizing that she’s gone missing, manages to track down what town she disappeared in and goes there in an attempt to look for answers, and of course during this secondary plot, in an annoying twist of cliche writing, one of the racist hick rednecks involved in the torture, rape, and murder of her just so happens to also be the town deputy, and in addition to that her boyfriend ends up getting himself kidnapped to be used as leverage against her. Also, speaking as someone who has seen all of the Crow movies numerous times, as well as some other Crow knock-offs such as 2007’s The Dead One starring Wilmer Valderrama, I spent the entire movie pretty much knowing how things would generally play out in each scene as it follows the exact same basic formula as all of those. However, while I knew that the wronged soul would get its revenge and ‘win’, as they always do at the end of these movies, I wouldn’t go so far as to say it was a ‘happy’ ending, and I wasn’t quite prepared for the genuinely emotional punch that accompanied this one which is something often lacking from all those other similar types of movies, save for the original Crow starring the late Brandon Lee.
Avenged, aka Savaged, is essentially the female-led Crow sequel that any diehard Crow fan such as myself has been waiting anxiously for, but shot in a really gritty brutal fashion akin to the I Spit On Your Grave remake. Don’t let talk of such brutal acts turn you away from this movie though, because while the movie may sound like senseless smut on paper, it ended up being beautifully-crafted onscreen by writer/directer Michael S. Ojeda, a man that I’m not familiar with outside of some episodes of Deadliest Warrior but one that I will certainly be keeping an eye out for in the future.