It’s blood-fueled chaos in Michael S. Ojeda’s thriller Avenged, which delivers a gnarly, intestine-shredding thrills to the age old revenge tale. After a deaf girl is brutalized by a murderous gang, she returns from the dead when the bloodthirsty spirit of an Apache warrior inhabits her lifeless body to seek revenge.
It’s easy to see why it was originally titled Savaged because it wastes no time in doing just that. We’re briefly introduced to Zoe, who hits the open road to move in with her soon-to-be husband, only she doesn’t get very far. In typical horror movie fashion, Zoe quickly runs into the worst group of human garbage imaginable as she watches them slaughter a couple of Indians in the middle of nowhere. Unable to escape, the men take her and do the unspeakable, leaving her lifeless body in the desert. This all goes down within the first few minutes of Avenged, officially setting the pace for what turns out to be an intense thriller of the bloodiest variety.
Amanda Adrienne, who plays the deaf Zoe, does a great job in the bloodthirsty revenge role despite having little to no dialog, which surprisingly works very well here; it’s kind of nice to have a protagonist that lets their actions do all the talking. I wish that could be said about the rest of the characters, though, who pretty much only exist to add to the body count. And when they do speak, it’s usually to say something ridiculous that only a character in a horror movie would ever say (I hate that). That said, it does make each of their deaths that much more enjoyable, so there’s that.
Avenged is an ambitious B-movie that knows exactly what it is, and while it never strays away from being anything other than a typical revenge film, it injects enough thrills into its narrative that it’s hard to not enjoy it for what it is. It’s main issue, however, is that it blends impressive practical effects with some very low-budget CGI, cheapening a lot of what was supposed to be its biggest moments. We see indie films do this all the time; they get a little too ambitious for their own good, doing more harm than anything else. On the bright side—the practical effects far outweigh the CGI, and what is done practically looks phenomenal.
But let’s focus on what makes Avenged worth spending an hour and a half with. For starters, there’s a shit load of blood. If you’re a gore freak and you find entertainment in watching someone get their intestines pulled out, then you’re probably going to get a kick out of this one. The film bounces from one blood-soaked scene to the next, outdoing itself every step of the way. This is without a doubt Avenged’s best attribute, too, because under all that carnage there’s just not a whole lot going on. And that’s not such a bad thing depending on where you set your expectations.
At its heart, Avenged is a bloody revenge tale with a kick ass protagonist that’s much more interested in stacking up the body count than anything else. And while it’s certainly a little rough around the edges and some of the action beats don’t quite come together, there’s plenty of fun to be had in this one as long as you go in for the thrills and the awesome final chainsaw battle. That was pretty cool.
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