Let’s not beat around the bush. There are some striking similarities between Uncork’d Entertainment’s Avenged and the ever popular The Crow franchise. Several people have brought that up over the last several days. We knew that. What we didn’t know, was if it was any good. So let’s find out.
Avenged is the story of Zoe. A blonde, deaf, and mute young woman that is in the process of relocating across the country to be with her fiance. How will she get there? Well she’s driving. This is an important drive, not only for the story, but for the character of Zoe. If I was traveling across the country, I could see myself behaving similarly. Getting out to snap some wildlife shots with my phone, texting my significant other, almost hitting an Indian man because I’m not paying attention to the road…all of it. But that’s where my common ground with Zoe ends.
After narrowly avoiding a collision with a wounded man on the highway, she discovers that he is being chased by a group of men. Their intentions are made fairly clear around the time they plow over a second Indian man in their truck. Zoe gets out of her car to assist the first man (Like I said, our common ground is gone). In doing so , she is captured, raped, tortured, and murdered by the pursuing men. She is then brought back to life, and seeks revenge.
I will leave the specifics to the film, but trust me, as ridiculous as it sounds – it all makes sense within the context of the story. I have no problems there. There were some balance issues, though. These horrible men that performed these horrific acts would speak like backwoods trash one second, and then be waxing intellectual the next for the sake of meaningful dialogue. These balance issues existed within the cast of actors as well. Zoe is brilliant. She has a certain quality about her that instantly catches on. The fact that she cannot speak means little. She’s likable, and Amanda Adrienne does an absolutely wonderful job. Others though, seemed like it was taking all they had just to get through their lines. When they did deliver, it was often underwhelming. But that is the balance I speak of. It’s commonplace in indie film, but shouldn’t be overlooked.
I will say that the film is well shot and generally looks great. There were moments when color grading got a bit out of hand. This leads to some awkward looks from time to time, but nothing major. Audio was also on point. Everything sounds tight, and accurate.Then Avenged performs Modern Horror suicide. They throw in remarkably cheesy CG effects in a pivotal scene … just for the fuck of it I suppose. The Indian culture is of great significance in this film, and I understand that visions are common within that culture. If that’s what they were going for… I simply wish they would have left out the CG and went with a dream sequence of sorts…. then again, how can a dead girl dream?
One thing is certain. I was entertained. My interest was held from bell to bell. That may sound like a “gimme”, but I assure you, that;s no small feat in 2015. Not with the abundance of distractions we have at any given moment within arms length. I commend the filmmakers for that. While there are occasionally things that I personally find off-putting, they are small things. The big picture for Avenged is a good one. It has a wonderful leading lady, a cool (and historically important) story line, and its fair share of gritty violence and wicked deaths.
Avenged hits theaters and VOD on March 6th. DVD release will follow on April 21st.
Avenged certainly has its strengths and weaknesses, but it’s definitely worth a watch. While Zoe’s rampage of revenge doesn’t quite stack up to similar films we have seen in the past, it does bring something unique to the table.