Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Phil's Horror Watch: AVENGED (2013) from Uncork'd Entertainment - May 17, 2016

AVENGED DVD Cover (2015)
Starring: Amanda Adrienne Smith, Rodney Rowland, Marc Anthony Samuel, Tom Ardavany, Brionne Davis, John Charles Meyer, Ronnie Gene Blevins, Kyle Morris
Written by Michael S. Ojeda and Deon van Rooyen (additional diolague)
Cinematography by Michael S. Ojeda
Edited by Michael S. Ojeda
Directed by Michael S. Ojeda
Distributed by Uncork'd Entertainment

The landscape of the independent horror film world as seen some of the most interesting, unique, unconventional and original entries within the genre. Films like NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, THE TOXIC AVENGER, RE-ANIMATORTHE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT and THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT challenged society and the status quo with their frank depiction of violence, gore, sexuality and social commentary. These movies revolutionized the genre and in the process both shocked and terrified audiences. In this new century, we have seen a plethora of outstanding indie horror films that have both horrified and entertained fans and critics alike such as HOUSE OF THE DEVIL, FATHER'S DAY, STARRY EYES and WE ARE STILL HERE. Another fine example of this trend is the film AVENGED released by Uncork'd Entertainment.

The film's official synopsis: Traveling cross country, Zoe (Amanda Adrienne Smith), a deaf mute woman, is brutally savaged and left for dead after trying to save a Native American youth from a gang of rednecks. When a Native shaman finds her clinging to life in a shallow grave he attempts to save her - but something goes horribly wrong. The awoken spirit of a bloodthirsty Apache warrior takes possession of Zoe's dead body. Now she walks amongst the living, hell-bent on getting revenge. One by one she slaughters the men who murdered her, while the clock ticks away on her quickly decomposing body.

The movie perfectly blends the elements of several different genres to create a very entertaining and grotesque movie. Its ingredients come from horror and action films to the rape/revenge genre and exploitation, more specifically Redsploitation. Now if that last one doesn't sound familiar, let me explain what this term means. In the exploitation genre, there are several different subgenres. One of these is Redsploitation, where the main protagonist is a Native American who extracts revenge on those who wronged him or her, usually white oppressors. Films like BILLY JACK, SCALPS, and THE MANITOU are perfect examples of Redsploitation cinema. 

Promotional Poster w/ Original Title (2013)
Writer/director Michael S. Ojeda pulls no punches and hides nothing from us. The movie is the work of a genius and, dare I say, the voice of an authentic auteur. The movie is absolutely his vision, crafted and carried out with such conviction and focus. With a bare minimum budget, Ojeda accomplishes more than his Hollywood counterparts with bigger budgets. The story is one we've seen before from films like I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE to THE CROW but he spins it around to the point of being refreshingly different and clever. His framing of compositions is wholly his own, borrowing from all those great directors who came before him but making his style and vision all his own. Without question a brand new voice to the horror film world has arrived.

Of course, I would be remiss if I didn't say somethings about the film's lead actress Amanda Adrienne Smith. The role requires a strong actress who can portray a deaf and mute woman who comes back from the dead to take her vengeance on those who violated her in such gruesome displays of retaliaton, let alone make it look so damn convincingly real. Not since Camille Keaton have I seen an actress go above and beyond in a role that commands respect, conviction and guts. Major applause goes to this extraordinarily talented young woman.

The film premiered at the Busan Film Festival in South Korea back in October 2013 under its original title SAVAGED. It went on to play at several other festivals such as the Screamfest Horror Film Festival, the Glasgow Fright Fest and the Fantasporto Film Festival before it was picked up for distribution by Uncork'd Entertainment. The film was then retitled when it was released on DVD in April of 2015.

AVENGED is a fantastically wicked, mind blowingly graphic, socially charged, down and dirty slice of exploitation horror cinema!! For all those who think they've seen it all, you haven't seen this one yet! This is movie will stay with you long after the credits have rolled! 5 out of 5 stars!! Highly recommended!!

AVENGED is currently available on DVD at your local retailer or online at the Amazon website. It is also available on Video On Demand, digital download and Amazon Prime. To learn more about Uncork'd Entertainment, their films and upcoming releases, visit their website at

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

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