Review

'Avenged' cheers on vigilante's graphic violence

Review: The revenge fantasy 'Avenged' draws on mythology in its glorifying of violence by a vigilante rape sur

A revenge fantasy recalling "I Spit on Your Grave," "Avenged" unabashedly revels in vigilantism and poetic justice. When the tables are turned, the film's graphic violence means to excite rather than terrify. No one caught up in this furious catharsis ever pauses and questions if the punishments fit the crimes.

Zoe (Amanda Adrienne) inherits her dad's Pontiac GTO and embarks on a road trip to move in with her long-distance boyfriend, Dane (Marc Anthony Samuel). She's soon abducted, bound with barbed wire and raped by four hillbillies, led by Trey (Rodney Rowland).

Choosing sides should be a no-brainer for the viewers, but writer-director Michael S. Ojeda doesn't leave that to chance. The rape-victim-turned-vigilante Zoe is hearing impaired, and Dane is African American. Her attackers are white supremacists who keep a shelf fully stocked with skulls of American Indians whom they prey on.

Left for dead, Zoe is resuscitated by an Apache medicine man (Joseph Runningfox) and possessed by the spirit of a vengeful tribal chief. The reanimated Zoe always seems to pop up where her attackers least expect, even as they hide out with Korean War vet survivalists with assault rifles.

Otherwise fairly routine, the film draws fear from ancient mythology and historical grudges in a way more reminiscent of Japanese horror than its American contemporaries. Had Ojeda delved into that a bit more, he could have really set the film apart.

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"Avenged."

No MPAA rating.

Running time: 1 hour, 36 minutes.

Playing: At Arena Cinema, Hollywood. Also on VOD.

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