Studio: Anchor Bay
Reviewed by: Jonny Botsch
In 1994 Alex Proyas made The Crow, a gothic supernatural revenge thriller based on a graphic novel about star-crossed lovers who were brutally murdered by a gang of thugs. One year later, on their anniversary, Eric Draven crawls out of his grave to exact his vengeance upon each of his attackers so that he might again find peace. The movie was inspired. As was the graphic novel and both have a special place in cult circles and in goth culture. The movie was the last of Brandon Lee's (Bruce Lee’s son) short career, as he was accidentally shot and killed on set. Everything about the film was pretty much perfect. So, that leads to sequels (three to be exact), and a TV show, none of which quite got it right. The formula is a simple one and should be easy to evoke the power of love torn asunder and display the satisfaction of retribution. Well, here we are twenty years later and Avenged doesn't quite get it right either.
What is Avenged? The story of a mute and deaf girl driving across hillbilly America to meet up with her boyfriend but instead is murdered by a gang of rednecks that beat, rape and bury her. Luckily, there is an Indian shaman hanging around who decides to resurrect her, but an ancient Indian chief's soul is also brought back in her body. She begins to hunt down the gang one by one to get her revenge. So, basically it’s Lady Crow.
Why doesn't Avenged work? In a “simple formula” movie you need a couple important elements that are missing here: style and character. The director in this case actually has spent more time as a cinematographer, so the visuals aren't bad but suffer from a low budget. And the cast isn't untalented but there is no real sense of who these characters are other than the cliches. There are some nice make-up effects as the main character decomposes and a few fights that entertain for a few minutes.
For years people have wanted a worthy sequel to The Crow and it would have been cool to see someone tackle it successfully outside of the franchise but sadly this isn't it. Nice idea but a little too "paint by numbers" to really leave an impression.