Savaged certainly certainly looks and sounds, well… savage. As a supernatural spin on the classic revenge format of films like I Spit On Your Grave, it looks like it could be an intense and gory sun-drenched horror film. Let’s hope Michael S. Ojeda delivers on that promise, because there’s not enough of those out there. Savaged is also described as “a throwback to classic horror movies like ‘Evil Dead’, ‘Dawn of the Dead’ and ‘Frankenstein’”
The film, “tells the story of Zoe (newcomer Amanda Adrienne), a beautiful deaf woman who is abducted, brutalized and left for dead by a murderous gang. When she is found by a local native medicine man, he tries to save her but his efforts take a disastrous turn when she awakes possessed by a murdered Apache chief, hellbent on revenge.”
I recently hopped on the phone with Ojeda and producer Jason Gurvitz to talk about the look and feel of the film, along with its new spin on the revenge genre. Head inside to check it out and be sure to head to the film’s Facebook for a ton of pics and follow them on Twitter if you’re so inclined.
You’re about to enter post-production on this right?
Michael Ojeda: We’re actually editing right now. We’ve got a cut that we’re sending around to our sales agents to give them a taste of what’s to come.
And it looks sort of like a classic revenge film but with a supernatural bent. And from the pictures I’ve seen it has a sun-drenched Devil’s Rejects vibe as well. Can you talk about the visual palette?
MO: Location is everything. I’m also the cinematographer so I’m in control of the look of the film and location has a lot to do with the palette. With the lens and lighting choices we tried to give it as much of a natural look as possible. It definitely has a look that we’re going for, but as far as the genre of the film goes there’s nothing else like it. I feel like there’s a lot of other copycat films out there – and it’s fine to be inspired by stuff – but this is certainly its own thing.
It’s like Romeo and Juliet meets Dawn Of the Dead. One thing that happens is that the girl’s boyfriend is an African-American and he comes searching for her. And this is a very racist town, they kill Native Americans for fun. So the boyfriend rolls into town looking for his girlfriend and he gets wrapped up in the whole race thing. And she’s actually dead and decomposing as she seeks revenge throughout the film. And finally as the boyfriend gets closer to her she doesn’t want him to see her because of what she’s become. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen. My whole theory on films is if I’ve seen it, I don’t want to do it.
And you wrote the script for the film as well. Did it start out as something else?
MO: It did, actually. I sort of stole from myself. I had another script that I had written at a much bigger budget and I was looking for something different to do with it. And I wanted to do something different the a revenge tale. After that I found this town where Oliver Stone shot the movie U-Turn. So I found out the town where they shot that (Superior, AZ) and checked myself into a motel. They said there was only one room and someone was killed in there a year ago, so I checked in there for two weeks and worked on the script.
How did you come to decide on Amanda Adrienne for the role Zoe?
MO: I put a casting call out and she was the first headshot I got. There were a lot of girls that I looked at, but I always came back to her. She just worked perfectly for the role.
The movie seems fairly late in scope for its budget. What was the shooting schedule like?
Jason Gurvitz: People who have seen footage think it costs ten times more than it did. We were able to call in a lot of favors when people saw the quality of work that Michael was able to deliver. The rental rates on the cameras were reduced and people worked for a fraction of their cost.
MO: This is a very big scale film for the budget. There’s also a lot of visual effects, which I’m pretty good at handling but I might have to farm some out to some people. The whole third act of the film part of her face – this black section – will be removed and there will be maggots and worms and stuff.
Yikes, she really is decomposing.
MO: Definitely, yeah.
When this film comes out, how do you want people to feel when they’re leaving the theater?
MO: I want them to feel bittersweet. If I can get a tear, I’ll be happy. There is a lot of action and it’s a horror film, but my goal is to do a horror film where people leave with tears in their eyes.