Netflix’s new Hitchcockian dark comedy thriller has just hit the streaming service but is it worth a watch? Here’s our in-depth review of the new Netflix Original movie.
Touching down on Netflix on September 16th, the movie follows Drea and Eleanor who team up to go after each other’s tormentors.
Among the cast for the movie includes Camila Mendes as Drea (Riverdale, Dangerous Lies), Maya Hawke as Eleanor (Stranger Things, Fear Street: Part One – 1994), Austin Abrams as Max (Euphoria, The Walking Dead), Sarah Michelle Gellar as The Headmaster (Cruel Intentions, Buffy The Vampire Slayer).
Also, here is a fun fact. The film’s score is co-composed by Este Haim, bass guitarist & vocalist for the Grammy Nominated band HAIM. This was the 2nd film she’s composed after co-composing the score for Sundance Film Festival darling Cha Cha Real Smooth earlier this year.
All I did was try my best,
This the kind of thanks I get?
They say these are the golden years,
But I wish I could disappear,
Ego Crush is so severe,
God, it’s brutal out here
These are the words of Olivia Rodrigo, whose song “Brutal” plays over the opening credits of Do Revenge, a movie that not only takes these lyrics to heart but also channels the spirit of the music itself.
“Brutal” describes the relentless pressure to be perfect and sane in the ever-present, ever-online reality of a teenage girl. Enter DREA TORRES (Camila Mendes). A high school junior carefully crafted in the mold of her socially and financially elite friends. She is not one of them entirely, however. She is a scholarship zebra in the lion’s den of the one percent, just waiting to be eaten alive. God, it’s brutal out here.
Drea landed her coveted spot amongst the gods by dating their supreme leader Max, the handsome, charming student body president who oozes false modesty and moral superiority. After a plea for a risque “cam girl” video to remember her while she is away over the summer and a well-timed “I Love You”, Drea gives in and sends him the video of his dreams. As with most private videos sent to teenage boys, the video is leaked to the entire school. Believing this to be the work of Max himself, the now mortified Drea confronts him and punches him in front of everyone, losing her boyfriend and all their friends all in one swift blow. Ego Crush is so severe.
Now at tennis camp for the summer, Drea continues to be haunted by the video. Enter ELEANOR. After overhearing a fellow tennis camper’s admission to spreading Drea’s video all over camp, Eleanor approaches Drea to tell her the news. Proving to be an ally, Drea and Eleanor soon bond over their tales of torment & humiliation (“We all love an emotional terrorist!”).
Now students at the same school for the first time, Drea convinces Eleanor that they can destroy the lives of each other’s enemies without anyone suspecting a thing. REVENGE DO-ING ENSUES.
As noted in the plot synopsis for the film, Do Revenge is a glossy teenage update on Hitchcock’s “Strangers On A Train” while being inspired by the twisted high school tales of Hollywood past. “Heathers”, “Jawbreaker”, & “Cruel Intentions” seem to set the tone for a tale that has the look and feel of “Clueless”. Mix in a little “John Tucker Must Die” from the early 2000s, plus an examination of Gen Z elite culture and you have the ingredients for what I can imagine writer/director Jennifer Kaytin Robinson was going for.
As a 90s kid who enjoyed many influential films, I got a kick out of seeing a film like this exist again in the subgenre. The lies, the backbiting, the facade of friendship & concern. It reminds me of my own high school days (Go Blue Devils!). Do Revenge will be enjoyable entertainment for many, especially those who relish the influences or those too young to have seen them.
At its best, the film’s unique character twists and investigation of narcissism in the “woke” social media era make it worthy of being the modern take of this class of movies. However, the main element from its predecessors, bite and darkness, was toned down in service of a cleaner, more satisfying ending that seemed a little unearned and a little ignorant to the collateral damage in the wake of their actions (the end-credits scenes are especially ignorant).
Overall, Do Revenge is a mostly satisfying homage to a Gen X/Elder Millennial staple with solid lead performances from Mendes & Hawke and a soundtrack that will satisfy across generations.
In what I consider a tribute to the 1994 college comedy “PCU” (even though it probably happens in most teen/high school movies), Eleanor receives a campus tour from the friendly but snarky Gabbi, who has dirt and opinions on all the major cliques.
The “Greta Thunberg Crowd” of environmental protestors (a stand-in for PCU’s “Causeheads”), the “Instagram Witches” who believe their leader Allegra actually has the mystical ability to levitate another person (That’s telekinesis, Kyle!), the “horny theater kids” who mounted a mostly white production of “Hamilton” and received a cease and desist from Lin-Manuel Miranda himself, the “Farm Kids” who left a cup of menstrual blood in the cafeteria in protest after the school denied their request to go vegan, and so-on and so-forth. The very fun scene that lets the wonderful young actress Talia Ryder (who starred in an Olivia Rodrigo music video, by the way) cook in one of the few scenes she is in.
Watch Do Revenge If You Like
- Cruel Intentions
- John Tucker Must Die
MVP of Do Revenge
The script originally had over 40 needle drops of classic 90s music and, although multiple songs were removed or replaced by modern Tik Tok hits, many of those songs remained in the movie. The Mighty Mighty Bosstones are here just like they were in Clueless, plus 90s alt-rock staples such as Third Eye Blind, Harvey Danger, The Cranberries, Hole, and Meredith Brooks.
Should you Play, Pause or Stop Do Revenge on Netflix?
PLAY! While the ending was not as satisfying as I hoped, the entertainment value is there throughout most of the film, and the collection of influences is near and dear to my heart.
Did you enjoy Do Revenge on Netflix? Let us know in the comments.