It’s Hitchcock does high school. And I’m here for it!
I have to be completely honest with you guys. Last month when I first saw the trailer for Do Revenge (2022), I fully had plans to avoid this movie. Maya Hawke is incredibly entertaining and Camila Mendes is perfectly fine, but a large part of me just wasn’t on board with what looked to be an insufferable Gen Z adaptation of Strangers on a Train (1951). The fact that it’s a Netflix original only added to my repulsion. But then I heard from multiple friends that Do Revenge was actually a lot of fun! That it was cool, funny, slightly campy and one of the best teen movies in a while. And you know what? I could not agree more. This movie was great! It surpassed every expectation I had and I’m thankful that I chose to watch it. I mean, once I found out that it featured the goddess that is Sarah Michelle Gellar, I knew I was going to get around to watching it at some point.
Loosely inspired by Strangers on a Train, Do Revenge follows Drea and Eleanor, two teenage girls who have been betrayed and humiliated by people close to them. When the two girls happen to meet over the summer, they agree to go after each other’s bullies. Together they enact a vengeance-filled plan to destroy the lives of those who wronged them.
Literally the opening shot of this movie is a close-up of a license plate that says “DUMBTCH.” Hell yes, I am all in on Do Revenge! That right there was a powerfully strong indicator that I was going to like this movie and its colourful tone. “Colourful” is exactly the word to describe this zany, brash, effervescent teen movie. It has been so long since we’ve had a visually striking, unique, campy, cutting teen movie and it looks like the wait is finally over. Do Revenge totally delivers on all accounts. The fantastically vibrant production design is nothing short of a treat for the eyes and don’t even get me started on the outfits, bitch! I LOVED the costumes in this movie! Incredibly unique and distinct, the costume design reminds me of the costumes in other memorable teen movies like, Heathers (1988) or But I’m a Cheerleader (1999). By the way, check out my review for that movie, here. Oh, and the way these kids abuse their school uniforms…it gives Gossip Girl (2007 – 2012) a run for its money. Co-writer and director Jennifer Kaytin Robinson has such a refreshingly clear visual style and voice. I am so on board for any projects she turns out. Netflix should be kissing her feet for making the streamer’s first great teen movie in a while. Possibly ever. From what I’ve seen, this is the best teen movie of the 2020s so far.
Early on, Hawke’s character, Eleanor, states that she’s a disciple of 1990s teen movies. Clearly Robinson is a follower of the same religion because Do Revenge is positively brimming with the charm and wit of the best movies the decade had to offer. It even has a touch of those 2000s classics in there as well. I would say that Do Revenge mixes the visual style of Clueless (1995) with the cutting cattiness of Mean Girls (2004) and the result is a greatly entertaining movie just perfect for a young, modern audience. The highly satirical take on the Gen Z world is so ridiculous you have no choice but to laugh at it. This would make for a GREAT sleepover movie.
A Netflix original has never graced the hallowed halls of my DVD collection, but I may just need to make an exception when it comes to Do Revenge. Come on. This movie heavily features an EMOTIONAL SUPPORT BEARDED DRAGON NAMED OSCAR-WINNER OLIVIA COLMAN WHO WEARS LITTLE OUTFITS! That cracks me up! I didn’t necessarily need the romance that each of the main characters experience as subplots, but I did like the actors who played the love interests. Speaking of side characters, Sophie Turner turns it the fuck out in this movie and I could not get enough of her! The cattiness in Do Revenge is off the charts and should be studied and preserved for the betterment of future generations.
I absolutely love Hawke on Netflix’s prize jewel, Stranger Things (2016 – present) and have endured Camila Mendes in terrible Netflix movies like The Perfect Date (2019) and Dangerous Lies (2020). By the way, check out my review for those movies here and here. The two have an amazing chemistry and some of the movie’s best scenes are nothing more than fast-paced conversations between the pair. Hawke was expectedly entertaining and charming but Mendes steals the show in Do Revenge. She is fantastic in this. As Drea, Mendes is so much fucking fun, deliciously wicked and the most delightful sociopath since Wednesday Addams. Seriously, I would watch an entire limited series about her just going around ruining countless lives, all of whom deserve it. Riverdale (2017 – present) may be giving her steady cheques but in my opinion, Do Revenge is the project Mendes will be remembered for. I’d be thrilled. There are certainly much worse movies to be associated with.
Do Revenge is a more satisfying and enjoyable movie about malicious, complicated characters getting revenge than Joker (2019). That’s right, I said it. And it’s true. Don’t believe me? Watch this movie for yourself. By the way, check out my review for that movie, here. Clever plot twists and even more clever writing peg Do Revenge as so much more than your average teen movie. We need to make more movies like this! And by “more movies like this,” I of course mean more movies where Sarah Michelle Gellar plays the fabulously bitchy principal of a pretentious high school.
Have you seen Do Revenge? What are your favourite teen movies?
Let me know in the comments or on social media!