Putting a modern spin on Alfred Hitchcock’s 1951 film “Strangers on a Train,” Netflix’s “Do Revenge” curates a delightfully messy, over-the-top revenge story. The black comedy follows unlikely friends Drea (Camila Mendes), the school’s resident “it” girl, and Eleanor (Maya Hawke), the offbeat outsider too cool to care about social rules. After a massive scandal sends Drea plummeting down the social hierarchy, the pair embark on mutual paths to help each other plot revenge on past and present wrongdoers in their lives.
“Do Revenge,” perfectly demonstrates drama and extravagance in its visuals. To match the absurdity of unlikely Generation Z friends plotting revenge together, the film’s costume and set design embraces pastels and vibrant colors to juxtapose a darker underlying plot. Exaggerated purple and green school uniforms accessorized with berets and undone neckties match the project’s outrageous and extravagant nature. This costume design combined with bright, colorful scenery creates outlandish, fun and seemingly upbeat visuals, which beautifully accompany the film’s darker, more devious plot.
Jennifer Kaytin Robinson’s “Do Revenge” serves as a love letter to classic coming of age films from the 1980s to the 2000s, coating all aspects of the movie in nostalgic wonder. For example, plaid and pastel wardrobe, as well as the makeover scene pay homage to one of the most iconic teen movies of the ’90s, “Clueless.” Another shot of students playing croquet on the school lawn makes a subtle reference to the cult-classic “Heathers.” A scene where Drea and her love interest throw balloons of paint at each other nods to the paintball scene in “10 Things I Hate About You.” With references like these sprinkled throughout the nearly two-hour runtime, this film leaves audiences on the edge of their seat analyzing every scene, to try to spot other easter eggs referencing classic teen movies.
With pointed humor at performative activism and references to internet trends, this movie’s dialogue caters specifically to Gen Z. The script’s Gen Z humor and vernacular land well for the most part, but a few jokes feel forced, especially humor regarding political and social justice.
While most teen movies feature a loveable jock or boy-next-door, “Do Revenge” opts to feature a more alternative leading male, which made for an interesting and realistic on-screen dynamic. Max — the school’s student body president and all around cool guy — deviates from typical popular male leads and leans on a very indie character, always poised with colorful button downs or fun pants, painted nails or a film camera. This provided a refreshing spin on this usually archetypal character in teen movies that reflects Gen Z well.
The movie’s third act unfolds a shocking plot twist that ultimately falls flat. Rather than choosing to lean into the absurdity and nihilism that builds leading into the last act of the movie, the movie takes a random turn and ends on a resolutely happy note. Tying up the story’s loose strings in a nice, neat bow ultimately feels a bit out of place in the grand scheme of the plot and leaves numerous unanswered plot holes.
While the cheesy and flashy elements of this movie might not cater to all audiences, “Do Revenge” makes for a campy, nostalgic dark comedy and an exciting watch for lovers of the coming-of-age genre.
4 revenge mommies out of 5