Once in a while, a teen movie comes along that actually surprises you. On the surface, Do Revenge looks like it’s going to do exactly what it says on the tin: a teen revenge movie with two ‘of-the-now’ young actors in the lead roles that will inevitably have the exact ending you’re expecting. Well, change your expectations before you watch this one. That’s all I’ll say.
The film stars Camila Mendes from Riverdale fame and Maya Hawke (mostly known from Stranger Things) as the two main attractions. The pair of them play a dethroned Queen Bee and the school’s new girl respectively, as they band together to ‘do revenge’ on each other’s nemeses. All is not as it seems however, as wires become crossed and everything is thrown up in the air when getting said revenge isn’t exactly what it appears to be.
Did I only watch this movie for Her Royal Highness Sarah Michelle Gellar… and also a little bit Maya Hawke? Yep. Do I regret it? Not for a single second. Do Revenge is pure bubblegum pop viewing, draped in a pastel veneer.
This is not a movie that aims to be original. In fact, it’s so self-aware that it purposely and lovingly references many teen movies that came before it. There’s a “makeover” montage, a sequence that introduces the audience (and the new kid) to each high school clique a la Mean Girls, nods to The Craft, Buffy the actual Vampire Slayer (and some real meta references to it), not to mention the Romy & Michele double trouble of it all. In short: it knows what it is and it leans into it very successfully.
Let’s not pretend that this movie is a masterpiece; particularly, it’s too long and would probably have worked better as a gritty yet fun, quirky mini-series. But that doesn’t mean I wasn’t truly invested by the majority of it. Whilst most of the plot is predictable, the script is cleverly written and the dialogue in drenched in modern pop culture. Surprisingly, I didn’t actually see the plot twist coming either, so it certainly had that going for it. In fact, it kind of makes the long-ish run time actually worth it.
Alongside brilliant performances from SMG and Hawke, Camila Mendes is suitably easy to dislike, and Sophie Turner’s bit part is absolutely the best piece of acting I’ve ever seen her do. And no, that’s not sarcasm. What stands out as the best part of the film though? This. Soundtrack. It sounds like my Spotify Daily Mix to be honest – something I’d have put together myself to listen to in my spare time. Here for it. (And now I know the music was Este Haim’s doing it all makes sense – you may remember I was nicely surprised by this same fact after I saw Cha Cha Real Smooth).
So, although Do Revenge isn’t quite on the level of its older cousins Mean Girls and The Craft, it’s absolutely the best teen movie to come out of Netflix in recent years. Not exactly rewatchable, but definitely super enjoyable.
Do Revenge is available to stream on Netflix in the UK.
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