“Do Revenge”: an aesthetically pleasing train wreck

Do Revenge: an aesthetically pleasing train wreck

Miranda Ljung-Baruth, Creative Media Editor

After much anticipation, the Netflix original film “Do Revenge” came out in September. Advertised as a dark humored satire filled with raunch, raging and of course, revenge, I was expecting something along the lines of 1989 cult classic “Heathers.” In my opinion, this movie wishes it was as iconic as its inspiration. 

The movie opens with a classic party scene, thrown by resident popular girl Drea (Camila Mendes). Immediately, I noticed the incredible costuming: every character gala ready with bright colors and sequins- one girl even wearing martini glass earrings. With every attendee dripping in couture, enjoying champagne and cupcakes decorated with Drea’s face, you get the feeling this movie is following a similar path to its predecessors, “Jawbreaker” and “Heathers”: telling the story of reckless, overprivileged teens and their messy drama.

Their school, Rosehill Academy, is an incredibly elite and expensive high school which Drea is attending on scholarship. Unlike her peers, she’s raised by a single mother and is “tragically” forced to thrift her designer clothes. At the beginning, it seems like this will be a big plot point, but it’s barely mentioned again. 

After the party, Drea sends an explicit video to her boyfriend Max (Austin Abrams), golden boy at Rosehill and all-around douchebag. The next day the explicit video is all over social media leaving Drea friendless and looking to get back at him. She meets Eleanor (Maya Hawke), a slightly awkward girl who is transferring to Rosehill for senior year. Drea’s car breaks down and Eleanor offers her a ride home. Throughout the road trip the two bond and connect over their shared thirst for revenge. Eleanor is praying on the downfall of a girl, Carissa (Ava Capri), who outed her at daycamp when they were kids and spread a rumor that she was a predatory lesbian. Drea comes up with the ingenious idea that they should do each other’s revenge. No one knows they’re friends and therefore would never trace it back to them. They spend months carefully plotting and executing their plan.

The movie takes place in a saturated Miami paradise, the perfect stage for some aesthetically pleasing revenge. Even the way that they get back at Carissa, by adding shrooms to a meal she prepared for the school, is at a fabulous dinner party with the drugged cuisine served on silver platters. The outfits are always bright, shiny and eye-catching– even the school uniforms are pastel perfection.  Everything in this movie is visually beautiful, which creates a cushion for other parts of the movie that may be lacking, like the acting. While a dark teen comedy doesn’t necessarily require Oscar-worthy performances, most of these characters act as if they know they are in a movie… and not in a fun, campy way. It comes across as forced and a little cringe-worthy.

Whoever curated the soundtrack deserves a raise. From infamous songs like Hole’s “Celebrity Skin”, to newer hyperpop like “dumb dumb” by mazie- it’s amazing that every single one is a smash that matches its scene perfectly. The final scene is no exception with Drea and Eleanor scream-singing along with the chorus of the very fitting Meredith Brooks anthem “Bitch”: “I’m your hell, I’m your dream, I’m nothing in between”, an ode to our truly complicated main characters.

The movie has plenty of callbacks to other famous teen films like a romantic paintball fight that ends in a kiss a la “10 Things I Hate About You”, and a scene referencing “Mean Girls” where printed sheets of messages and texts get thrown all over the school resulting in chaos. While these easter eggs are certainly fun to try to find and add familiarity to the movie, it also gives an unoriginal feeling. For a lover of teen movies such as myself, it felt like every other scene was not only a reference to, but a carbon copy of an iconic moment we’ve all watched before. I think we can all agree that the remake can’t compete with the original. 

 With actors from extremely popular teen shows like “Stranger Things”, “Riverdale”, “Euphoria” and “Outer Banks”, I went in wondering if the movie would hold its own or just be a two hour catwalk of celebrities. Overall this film was… alright. I appreciated the aesthetics and humor, and the plot was great in theory, but overall the execution seemed dragged out (2 hour runtime anyone?) and the ending was too easy. A shiny and beautiful mess, “Do Revenge” is a modern attempt at the classic 80s-90s girl drama, and it falls short.