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John’s Horror Corner: Revenge (2017), a different flavor of revenge movie.

April 5, 2020

MY CALL: A very well-made addition to the revenge subgenre. It’s nice to see a rape-revenge movie that focuses less on the rape (for its on-screen shock value) and more on the revenge. Tolerably far-fetched, enjoyably feisty, and still managing to pack some intensely gory punches. MORE MOVIES LIKE Revenge: Well, I’d simply not compare this to the likes of The Last House on the Left (1972, 2009) or I Spit on Your Grave (1978, 2010).

Cheating on his wife with his young mistress, Richard (Kevin Janssens; The Room) sweeps Jen (Matilda Anna Ingrid Lutz; Rings) away to his luxurious desert vacation home for a weekend tryst. Such behavior can certainly come with its share of consequences. But for Jen, those consequences are not as expected when a pair of Richard’s hunting buddies unexpectedly drop in for the weekend as well. They seem nice… at first. But we watch as their congeniality quickly transmutes into lustful aggression and a general apathy regarding her sexual battery. Yeah, this doesn’t play out well for Jen.

Soon everyone feels scared and threatened (for very different reasons) and all three men have turned against Jen, who desperately runs for her life barefoot through the rocky desert where she is pushed off a cliff her death. But, oh… she survived that!?!?!?!

At this point a strong suspension of disbelief is important for one’s enjoyment of the film. From here on, most things that transpire feel like the product of a graphic novel and little is credible. But if you can just let that go, there’s definitely great fun to be had…

Brutally mangled, impaled, struggling to even wheeze for breath and oozing blood, Jen fights to survive via ludicrous actions against ridiculous odds. And then she begins to hunt her offenders as they also hunt her. The violence is surprisingly abrupt, a bit brutal and unapologetic. The exploding head gag is a gory mess of awesome. Things just get more bloody and extreme as the film approaches its end, with the splatter-festiness amplifying to MAX in the final scenes. Moreover, we observe more male nudity than female for change (and little to never does it feel exploitative).

Sure this film wanders into incredulous bonkers town in some (in my opinion, at least) forgivable ways, but it is actually quite engaging and occasionally even fun watching Jen exact her vengeance on these horrible men who have wronged her.

I read some comparisons to some mean rape-revenge films like The Last House on the Left (1972, 2009) to which I say NO. These are not similar or comparable films. One takes you on the vicious on-screen journey of mean-spirited rape and victimization, and the other doesn’t show it happen. Yes, it’s a horrible concept. But one of these films is clearly much easier to watch than the other… and gorgeous to watch. As if emulating Michael Bay, the colors are bright and the film boasts some great cinematography of xeric-scapes and caverns. Tackling her first feature film, writer and director Coralie Fargeat succeeds with style.

This film spins the revenge subgenre on its head by steering clear of sensationalizing sexual assault and tilting the execution of its revenge into staggered moments of Evil Dead (2013) intensity. At one point a completely naked person is murderously chasing someone down a blood-doused hallway with the ill-dexterity of sprinting across a sudsy Slip’n’Slide. It’s intense, but you’ll probably squeak out a laugh at the mania transpiring before your eyes.

This is a fresh and more tolerable flavor of revenge movie, but not at the expense of thrilling intensity. Strongly recommended.


4 Comments leave one →
  1. David Dabrowski permalink
    April 5, 2020 6:05 pm

    Sounds neat. Was pleasantly surprised when I went to add it to my Netflix DVD queue and it was already there. Past me has good tast.

    • John Leavengood permalink
      April 5, 2020 6:13 pm

      Get on that. I waited almost a year to buy this not realizing how fun and gnarly it would be. So glad I bought it (completely blind purchase btw).

  2. David Dabrowski permalink
    April 5, 2020 6:09 pm

    And present me apparently can’t spell…


  1. John’s Horror Corner INDEX: a list of all my horror reviews by movie release date | Movies, Films & Flix

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