OPINION: ‘Do Revenge’ does so much more


Courtesy photo of Imdb.com

2022 is seemingly the year of the Gen-Z movie with releases such as “Not Okay”, “Bodies, Bodies, Bodies” and “Honor Society.”

“Do Revenge”, Netflix’s contribution to this growing genre, is a dark comedy directed and co-written by Jennifer Kaytin Robinson that follows two high school seniors, Drea (Camilia Mendes) and Eleanor (Maya Hawke) as they, you guessed it, do revenge.

Robinson’s track history, particularly creating the MTV one-season wonder Sweet/Vicious, are useful in making “Do Revenge” effective. It has a self-deprecating humor about it that includes jokes that purposefully don’t land and a satirical take on allyship where it seems more important to look and perform like an ally rather than be one.

Mendes and Hawke lead a strong ensemble of characters that reflect reimagined high school cliques such as Instagram witches and granola girls in an attempt to cope with the cliqueless feel of American high school these days. “Do Revenge” capitalizes on this really effectively by having the pseudo-popular kid clique rely on their ties to other groups in order to dispel rumors and establish them as authority figures in the high school hierarchy.

I particularly enjoyed the performances of Hawke and of Austin Abrams as Max Broussard, the golden boy of the fictional Rosehill Country Day School who is a closet misogynist. Hawke balances both Eleanor’s sympathetic and sociopathic sides so well that it becomes hard to root against her when the movie asks.

Abrams, on the other hand, does a handy job of upkeeping the facade of the “I paint my nails and wear pink” brand of male feminism until he needs to rip it up to reveal a Machiavellian and chauvanistic caricature underneath.

Outside of the teenaged characters, we only meet one adult at length, the Headmistress, who is played by Sarah Michelle Gellar. This casting choice is stellar because Gellar is an embodiment of two genres that collide in “Do Revenge”. Amid its plot of vengeance, this movie, at its core, is a love letter to 90s horror and 00s teen comedy.

While people who were teenagers when these genres were at their peak might feel a sense of nostalgia when watching “Do Revenge”, the movie’s target audience was and are currently being shaped by reemerging trends from the 90s and 00s like velour tracksuits, butterfly clips and mom jeans. A love for these kinds of movies has come along with it. “Do Revenge” fulfills a longing for those “zoomers” that adore favorites like “Scream” and “Clueless”.

The costuming in the film reflects a similar sentiment. However, the film is bordering on hedonistic with how most of these high schoolers dress and party (Why is there so much champagne?).

The setting and dress seems heavy-handed at times but turn out to be necessary throughout the course of the narrative.The general haughty and Instagram-like aesthetics of the film do create a stable and unwavering world for Drea and Eleanor to enact their revenge on equally haughty and Instagram-like people who are anything but stable.

“Do Revenge” is an engaging story of friendship, vengeance and social performance in the age of social media. It was made for people with Pinterest boards but it can be enjoyed by anyone who won’t try and take it too seriously and who has seen the required prerequisite, “Mean Girls.”