Do Revenge (2022): a pleasing mash-up of ’80s, ’90s and 2000s teen movies

Hands up, who remember the ’90s? I do. But then I’m a ’90s kid. I was born in the early ’80s and grew up in the ’90s. And it’s funny, cos certain decades come back around in terms of fashion and music. I saw a lad the other day, he must have been maybe 16-17, sat on a bench at a train station. He had the exact same hair, tshirt and baggy jeans as DiCaprio did in Romeo+Juliet (1996). Or, if not from the movie, he was perhaps just channelling ’90s DiCaprio in general.

I was also reliably informed recently that 2000s/Y2K fashion and culture is also a thing. And the reason I am mentioning these things is that this Netflix movie, Do Revenge, is the perfect blend of both these decades. It wears its influences on its sleeve for all to see: 10 Things I Hate About You (1999), Mean Girls (2004), Heathers (1988), Clueless (1995)… the list goes on.

Now there’s nothing wrong with being influenced by what has come before, pop culture does this all the time. The key is to remix it and make it your own, and, at the very least, be entertaining for today’s audiences — whether they get your references or not. And I think Do Revenge does do that. At times it skates a little close to being a parody of itself, but it just about holds it together. The glue, in this case, is the likeability of its two leads: Maya Hawke, who plays Eleanor, the weirdo outcast girl new to the school. And Camila Mendes who plays Drea, the seemingly queen bee popular girl, who falls out of favour.

Before you think this movie is just retreading a Clueless type of path, it’s not. That is to say, without giving too much away, I think in the film’s third act we begin to move slightly more into horror territory. Not completely, it doesn’t go full slasher by way of Scream (1996), or even Cherry Falls (2000), but things do get a little bit more, how shall we say, edgy. I felt the film very slightly lost its way in this section, but I appreciated what it was trying to do. Escalating action and all that.

Ultimately, though, every story is a love story (of some kind), and Do Revenge continues to come back to the central relationship of Drea and Eleanor, with the chemistry between Hawke and Mendes really driving the whole thing along. You want to spend time with them, even if you aren’t entirely sure of their motives towards the other. I guess what I’m getting at is that I enjoyed this film more than I expected to. I feel Maya Hawke is continuing to play the queer weirdo she began with Stranger Things, and why not, when it works so well. I’d not seen Mendes before, but she was also great. Also, this film has a superb soundtrack.

I give Do Revenge 4/5 stars.

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