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Do Revenge is a camp, modern take on the teen comedy genre

Netflix's latest film release, Do Revenge, hit our screens this week and has since been all everyone's spoken about. Yasmin Attwood takes us through a detailed analysis of the film's strengths and weaknesses.

By Yasmin Attwood, Second Year, English

Netflix’s latest teen comedy, Do Revenge is a film filled with drama and, wait for it, revenge, imbued with eccentric outfits, cheesy dialogue, unrealistic high-school portrayals and references to iconic teen movies from the last few decades.

When popular girl Drea Torres (Camila Mendes), with her perfectly curated persona, falls out of favour, she forms an unlikely friendship with new girl Eleanor (Maya Hawke). Together, they help each other to enact revenge plots on the people who spread false rumours and leaked private videos of them.

Camila Mendes and Maya Hawke in Do Revenge (2022) // Courtesy of IMDB

Mendes and Hawke are brilliant in their roles (despite being significantly older than the characters they portray) and bring great energy to their characters, which are complemented by a strong peripheral cast.

Game of Thrones’ (2011-2019) Sophie Turner makes a brief cameo, as do Buffy The Vampire Slayer's (1997-2003) Sarah Michelle Geller and Euphoria’s (2019-) Austin Abrams alongside a range of other Netflix stars who make appearances.

Courtesy of IMDB

The screenplay by Jennifer Kaytin Robinson and Celeste Ballard is very well written, particularly in its critique of performative feminism through the character of Max (Austin Abrams), the nail polish-wearing ‘fake woke misogynist’.

It’s also really interesting to look out for moments when the film pays homage to its predecessors in the teen comedy genre. When asked if she wants a tour around her new school, Eleanor says, “as a disciple of the ‘90s teen movie, I would be offended if I didn’t get one”, and proceeds to receive a Mean Girls (2004) style tour of the school's cliques, only with 2022 twists such as the group of ‘Instagram witches’.

Talia Ryder and Maya Hawke in Do Revenge (2022) // Courtesy of IMDB

There is also the makeover trope, whereby the unassuming Eleanor is transformed into a more fashionable blonde version of herself in order to infiltrate ‘Rosehill royalty’. Even then though, the characters are extremely self-aware: Eleanor points out that makeovers are “so problematic” to which Drea replies “they are, but it’s fun” – you can’t argue with that.

The affluent school setting allows for some cool costumes, designed by Alana Morshead, that vary from pastel green and lilac plaid uniforms to some funky floral prints and fun fluffy tops. There is no doubt that these are the best-dressed high-schoolers you will have ever seen.

The soundtrack features several throwback hits, such as Kim Wilde’s Kids in America, which also happens to be the opening track in Clueless (1995). There are also lots of modern songs, such as Brutal by Olivia Roderigo, which perfectly captures the overwhelming nature of high school drama.

Courtesy of IMDB

While sometimes the characters' motivations feel tenuous at times, and Eleanor’s plotline is slightly less convincing, there are actually a few twists towards the end that make the plotline more compelling. The heart of the film is the friendship between Drea and Eleanor, who might seem like archetypical characters on the surface but are actually more complex and have extensive character arcs. Drea realises that her focus on revenge makes her feel "so angry all the time" and makes real friendships with people outside of her usual social circle.

The ending ties all the loose threads together well, and overall this film is a really fun, light-hearted watch that will definitely make you jealous of all of their outfits!

Featured Image: IMDB

What did you think of Do Revenge's attempt at subverting the teenage comedy genre?