Teen comedies were huge in the 80s and 90s. For entire decades the genre was big with audiences, people loved to watch these kids getting into trouble and experiencing their first big moments in life together. The genre also did big numbers at the box office, and some of those movies are considered classics in Hollywood cinema. However, after those two decades were left in the past, the genre simply died, and it is strange to find new installments that feel fresh or even relevant. Let’s review Do Revenge, a new Netflix teen movie that does just that.
Do Revenge is a film written and directed by Jennifer Kaytin Robinson and stars Camila Mendes, Maya Hawkins, Austin Abrams, and Talia Ryder. The film tells the story of Drea, the de facto queen of high school, and her fall from her throne. After this tragedy occurs, she will join forces with Eleanor, an outsider who, like Drea has a thirst for revenge against the people that wronged her many years ago. The two will become best friends, but their revenge goals might do more than hurt those they hate.
Do Revenge is an excellent film, especially for being a Netflix film, if you know what I mean. Lately, the streaming service has been having a quality problem, and most of its releases often fall into the “bad” to “mediocre” bins. People have now accepted that the term “Netflix film” comes with a certain level of quality, which is frequently very poor. However, every once in a while, Netflix surprises us with the release of something that is actually good. Do Revenge is precisely that kind of film, and it is even more surprising when you realize that the movie is part of the teen movie genre.
So, how does Do Revenge manage to be better than basically every other teen film in the past few years? Well, the film first has a very solid script. There is nothing really transcendent about the story, but the characters are strong enough that they can transform this very simple plot into something that feels fresh and new. There are just so stories that can be told, but Robinson and her teen movie do it very well. By the end of the film, you will feel like you have watched a new classic.
This is a very modern movie. There is a lot of talk about feminism, toxic masculinity, and so many of those progressive subjects, but unlike other stories or films, they don’t feel shoehorned in. They feel natural because the story makes them part of it, instead of just another box that needs to be checked to appeal to some demographic. These themes are not subtle, but they are never executed with a mean spirit of band intentions in mind. It would be great if other films could follow this way of working with those subjects.
The strongest element of the film is the acting. Robinson manages to pull some great performances out of her actors, and they make the movie so much better for it. Mendes serves as a great main character, you can really feel her desperation and anger, and when she has to calm down, she is also great at those more intimidating moments. Maya Hawkins, on the other hand, is just a natural star. She is just as charismatic as her parents and stands alone as the best performer in the movie, especially towards the end of the film when the emotions become a real rollercoaster.
Austin Abrams is also fantastic. The actor has become a familiar face thanks to his role in Euphoria, and here he really shows he has the range to basically play any kind of role. He plays here one of the most awful villains in any teen movie ever and does it with energy and credibility. Let’s hope we can see more of him in the coming years. Talia Ryder also makes an appearance, and although her role is smaller, she makes a great impression. Her role in the stunning Never Rarely Sometimes Always has put her on our radar, and she deserves to be so much more.
If there is something that might hurt the film, it is that sometimes the story becomes too predictable, which is a staple in this kind of movie, and also the run time feels long towards the end. The pacing is nice, but there might have been a couple of scenes that could have been cut to make the pacing more snappy as things start going out of control towards the end. This isn’t something that will really hurt the movie, but the potential to make the movie feel more polished is very clear.
Nevertheless, Do Revenge is an amazing watch, highly entertaining, and while the story is not creating anything new or revolutionary. The cast and their acting chops really make you feel like you need to see this story until the very end. The direction is also quite good, with Robinson knowing how to frame each scene and extract the most out of every situation. The film stands in this hyperreality where everything feels too real to be true. It is all good, though, and we can only hope the film finds the audience it deserves.