Sommerleigh Pollonais, Horror Head Writer
This October I decided to watch and review some of those great horror movies (31 to be exact) that I missed on their initial release. And for Part 26 of my series of the 31 OF THE BEST HORROR MOVIES YOU (MAY HAVE) MISSED we will be checking out rape-revenge tale Revenge. Let’s get to it:
Day 26 of 31: Revenge (2018)
Director: Coralie Fargeat
Starring: Matilda Anna Ingrid Lutz, Kevin Janssens, Vincent Colombe
IMDb Trivia: The film features so much blood that according to director Corailie Fargeat the prop team would often run out of fake blood.
Plot: Never take your mistress on an annual guys getaway, especially one devoted to hunting who teaches a violent lesson to three wealthy married men.
Review: In the age of the #MeToo movement, how would you go about making a rape-revenge movie? Already a difficult topic to discuss, it’s even more so to put into a visual medium. Ane films like I Spit on Your Grave and The Last House on the Left are not only profoundly difficult to get through, they haven’t aged that well either.
So it’s quite an accomplishment pulled off here by first time director/writer Coralie Fargeat who made her debut with Revenge, a movie that manages to be thrilling and empowering without ever feeling gratuitous.
There are so many positives to this film, from the perfect pacing to the sharp visuals (love the colour choices utilised here) to the sound design that enhances every action set piece beautifully. But for me the rope holding it all together was the writing and the way Fargeat messes with audiences by taking the male gaze and manipulating our expectations of the character those gazes are set squarely on, Matilda Lutz as Jen.
We tend to judge people by their appearance and Fargeat knows this as she introduces us to the scantily clad and confidently sexual Jen. Jen is spending time with her boyfriend Richard in a remote but beautiful house isolated by desert on every side. It’s quickly revealed Richard is married, not that Jen cares (again all of this is leading us to think of Jen in a certain light) and their romantic getaway is shattered when two men appear. These are friends of Richard, Stan and Dimitri, and with their introduction the tone of the movie shifts and the dread begins to build.
I won’t spoil anything further and you might be thinking “What’s there to spoil?” “I know what happens next because I’ve seen movies like this.” That may be true, but there is a bit of a twist here (I certainly didn’t expect it) and from that point forward the blood, bullets and heart-pounding game of revenge begins.
Huge props has got to go to Matilda Lutz here. I honestly can’t begin to imagine the physical demands that went into shooting this movie, not to mention the emotional aspects of playing a character such as Jen. She glues it all together with her transformation from arm-candy to tough-as-nails heroine and I bought it hook, line and sinker. Richard, Stan and Dimitri are the kind of scumbags you just love to watch get their comeuppance and the action is shot with so much energy there isn’t a moment that feels wasted here.
Revenge strikes the perfect balance necessary for a film like this to truly work. Nothing feels gratuitous but at the same time the material is not treated lightly. Lutz is dynamite in the lead role and I for one can’t wait to see what French writer/director Coralie Fargeat has coming our way next.
Sommer’s Score: 7 out of 10
You can check out Part 25 of my 31 Days List and horror/thriller Cold Hell together with Part 21 of my List supernatural revenge tale Avenged.
Sommerleigh of the House Pollonais. First of Her Name. Sushi Lover, Queen of Horror Movies, Comic Books and Binge Watching Netflix. Mother of two beautiful black cats named Vader and Kylo. I think eating Popcorn at the movies should be mandatory, PS4 makes the best games ever, and I’ll be talking about movies until the zombie apocalypse comes.
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