Review by Tatiana Miranda
Netflix's newest teenage feature-length film, Do Revenge, is star-studded and an ode to classic high school movies. The movie is filled with a cast of young Hollywood's most well-known stars, including Riverdale's Camila Mendes, Maya Hawke from Stranger Things, Euphoria's Austin Abrams, Alisha Boe from 13 Reasons Why, and Sophie Turner even makes an appearance. With a cast full of actors from popular modern media, it makes sense that the movie would also consist of references to the last decade's cultural artifacts and moments. Similar to this year's social media-driven film Not Okay, Do Revenge is ultimately a campy story about cancel culture.
Do Revenge's director Jennifer Kaytin Robinson states that the film is inspired by the high school movies she grew up loving. Its dark comedy elements are representative of movies such as Jawbreaker and Heathers. Aesthetic influences are clearly tied to Clueless, with the high school's preppy uniforms and the over-the-top, colorful everyday outfits. The best word to describe Do Revenge is camp. From the clothing to dialogue choices, it's clear that the film is a love letter to previous tales of what it's like to be a teenager. Yet, even with the film's '80s and '90s influences, it takes place modern day and tackles the teenage struggles posed by social media.
The movie opens with a party hosted for Camila Mendes's character Drea, a scholarship student at the fictional private school Rosehill. Despite her alleged poverty, she is part of the most popular group in school, has a perfect, loving boyfriend, dreams of going to Yale, and just got featured in Teen Vogue. Everything seems to be going great for her until her nudes are leaked, and chaos ensues. From there, Do Revenge is full of the actions of angsty teens trying to make the world right again, at least their version of "right." The plot is clever and filled with the types of betrayal one would expect from a movie whose plot nods to She's All That.
With its makeover sequences and one-liners, Do Revenge is the ultimate teen movie, yet it prohibits itself from becoming a parody. Although the influences are notable and well-received, the film's modern elements get lost and feel lackluster. Compared to similar recent teen-based shows and movies, such as The Politician and Bodies Bodies Bodies, this film just narrowly misses the mark on either existing outside of a hyperspecific time or capturing modern culture in a way that feels natural. Even with its few flaws, Do Revenge is an entertaining dark comedy that any high school movie fan is bound to enjoy.
Do Revenge begins streaming on Netflix September 16th.