Welcome to 31 Days of Streaming Horror. Every day this October we’ll be highlighting a different streaming horror movie to help you get into the Halloween spirit. Today’s entry: Revenge (2018).
Now Streaming on Shudder
Sub-Genre: Extremely brutal rape and revenge thriller shot in vivid, pop-art colors
Best Setting to Watch It In: While covered in the blood of those who’ve wronged you
How Scary Is It?: The horror here is extreme, but don’t expect jump-scares or anything supernatural
The so-called “rape and revenge” sub-genre is extremely difficult to navigate for reasons that should be obvious. More often than not this is a sub-genre plagued with exploitation. And most of the time, the films in question are being created by male filmmakers. Revenge, however, comes from female director Coralie Fargeat. Fargeat does something remarkable here, using the framework of an exploitation film to craft something far more intelligent, with feminist overtones. While there is a rape in the film, Fargeat doesn’t linger on the scene and shoots it in an almost abstract way. “For me, that’s not what the film’s about,” the director said in an interview. “So I didn’t feel the need to make it visually important. Before she is raped, she’s told it’s her fault, that she created the situation. I wanted to deal with the psychological and verbal violence towards her — the rape is symbolic of the way she’s considered and treated.”
That doesn’t make the movie any less brutal, though. To be clear: Revenge is not for everyone, and there’s nothing wrong with avoiding this movie if you think you can’t handle it. But if you can, you’re in for a hyper-stylized, ultra-gory, unrelenting experience. Fargeat deftly blends beauty with gruesomeness, conjuring up something tantamount to a pop art print painted in blood.
Matilda Lutz turns in a killer performance (in more ways than one) as Jen, a young woman who thinks she’s headed off on a sexy getaway with Richard (Kevin Janssens), a married man she’s having an affair with. The two end up at Richard’s super secluded desert house, but before their fun can begin, Richard’s two boozy, brutish buddies (Vincent Colombe and Guillaume Bouchède) show up a day early for a pre-planned hunting trip. After a drunken night by the pool, one of Richard’s friends rapes Jen. Richard’s solution is to try to buy Jen of – because he doesn’t want the affair to come out. A series of unfortunate events leads to Jen badly wounded, and believed by the men to be dead.
But Jen isn’t dead. She rises up, bloody and bruised, struggling to survive. The men discover she’s still alive and they plan to hunt her down and kill her, but they have another thing coming. Because soon the tables have turned, and it’s Jen who is hunting them. Pulsing with a thumping synthwave-style score courtesy of Robin Coudert and bursting with eye-popping cinematography via Robrecht Heyvaert, Revenge is unlike anything you’ve ever seen.
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