It isn’t Summer 16, but I have been looking for all of the revenge plots to fulfill my spooky season media quotient. Especially if you are not a fan of blood and gore, there are some new films in the revenge genre that offer the psychological thrill of horror without the guts.
Specifically, I spent my flights glued to the screen while watching the Netflix comedy, Do Revenge, and the Gone Girl-esque drama, the Luckiest Girl Alive. In many ways, Do Revenge is like Mean Girls for the GenZ crowd, and it hits on some of the most interesting aspects of the revenge genre while also remixing the form with some new elements.
In watching both of these films, I also began to think about why revenge films are so popular and how they follow a formula that balances the human need for hope-filled and horrible narratives. Especially as these films focus on women-centered revenge plots that deal less with traditional expressions or horror.
Complicating Revenge as Genre and Form
I would argue that revenge is one of the most interesting subgenres of the larger category of horror, in part because it gives reason to a traditional horror film. Instead of just viewing all of the attacks as senseless violence, revenge plots make sense of the violence. And, while many people cite cult classics like Carrie (1976) as the quintessential revenge film, I am generally drawn towards the more cerebral takes on the form.
In the case of the film Do Revenge, we are given multiple levels and layers of…