Revenge (dir. Coralie Fargeat, 2018) – Left for dead in the desert, a young woman survives her assault and goes on a bloody manhunt for the wealthy businessmen responsible.
Revenge wears a bright warning against strait-laced individuals, who takes offence at jet-black humour and a generous amount of violence.
A good horror movie does not necessitate blood, but a gallon of the deep red sure is a hell lot of fun. In its retread of vile rape-revenge fantasy I Spit On Your Grave, Revenge puts forward a final girl who shares both an insatiable thirst for retribution and a name with the notorious anti-heroine.
Things are set in motion when Richard (Kevin Janssens) attempts to silence his mistress, whom his hunting partners had sexually assaulted. Jen (Matilda Lutz) tries to escape, but ends up brutally impaled through her gut at the bottom of a cliff.
Unlike its inspiration, the transgressive genre entry takes itself less seriously thereafter. What follows takes on a sheath of dark humour, and unleashes an early test of whether one is to enjoy the rest of the vengeful minutes.
Elevating the suspension of disbelief to an all-time high, Jen survives her gruesome fall. She gouges into the gurgling hole in her stomach under the influence of drugs, before cauterising the wound shut with a makeshift metal sheet. Those who brand her survival as ludicrous, are better off steering clear at this point. Revenge is clearly made for the ones who unhesitatingly cheer at her implausible tenacity.
Her comeback may be a ridiculous bit of fun, but it is the intensity of the payback that gratifies the most in mad, unbridled carnage. There is only more insanity to come, and Coralie Fargeat is here to make sure of it.
The writer-director confidently introduces her feature debut to the New French Extremity, a movement that prides itself in visceral experiences over plot. Her work comes up top. Visually reminiscent of Mad Max: Fury Road, it is a successful amalgam of stylistic choices, dressed in lurid colours and hypnotic close-ups.
Granted that the rape-revenge is by now a tired narrative, it is still notable that former entries (see: Wes Craven’s The Last House on the Left, Robert M. Young’s Extremities, Paul Verhoeven’s Elle) have been largely dominated by men at helm. With Revenge, Fargeat lends a sorely needed female perspective to the story, bringing to screen an unabashedly sensual and empowering almost-super heroine.