Like any exploitation film worth its weight in blood, Revenge premiered at midnight as part of the 2017 Toronto Film Festival.
Soon after that, the movie’s festival run took a bold step by earning a screen at Sundance 2018.
Like any film critic worth their weight in words, I saw Revenge at midnight when it screened at The Florida Film Festival.
Revenge centers around Matilda Anna Ingrid Lutz (The Fifth Wheel, Summertime) as Jen, an alluring yet capable woman who is taken to an isolated desert house by Richard, Kevin Janssens (The Ardennes, The Emperor Of Taste (TV)), a male suitor, only to end up fighting for her life when his two hunting companions have plans of their own.
There are countless movies with the title of Revenge, so to make it clear, this is Revenge (2017) from Writer-Director Coralie Fargeat (Reality+ (Short), Le Telegramme (Short)).
This is a promising and unrelenting feature debut for Fargeat. Key scenes of violence and suspense are brought to new heights of hyper-realism with stylized editing, strong visuals and dynamic sound.
This is evident from the very beginning with a shot from inside a helicopter, we see a split focus shot of a stoic Richard in extreme close up, while Jen sits in the back seat and enjoys the ride.
It should be said, but not come as a surprise, that the Writer-Director of Revenge, Coralie Fargeat is a female. Let me just say this girl puts the “G” back in Genre film!
Women have been proving themselves as exceptional Horror filmmakers for decades now. American Psycho was directed by Mary Harron who co-wrote the screenplay with Miss Guinevere Turner, M.F.A made the grade with Natalia Leite directing a script written by Leah McKendrick.
Indie producer Roger Corman was one of the first to give females a stab at Horror, all three films of The Slumber Party Massacre franchise were written and directed by women.
How can we forget the indie hit Prevenge, which was written, directed and starring Alice Lowe, all while she was eight months pregnant.
In that way Revenge is just another example of a woman taking a bold fresh look at a genre dominated by men.
There is not a whole lot of character development in Revenge, but the thrills, style and overall tone it delivers on makes this omission a mere footnote.
Revenge is released with dialogue that is half English language and half French with subtitles. If some of you are cringing out there, please do not let this keep you from watching this movie, it is a story told mostly through visuals, actions and atmosphere.
So what is Revenge…. beside that thing you want when you thumb through your high school yearbook? Revenge is an action packed, tightly wound, classic case of boys against girls.
It starts off trading on sex appeal with Richard, the married man who brings his sexy mistress, Jen to his isolated summer home for a fling.
In short order Richard’s two hunting buddies arrive and one of them makes the grave mistake of raping Jen while Richard is away.
When Richard returns he has no choice but to side with the men. They decide they must kill Jen to keep out of jail and cover up whatever other illegal mayhem these men are up to.
What follows is a well paced game of cat and mouse that is far afield from your typical rape revenge film. The lush desert surroundings, the prolonged fight and the need to treat your own near fatal injuries are all used to a boiling point.
It was great to see a character like Jen, who is believable as this lean bad ass, who is as lovely as she is lethal. Jen is cunning, she outsmarts these men who clearly underestimate her.
By the end of the movie you will forget that the whole movie was really just four characters running around one large location. That is what the spirit of Indie film is all about, delivering on a premise with conviction, using all your resources at your disposal.
I urge you to seek out Revenge when it hits select theatres on May 11th or later when it is released on Shudder.
Curt Wiser is the Writer, Director of the Suspense movie Cam-Girl. As a filmmaker and artist he is determined to chase down original movies and share them with the world.