HomeMovies'Do Revenge' Review: A Fresh, Original Comedy That Samples From Teen Comedies...

‘Do Revenge’ Review: A Fresh, Original Comedy That Samples From Teen Comedies of the Past

Photo Cr. Kim Simms/Netflix © 2022.

As an initial disclaimer, this reviewer’s interest in watching Do Revenge on Netflix was predominately led by the revelation that none other than Sarah Michelle Gellar herself was a part of it. Whether it was ultimately an entertaining movie or not, that simple fact alone would warrant support. Jennifer Kaytin Robinson is also a fan, so she clearly has great taste, to go along with being a talented writer and director with some impressive credits already to her name. After some initial apprehension early on, this movie really finds another gear and turns into something unique and familiar all at once.

Co-written by Celeste Ballard, Do Revenge pays homage to iconic teen movies of the 90’s directly and subtly, while bringing its own story and fresh energy, effectively blending it all with a soundtrack that will satisfy Millennials and Gen Z alike. The story seems straightforward, with private school students Drea (Camila Mendes) and Eleanor (Maya Hawke) forming an unlikely alliance to help each other get revenge against people that wronged them.

They take turns narrating the action as they put their schemes into motion, and their friendship forms, but the story gets much more complex than you would likely expect. Ultimately it’s about the inherent cruelty kids often suffer and inflict as they struggle for acceptance, and figure out that they can evolve, and don’t have to conform to a life they crafted before. Things go from melodramatic, to chaotically fun, and then take a frenzied and unexpectedly dark turn, which really sets this film apart before its conclusion.

Robinson proved she had a knack for writing snappy dialogue and intense emotional scenes when called for with her debut film, Someone Great and both are gloriously at work again here. If you’re part of the Millennial crowd, you may roll your eyes a bit at some of the vernacular exchange, but it comes with the territory. Some phrases burn brightly for a moment in time, getting immortalized in a movie like this for everyone to laugh at but look back on with nostalgia decades later. Even so, you can appreciate it because the delivery is fantastic, just like we appreciate the same part about a classic like Clueless. As if, right?

The delivery of each line works, because with the exteriors of this insanely posh private school, extravagant houses where parents are never seen, and outlandish parties, anything less would seem absurdly out of place. Also, because everyone in the cast is someone from another wildly popular young show, firmly on the pulse of what’s cool right now. Obviously, Hawke is in Stranger Things, and Mendes comes from Riverdale, but we also have Austin Abrams (Euphoria), Rish Shah (Ms. Marvel), Alisha Boe (13 Reasons Why), and J.D (Outer Banks) just to name a few of the recognizable faces. (It’s probably just a fun coincidence to get that J.D. tie into Heathers.) Not to mention a terrific cameo from Sophie Turner (Game of Thrones) who has the fun of playing a completely unhinged character for just a few captivating minutes at a time.

Chemistry isn’t always the easiest thing to find on screen, but it really shines through with abundance in all the relationships within Do Revenge. In classic fashion our main “protagonist” Drea, finds herself developing feelings for a guy she likely never thought to speak to before, and Mendes and Shah really do a great job getting you invested after one quick, perhaps 10 Things I Hate About You inspired, paint fight. Additionally, Eleanor finds herself smitten with Gabbi (Talia Ryder), the younger sister of Drea’s ex-boyfriend and revenge target Max (Austin Abrams). Ryder delivers without a doubt the most captivating character we see on screen not played by Sarah Michelle Gellar. Everyone strives to be as effortlessly cool as Gabbi is throughout, and you’ll likely find yourself wishing Eleanor would drop the whole revenge plot and just go watch movies with her.

The most important chemistry is of course between Drea and Eleanor as these characters navigate some sharply contrasted opinions of one another over the course of the story. As fun as it is to see them perform the mandatory, She’s All That like makeover on Eleanor, and hang out with her emotional support iguana, Oscar Winner Olivia Coleman, and the other cold-blooded individuals they go to school with, the most pivotal moments are often the quiet ones they spend in reflection with each other. Both show complete vulnerability at times, discussing their real fears and anxiety, and it’s the authenticity on display there that allows you to go on the wild journey with them that is the third act of the film.

It is that third and final act that propels the movie beyond being a well-written and fun reimagining of our favorite genre clichés, and firmly entrenches it as an inventive dark comedy. It all might move a tad too fast, and characters seem to get over one thing and move on to the next very quickly, but these are supposed to be teenagers, so it’s very much on brand when you think about it. Any ending that brings back the Headmaster (Sarah Michelle Gellar), to yield some more life lessons like a grown-up version of her Cruel Intentions character is a perfect one. It also effectively uses the credits to tie up any loose ends you might be wondering about in that fun way movies always used to.

Do Revenge samples more teen movies than you could possibly imagine, and you’ll constantly find yourself doing the DiCaprio point at the screen because you just noticed another nod to a movie you know and love. Anytime you’re going to sample something that’s beloved, you must build something else around it that’s inventive and worthwhile, and Do Revenge accomplishes that touching on some very real growth that can occur amongst the banality of your teenage years. That, and Sarah Michelle Gellar.

Do Revenge is now streaming on Netflix.

Ben Murchison
Ben Murchison
Ben Murchison is a regular contributor for TV and Movies. He’s that guy that spends an hour in an IMDb black hole of research about every film and show he watches. Strongly believes Buffy the Vampire Slayer to be the best show to ever exist, and that Peaky Blinders needs more than 6 episodes per series. East Carolina grad, follow on Twitter and IG @bdmurchison.


  1. Intriguing review. I’m afraid I have been found lacking prior knowledge bin the details of some of the characters, but recognize enough to believe this could entertain, albeit a little less intense perhaps?

Comments are closed.

Most Recent

Stay Connected