Revenge 2017 Movie Scene Matilda Anna Ingrid Lutz as Jen holding a Mossberg 590DA1 shotgun with scope attached and waiting for Dimitri

Revenge [2017]

For six years I have been avoiding this movie thinking it’s going to be another commercial thriller. The poster featuring a hot young lady holding a shotgun and a familiar plot put me off completely. I didn’t even bother looking up who was behind such a seemingly below-average movie. If I had only known that this is a French movie, I would’ve checked it out immediately. Revenge is a brutal, visually impactful, and above all, gripping blend of action, thrills, and horror. It’s definitely style-over-substance but when both the style and substance are this juicy, who fucking cares!?

We will be following a smoking hot girl who finds herself at the mercy of three assholes during their annual hunting vacation. Coralie Fargeat, director and writer of this movie, casually explores relevant and intriguing themes. She’s walking a fine line between artistic expression and engaging storytelling making the most of both worlds. Revenge starts like a steamy erotic thriller featuring a lot of shots of our heroine Jen half-nude. They are at the same time arousing and thought-provoking, delving into sexuality, lust, and ultimately, morality.

However, I don’t want you to think that Revenge is one of those French black-and-white arthouse movies. This is a beautifully shot, expertly edited, and perfectly paced revenge movie. The first thing that’s going to hit you is the sheer quality of the cinematography. Using just one location and the barren landscapes that surround it, Coralie made the most of the undoubtedly small budget. The entire movie was shot in Morocco, keeping the cost of production low. This means that a hefty portion of the money went towards the believable, graphic, and bloody both special and practical effects.

Richard is a wealthy businessman enjoying his annual getaway with an ambitious young girl in his luxurious desert vacation home. Jen has high hopes and dreams to move to Los Angeles and start a career. And Richard just might be her ticket out of the world of poverty. The next morning, Stan and Dimitri, two of his friends arrive early in the morning. All three of them are looking forward to doing some hunting and spending time away from their families. However, what’s going to happen next is going to change those plans. Or is it?

Revenge is your above-average classic revenge movie for the most part. And yet I had to list it as a horror movie because of several highly graphic and visceral scenes. The one involving Dimitri towards the end was so nasty and realistic that I couldn’t look away despite wanting to so hard. I don’t know how these scenes are going to go with the average viewer but I think you should know they’re there. There’s so much blood in this movie that the prop team would often run out of fake blood during shots.

As someone who watched almost all of the New French Extremity movies, this was nothing new to me. And, additionally, you had the whole revenge aspect helping you power through them. Martyrs, for example, not only doesn’t have those redeeming qualities but it even punches you in the brain with its disturbing concepts. I should also mention that while revenge is the main theme of the movie Revenge, there are also several others ripe for exploration. Apart from perseverance, masculinity, and power dynamics, I would also like to single out rebirth. And don’t get me started on the half-bitten apple…

This brings me to the next thing I want to talk about and that’s realism. Revenge is not one of those brutally realistic movies but a carefully and intelligently constructed masterpiece that allows itself to venture into other realms. Since everything is just so fucking perfect, even those who were looking for this won’t be disappointed with these excursions. I know I wasn’t. Even if I thought, well that’s a bit contrived, the movie brought me back with the next creative camera angle or an uncomfortably long scene. For some, this won’t be enough, but I want you to think about realism in other movies.

With those movies, you’re willing to suspend belief, so why you shouldn’t the do same here? Especially when the content isn’t as surreal as in, let’s say Titane, another highly visceral French horror/thriller featuring a female lead. Finally, I don’t need to tell you that all of the members of the cast gave excellent performances, especially our leading lady Matilda Anna Ingrid Lutz. If you’re looking for movies like Revenge, you can check out several great French horror movies: InsideIlsFrontieres, and Heute Tension. Additionally, since the story takes place in the deserts of Morroco, The Hills Have Eyes remake by French director Alexandre Aja is also a good choice.  

Director: Coralie Fargeat

Writer: Coralie Fargeat

Cast: Matilda Anna Ingrid Lutz, Kevin Janssens, Vincent Colombe, Guillaume Bouchède

Fun Facts: Coralie Fargeat drew inspiration from classic revenge/vigilante movies like First Blood and Mad Max while writing Revenge. It’s also interesting that she never saw I Spit On Your Grave, one of the most famous movies in this weird subgenre I dare not to mention because of spoilers.


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