Netflix is known for its movies and series that target Gen Z audiences, mainly by incorporating 'wokeness' into their content-whether it's about racism, feminism, classism, or even mental health issues. Do Revenge, Netflix's latest dark comedy starring Camila Mendes and Maya Hawke, is no exception. In an interview with Vanity Fair, director Jennifer Kaytin Robinson said she wanted to "make a campy popcorn movie that does not live in reality." And that is exactly what she did! Do Revenge is a stylish, entertaining teen flick that brings back to life all things we love from 90's teen movies while still being relevant to Gen Z's spirit and culture.
The story begins when Drea (Camila Mendes), the queen bee in an elite private school, got dethroned after her sex tape was leaked. Meanwhile, Max (Austin Abrams), Drea's ex-boyfriend and the alleged culprit who leaked the sex tape, was the school's golden boy who constantly portrays himself as a woke ally that respects women and supports feminism. After losing her reputation and almost losing her chance at going to Yale, Drea befriends the awkward new student, Eleanor (Maya Hawke).
Eleanor herself has a thirst for vengeance she was outed by her crush during summer camp when she was thirteen. And it turns out that Carissa, Eleanor's crush who is now her enemy, is attending the same school as her. Eleanor wishes for Carissa to experience miserable faith, while Drea wishes for Max to be exposed as a fake woke, misogynistic male. Together, Drea and Eleanor plot to do each other's revenge so that no one will be able to trace it back to them.
Do Revenge has all the formulas of a classic teen movie; it has a strong plot, a satisfying resolution, a catchy pop-based-genre soundtrack, and on top of that the costume design is top-notch. But what makes Do Revenge more enjoyable to watch is how there are so many easter eggs from the 90s and early 2000s teen movies scattered throughout the movie. For instance, the makeover scene where Drea transforms Eleanor into a fashionable, confident, individual is parallel to the scene from Clueless (1995) where Tai gets a makeover from Cher and Dione.
Another one is when Drea becomes romantically involved with the school's bad-boy-edgy-loner Russ, whose persona resembled Patrick Verona from 10 Things I Hate About You (1999). Just like Verona, Russ also rides a motorcycle. And on top of all that, we get to see Sarah Michelle Gellar who played Kathryn in Cruel Intentions (1999) make an appearance as the headmistress of the school.
But the best achievement of Do Revenge is how it unapologetically captures the highs and lows of the woke era. Some of Netflix's effort of becoming woke has received no little amount of backlash. For example, Purple Hearts (2022) a romance drama between a liberal aspiring singer and a conservative Marine officer was criticized over racist and misogynistic themes. Not to mention, the premise of a love story between star-crossed lovers with different political views raises a lot of questions from the audience. Do Revenge, on the other hand, uses these themes as a backdrop for a fun and thrilling high school drama. All the dialogues are well written and the characters-despite being inspired by cliche high school archetypes are complex instead of one dimensional.
Do Revenge is a refreshing, entertaining teen flick that deserves our attention. Especially in the era where many writers and directors tried so hard, but failed, to be relevant to young audiences.