Netflix film “Do Revenges”, which was released on last Friday, is a high school comedy film which willingly and proudly follows the footsteps of its seniors. While clearly influenced by a number of notable high school flicks such as “Clueless” (1995), “Cruel Intentions” (1999), and, yes, “Mean Girls” (2004), the movie also distinguishes itself enough in terms of story and characters, and it is surely one of better offerings from Netflix during this year.
At first, the movie tells the story via the viewpoint of Drea (Camila Mendes), a very promising female student of one prestigious high school in Florida. Although she is not that affluent compared to many of her schoolmates, she has steadily established herself as the queen of her school as having herself closely associated with many rich and popular girls in the school, and the movie opens with another event to solidify her prominent status in the school.
However, her carefully established public image is ruined by one unfortunate incident not long after that. When her boyfriend Max (Austin Abrams), who is incidentally the student president of the school, requests a little sex video clip of hers, Drea instantly gives him what he wants without any hesitation, but it turns out to be a big mistake. On the very next day, her sex video clip is spread around many of her schoolmates, and, feeling quite humiliated and exasperated, she comes to make another mistake right in front of her friends and many other schoolmates. As a consequence, she becomes more humiliated and disgraced, and that also subsequently causes a serious trouble in her ambitious plan for her future.
Anyway, Drea tries to endure as much as possible while she and her schoolmates begin their senior year, but there are two things which makes her enraged more than before. After leaving her, Max becomes the boyfriend of one of her ‘best friends’, and he also proudly presents himself as a feminist in front of many others as announcing a new association of his which supposedly promotes and supports feminism. Because she is sure that Max is the one who spread her sex video clip, Drea understandably becomes all the more furious, but she cannot do anything about that because any act of revenge from her may get her expelled from the school.
When she is trying to calm herself down, Drea is approached by a newly transferred female student named Eleanor (Maya Hawke). They actually met each other before the beginning of their senior year, and Eleanor shows some sympathy to Drea because she already knows about what happened to Drea in addition to also having someone who totally ruined her school life. According to her, she once approached to some other girl as feeling attracted to her, but, after coming to learn about Eleanor’s sexual attraction to her, this girl not only exposed and humiliated Eleanor in public, and Eleanor is still seething with anger and resentment behind her seemingly docile façade.
As they come to talk more each other about their respective issues, Drea comes to have one bright idea actually derived from Alfred Hitchcock’s classic film “Strangers on a Train” (1951). While Drea will work on Eleanor’s revenge, Eleanor is going to work on Drea’s revenge in the meantime, and that seems to be a perfect plan for both of them to get away with having what they respectively want right now.
Once Eleanor agrees to work with Drea, the screenplay by director Jennifer Kaytin Robinson and Celeste Ballard cheerfully bounces back and forth between its two heroines as they embark on their respective targets. Because that girl mentioned by Eleanor also happens to be in their school, it is not so difficult for Drea to approach to that girl, and she soon finds out something bad behind that girl. Although she needs extra preparation in advance, it does not take much time for Eleanor to attract the attention of Max and his inner circle members, and Eleanor soon comes upon something dirty behind him.
It is not much of a spoiler to tell you that our two heroines come upon a series of setbacks later in the story, but the movie steadily doles out expected things along with some nice surprises for us. While Drea finds herself attracted to some nice boy who is incidentally a friend of her target, Eleanor cannot help but feel empowered by her dramatically changed status, and then she feels a bit conflicted when she comes to befriend Max’s younger sister, who sincerely wants to get really closer to Eleanor.
Even when the story is heading to its expected finale, the main cast members of the film dutifully hold our attention, and their game efforts on the screen is often delightful to watch. While Camila Mendes holds the ground first, Maya Hawke, who is the daughter of Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman, is also effective as the other half of the film, and several other performers in the film including Austin Abrams, Rish Shah, Talia Ryder, and Sarah Michelle Gellar, whom you may remember for her deliciously nasty performance in “Cruel Intentions”, are also solid in their respective supporting roles.
On the whole, “Do Revenge”, which is Robison’s second feature film after “Someone Great” (2019) (This film is also available on Netflix, by the way), is an entertaining genre piece packed with enough wit and personality, and I enjoyed the effortless comic chemistry between its two lead actresses. Yes, girls can be pretty mean, and it is sometimes fun to watch how nasty they can be, isn’t it?