The Delicious Drama of Do Revenge

Owen Mitchell ‘25 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer 

Do Revenge, Netflix’s latest original teen flick, is a campy satire that deliberately leans into the delicious drama of classic teen movies, resulting in an overly-long but nonetheless thrilling story of friendship, betrayal, and self-discovery. Spoilers ahead. 

What the films Clueless and Mean Girls were for Gen X and Millennials, Do Revenge is for Gen Z. It’s witty, relevant, and full of iconic moments that will be imitated for years to come. The film, released in late September of 2022 on Netflix, is written and directed by Jennifer Kaytin Robinson, a filmmaker known for creating the MTV show Sweet/Vicious, which has similar themes of female revenge and betrayal. It is clear Robinson knows not only the intricacies and pressures of modern high school life, but has also studied the classic teen flicks that have come before. This includes incorporating nods to films such as 10 Things I Hate About You, brilliantly turning what would otherwise be over-the-top antics into self-aware homages.  

The film stars Camila Mendes (from CW’s Riverdale) as Drea Torres, a Mexican-American high school senior who is obsessed with getting into Yale. To mask her insecurities of having a small house and being a self-made woman of color, she has spent 18 years meticulously curating the perfect teen life. She has the perfect boyfriend, Max (Austin Abrams of Euphoria); a rich best friend, Tara (Alisha Boe of 13 Reasons Why); and was even named Teen Vogue of the year. But her perfect life is turned upside down when an intimate video of Drea is leaked to the entire school and she blames Max, breaking up with him and becoming a social pariah.

Camila Mendes and Maya Hawke play Drea and Eleanor.

Enter Eleanor, who is played by the charming Stranger Things star Maya Hawke. She is an outcasted lesbian who is transferring to Rosehill, Drea’s posh private school in Miami. When Eleanor and Drea meet at a tennis summer camp, the two form an unlikely friendship based on one thing: revenge. While Drea obsesses over getting back at Max for leaking her video, she knows that going after him would ruin her chances at Yale. Meanwhile, Eleanor is seeking revenge against Carissa (Ava Capri), a Rosehill student who supposedly started a devastating rumor about Eleanor’s sexuality at summer camp years ago. Hence, an alliance is formed that is so unlikely it just might work: Drea will work to humiliate Carissa while Eleanor will do revenge on Max, a plot loosely inspired by Hitchcock’s iconic film Strangers on a Train. By doing each other’s revenge, the girls will never have to take the fall for their actions – “Narcissists are too busy thinking about themselves to realize they’re being played,” Drea assures Eleanor.

Cue the revenge plot – first, Drea gives Eleanor a Clueless inspired make-over (“It feels so problematic” Eleanor quips), as Eleanor gets close with Max and Drea’s old friends. Drea successfully enacts revenge on Carissa in a hilarious scene where the entire student body unknowingly trips on shrooms at a school dinner, effectively expelling and humiliating Carissa, who had been growing drugs on the school farm. Just when everything seems to be falling into place, Max (newfound leader of the laughably misogynistic “Cisgender Heterosexual Men to Support Women” club), easily evades social humiliation even after Eleanor anonymously exposes his cheating, throwing a wrench in their plan. 

As Drea prepares for another semester of elaborate revenge plots, the big needle drop twist is revealed: Eleanor is “Nosy Nora”, the girl who had a crush on Drea at summer camp all those years ago. Drea was the one that made up the rumor about Eleanor, not Carissa, and the worst part? Drea doesn’t even remember doing it, and has been the unknowing victim of Eleanor’s revenge all along. “Narcissists are too busy thinking about themselves to realize they’re being played,” Eleanor smugly reminds a defeated Drea in the brilliantly executed twist.

Eleanor and Drea, from friends to enemies.

What ensues is a chaotic third act that is too over-the-top at times but still delivers a satisfying amount of twists and turns as Drea and Eleanor battle for social control after Eleanor stole Drea’s friends, ruined her chances of getting into Yale, and ensured she stayed a social outcast. After the plot twist, the story gives into the gluttonous glamor of girl drama, portraying Eleanor and Drea as scheming masterminds straight out of a superhero comic (Lex Luthor should seriously recruit these two). While climactic and exciting, the revenge plot is excessive at times, even for a satire that pokes fun at the genre. High school drama is truly as volatile and melodramatic as it is portrayed, but some moments, such as when Eleanor crashes her car into Drea’s, are overblown. But pick through the outrageous antics of the finale, and there is an endearing story of two hurt girls, indoctrinated into the competitive environment of modern high school and the cut-throat social dynamics that come with it, who learn to understand themselves and each other to move past their differences.   

Oh, and of course the two girls team up to enact the final revenge plot on the true villain – Max, who leaked Drea’s intimate tape and pitted the girls against each other, a terribly predictable but deliciously satisfying conclusion.

Sophie Turner plays Erica.

Mendes and Hawke have undeniable chemistry and play their high-school characters to perfection (well, about as much perfection as actresses who are almost 30 years old can). Game of Thrones star Sophie Turner plays a small but memorable role as Erica, a victim of Drea’s revenge who is framed for being a coke addict. The film is rife with iconic moments such as Sophie Turner screaming “I don’t DO cocaine”, and even more references to the teen flicks of the 90s and early 2000s that inspired Robinson. The set design, costumes, and make-over scenes nod to Clueless, while a painting date montage between Drea and nice boy Russ (Rish Shah) is a clear homage to the paintball scene from 10 Things I Hate About You. It’s difficult to not think of Mean Girls when a smug Drea stands in the hallway amongst the chaos of high school gossip in an almost exact recreation of Regina George in the hit teen comedy that came out over sixteen years ago. Robinson sprinkles just the right amount of references throughout the film, knowing when to poke fun at the genre and when to contribute original ideas and themes.  

Overall, Do Revenge delivers a nearly perfect teen comedy that contributes a fresh Gen Z perspective and simultaneously pays its respects to the films of the genre that have come before. So, if you love gaudy drama, witty dialogue, and popular teen media stars, all bundled into a modern satirical comedy, Do Revenge is the film for you.  

Show More

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button