The first feature film by writer/director Coralie Fargeat is an ultra-stylish blood-drenched masterpiece with a delightfully twisted sense of humour. Bringing the rape-revenge genre to a new generation, Revenge follows Jen (Matilda Lutz) – a young woman left for dead after being raped and assaulted by a group of three men on a hunting trip (Kevin Janssens, Vincent Colombe and Guillaume Bouchède) – as she takes it upon herself to exact her gruesome vengeance in a tense game of cat and mouse in the desert.
The French auteur has created what can only be described as pure cinematic euphoria through her visionary creativity. Vibrant neon colours pop from the screen which – accompanied by a trance-like electronic score – give sequences a mesmerising appeal, whilst other scenes utilise surrealist symbolism that is just as enthralling as it is disturbing. Even the movie’s most stomach-churning moments of gore (one involving a piece of glass and a foot) maintain so much dynamism and artistry that it’s hard to tear your eyes away from an image you’d rather not look at. While this picture is not for the faint-hearted – and can even be difficult to watch at times – the hard-hitting nature of these episodes acts to punctuate the film’s harsh subject matter in a way that complements Fargeat’s excessive style.
An aspect of Revenge that must be praised is the director’s ability to build tension. From the moment our heroine decides it’s payback time, the action and thrills gradually build into a visceral climax which serves as a completely satisfying conclusion, and the perfect fanfare to end on.
For carrying much of the feature on her own, Lutz does a fantastic job modernising the wronged woman horror trope for contemporary cinema. Though there can be arguments made against the piece for its voyeuristic and hypersexualised depiction of its female lead, Fargeat brings a tongue-and-cheek approach that both embraces and subverts this B-movie trope. Rape-revenge films have long been part of a feminist cinematic discourse which this new picture will undoubtedly play a large hand in shaping in the future.
Beautiful, brutal, insane and glorious, Revenge is a tour de force of twisted creativity that the horror genre has not seen in years. Although it might put you off eating for a while, this is simply unmissable.
Revenge is released in select cinemas on 11th May 2018.
Watch the trailer for Revenge here: