A gritty game of cat and mouse, Revenge is Lara Croft gone rogue. Hollywood has given us an onslaught of slasher horror films where young women are brutally murdered, and from Hotel to Saw, male aggression is a given. With Revenge, the tables are turned, but not before our heroine is stripped of her dignity and left to rot.
Jennifer (Matilda Anna Ingrid Lutz) arrives on a secluded desert hunting retreat with her married lover Richard (Kevin Janssens), like his shiny new toy. When his undesirable friends Stan and Dimitri arrive early to compete in a hunting expedition, Jennifer outnumbered provides a very good-looking distraction. Following Jennifer’s assault by one of the friends, the holiday goes rapidly downhill and with the males forming an alliance, she is forced to make a miraculous escape. Fighting for her survival, Jennifer sets out to wreak revenge, as Richards and his accomplices charge to finish the job.
The men in Revenge are atypical female antagonists, where women are acceptable only when they act in the way they want them to. When women don’t ‘behave’, their uncontrollable anger quickly rears its unruly head. Forming a wolf pack mentality, Richard and his friends absolve themselves of any responsibility, assigning their actions to the fault of a misbehaving woman, they are devoid of reason and compassion. Though the film shows the actions of the men in an extreme form, their motivations are unfortunately not so unfamiliar, with many countries still endorsing this male-dominated state of mind.
This is a horror-action that is deserving of recognition. Revenge had very little international distribution, with only five countries in Europe other than the UK, to have a cinema release. This is thoroughly disappointing, as it highlights that we only want to advertise slasher horrors when women are confined to being a victim. There is no reason why this film with dedicated PR, couldn’t have reached a wider audience, which raises the question of who is dictating the history of film and steering society norms.
Revenge is a violent and bloody expedition and is a warzone up until the last moments of the film. Jennifer’s transformation from plaything to a hunter is a girl’s guide to Taken – if daddy isn’t around. If you're not fond of gore it’s a difficult watch, but please persevere. The film is brave in execution and subject matter and seeks to change the narrative on female violence. Revenge keeps you transfixed, culminating in a final hunting scene with our villain fighting to defeat Jennifer. But despite this moment of divine retribution, even until the bitter end, the race to survive is anyone’s game.
(Photography: M.E.S Productions)
Revenge, 2017 (Film), directed by Coralie FARGEAT, Morocco: M.E.S Productions