Title: Do Revenge
Released: 2022

Fix: teen films, 1990s, early aughts, mean girls, social heirarchy, bullying, revenge, rich kids
Platforms: Netflix

Netflix Summary:

A dethroned queen bee at a posh private high school strikes a secret deal with an unassuming new student to exact revenge on each other’s enemies.

FYA Summary:

In a land of excessive wealth and even more excessive fashions (Miami), Drea has managed to climb to the top of the social ladder. She’s the queen bee at Rosehill High (despite being a scholarship student with a nurse mother), dating the most popular boy in school, the subject of a Teen Vogue editorial, and hopefully heading to Yale in the fall. But when someone leaks her nudes to the entire school, Drea is in danger of losing her friends, her boyfriend, her scholarship, and her chances at Yale.

Eleanor is a new student at Rosehill High. She’s spent the last few years lying low after her best friend outed her as a lesbian and claimed Eleanor held her down and tried to kiss her. But now she’s back, and ready to get revenge.

Drea and Eleanor form an unlikely friendship when they team up to get revenge on each other’s enemies. But in going undercover in each other’s friend groups, they threaten to lose themselves and their ultimate goal along the way.

Familiar Faces:

Camila Mendes as Drea and Maya Hawke as Eleanor

Cami’s best known for her role as Veronica Lodge in Riverdale, and while I’m no Riverdale expert, I imagine that Veronica is a bit of a rich, popular mean girl. In Do Revenge, Drea is a poor, popular, mean girl – a scholarship student who rose among the ranks to queen bee status. Camila’s great in the role: funny and fearsome, a bully with just the right amount of vulnerability to convince the viewer that she has more to lose than everyone else.

Maya, known mostly for her role as Robin in Stranger Things and for being heir to Hollywood royalty Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke, plays Eleanor as awkward but relatable, and without spoilers, I’ll just say that this role lets her show a range we haven’t seen from her yet.

HRH Sarah Michelle Gellar as The Headmaster

The vibe is “If Kathryn from Cruel Intentions became headmaster of a very rich high school.” No, literally. As the kids say: we stan.

Jonathan Daviss as Elliot and Austin Abrams as Max

I was thrilled to see Jonathan Daviss on the screen – I loved him from that time I got COVID and binged two seasons of Outer Banks. I would’ve liked to see more of him here, but he was unfortunately relegated to side character who delivered hilarious punchlines through most of the movie.

Austin Abrams – aka Dash of Dash and Lily – plays Max, Drea’s boyfriend who may or may not have leaked her nudes and ruined her life. I mean this in the most complimentary way when I say that Austin-as-Max is possibly the most punchable character I’ve endured in awhile. He is the epitome of cishet white dude who gets away with EVERYTHING. You’ll love to hate him.

Left to right: Maia Reficco as Montana, Alisha Boe as Tara, Camila Mendes as Drea, and Paris Berelc as Meghan

Montana, Tara and Meghan make up the mean girl trio who drop Drea the moment her nudes are leaked. Of the three, Tara is the only one with something resembling a character arc. Alisha Boe, who you may know from 13 Reasons Why, plays Tara a bit like Dionne from Clueless but ultimately gives her a bit of unexpected depth.

Sophie Turner as Erica

None other than Sansa Stark Jonas makes a cameo as the hilariously unhinged Erica, one of Drea’s nemeses who finds herself in rehab after she becomes the victim of a revenge plot.

Couch-Sharing Capability: Friends Required

I watched this movie with my husband, and by “with my husband” I mean he was reading one of his boring business books across the room. DO NOT RECOMMEND. You need friends with you who can scream-sing the soundtrack, which is a perfect blend of 90s teen film classics (“The Impression That I Get” by the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, “Do You Know (What It Takes)” by Robyn, “Praise You” by Fat Boy Slim), covers of 90s teen film classics (“Kids in America” covered by Maude Latour and a Bridgerton-esque orchestral version of “How Bizarre”), and new songs that are bound to become teen film classics (Caroline Polachek’s “So Hot You’re Hurting My Feelings,” Olivia Rodrigo’s “Brutal,” and Billie Eilish’s “Happier Than Ever”). Here’s a Spotify link because I fully plan to listen to this soundtrack exclusively for a bit.

You’re also going to want friends who will do a Leonardo-DiCaprio-pointing-at-the-screen every time they recognize a reference to teen films of yore, like this romantic paintball moment:

Recommended Level of Inebriation: Viewer’s Choice

Do Revenge is quality enough to enjoy sober, but if you grew up watching teen films of the 90s and early aughts, then you’ll be familiar enough with its formula that sobriety isn’t required. The film offers up a few twists and turns, but you don’t need a PhD to see where it’s going.

Use of Your Streaming Subscription: Respects Its Elders

This movie is a LOT of fun, and it’s especially fun to find all the Easter eggs and references to teen movies it makes. The fashion, makeover montages and feather-puff pens of Clueless (Rosehill High even has a “Horowitz” Hall – we see you, Cher!). The croquet, plaid capes, and mean girl trios of Heathers. The social politics of Cruel Intentions and Jawbreaker. The paintball make outs of 10 Things I Hate About You. The getaway convertible and daisy earrings of Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion. And those are just the parallels I found upon first viewing! Do Revenge is a perfect update on a classic trope: it pays homage to the movies that paved the way, while putting its own Gen Z twist on the genre.

Have you watched Do Revenge yet? Tell me which 90s movie references I missed in the comments!

Rosemary lives in Little Rock, AR with her husband and cocker spaniel. At 16, she plucked a copy of Sloppy Firsts off the "New Releases" shelf and hasn't stopped reading YA since. She is a brand designer who loves tiki drinks, her mid-century modern house, and obsessive Google mapping.