Serving Revenge San Fernando Style


Grey Olson, Editor

They say revenge is a dish best served cold, but in the 2022 movie Do Revenge, directed by Jennifer Kaytin Robinson, the more fitting phrase is “dish best served.” The film is a dark teen comedy taking on rumor, reputation, scandal, and sisterhood in a no holds barred Gen Z style, but with snarky characters and snappy dialogue more fitting of a Powell/Loy screwball comedy. It stars Camila Mendes and Maya Hawke (already bona fide teen stars from their respective turns in Riverdale and Stranger Things) as two teenagers at an elite Miami boarding school with vastly different life experiences. They are brought together by a chance meeting at a summer tennis camp, where they agree to take revenge on the other’s rival, or as Mendes’s character, Drea Torres, puts it, “do each other’s revenge.”  

The film’s premise borrows heavily from the 1951 Hitchcock film Strangers on a Train, and the 1950 Patricia Highsmith novel that inspires it, which Hawke’s character is seen reading at one point, but its premise is more than a cheap imitation. The influence of the teen movie moment of the 1990s is seen in the flick, from Alana Morshead’s costume design, with school uniforms blending pastel and plaid in a campy style referencing Amy Heckerling’s 1995 film Clueless, and in the soundtrack, as tracks like Hole’s “Celebrity Skin” and “Dreams” by The Cranberries find their place among hits by Billie Eilish and Olivia Rodrigo. Nineties teen idol Sarah Michelle Gellar makes a notable appearance as the headmaster of the expensive Country Day school the characters inhabit, ruling with a perfectly manicured iron fist, which she uses to trim bonsai as much as to lead her flock. Her relationship with Drea, a scholarship student, shows how she balances understanding with Machiavellianism. When a scandal destroys Drea’s status as queen bee, and she retaliates by punching her golden-boy boyfriend, who she believes to be responsible, the headmaster tells her, “Your peers have the luxury of operating on impulse,” something her status as an outsider negates. To keep from any more physical altercations, Drea bides her time over the summer at a tennis camp, where she meets Hawke’s character, Eleanor, a daughter of wealth who can’t bear inhabiting the role. The two soon hatch a plan to destroy their respective enemies in spectacular fashion. Game of Thrones star Sophie Turner even makes an appearance as Erica, a British tennis pro Drea plots against early in the movie, and she gets to deliver some of the film’s best lines. 

The movie’s masterful blend of malicious plotting and messy teenage life provides an apt canvas for its story, and leaves Do Revenge as a fitting addition to the oversaturated teen movie genre. It’s well worth a watch.