Revenge stylises its exploitation sub-genre through bloody cinematography. The old classic "rape and revenge" sub-genre that can bring an entire family of sadistic individuals together on the sofa devouring snacks. Yes, much like 'I Spit On Your Grave' and 'Last House On The Left', there is plenty of revenge. But what differentiates this visceral sensory experience from them is the grounded realism and well-executed thrills. No elaborate torture traps are built, just a woman's natural instinct for survival. An American socialite is having an affair with a married man, and during his absence she gets raped by an associate of his and is left for dead when pushed off a cliff. She survives, recovers and, as the title suggests, seeks revenge on her attackers.
This is a predictable and formulaic narrative, it does not set out to change the sub-genre it resides in. Instead, it embellishes it. Through Fargeat's clean direction and Heyvaert's gorgeous cinematography, the synthesised aesthetic appeal is enhanced to create a new set of thrills. Even the film's score soaks itself in French synth-pop. It captures the social class that our protagonist belongs in, and boy does she have a bad two days. Blood is everywhere. I'm talking Tarantino levels. The makeup was extraordinary, leaving me squeamish and turning my head away as an attacker removes a shard of glass lodged into his foot (no thank you!).
However, you have to suspend your disbelief on multiple occasions. Some wounds, such as falling off a cliff and being impaled by a tree, would be certain of causing death. Even with the absurd amount of blood loss. Yet, she gets on up and continues on with her day. The character of Jen also lacks depth and natural development. One minute she is prancing around in her skimpy bikini, the next becoming Lara Croft of the desert. For a film that has a "feminist spin" to it, it didn't exactly start off appropriately. Fortunately it shifts into the right direction in the second half. So, Revenge is not intelligently changing the formula that it utilises, it embraces it. Stylish, visceral and a bloody good time!