I could never really get into rape revenge movies. Though I’d hate to see what the diehard rape revenge film fan would even look like. The only rape revenge film I actually own is a movie called Thriller, aka They Call Her One Eye, aka Hooker’s Revenge, aka I’m sure a million other titles depending on where it was released in the world and which cut of it it was. The only reason I have it is because of how infamous it is, not to mention how hard it used to be to find.
Before it was released on DVD back in 2004 by Synapse films, the only copy anyone ever had was a shitty VHS bootleg. What makes this particular film infamous is for its eye slicing scene, rumored to be a real cadaver the director got his hands on. Besides the eye gouging, the film also featured hardcore sex scenes. If you were thinking you’d get the chance to see Christina Lindberg doing hardcore porn, you’re shit out of luck, as when the hardcore sex scenes happen, the actors are replaced with doubles.
When you think rape revenge films, I’m guessing you think The Last House on the Left or I Spit on Your Grave.
Last House on the Left I found to be pretty damn boring, with long shots of nothing really going on and the painfully comedic parts dealing with the bumbling local cops made the film feel tone deaf.
I Spit on Your Grave I like a bit more, though the film makes the bizarre choice to go after the lead rapist first, leaving the less important ones for last. Normally, you build up to the main offender, not go right to it. Doing that kind of made everything else that followed less exciting, ending pretty anticlimactically.
Then you have films that try to take the genre and raise it higher than just a subgenre of horror, like Straw Dogs or Irreversible. Another film that doesn’t shy away from its rape scene.
But honestly, if I’m going to watch a rape revenge film, I kind of want it to be trashy, something like Savage Streets. An awesome little 80’s gem featuring Linda Blair taking revenge when her sister, played by scream queen herself Linnea Quigley, gets raped and killed by gang members.
What about the movie Revenge? What kind of rape revenge film is this? Well, it kind of falls in between, part trashy and part… let’s say “arty”. And it kind of makes me wonder why this is getting so much praise. The only thing I can really think of is the fact this one was written and directed by a woman. Where if a man wrote and directed this, the film would be labeled as sadistic and chauvinistic, an anti-woman male fantasy.
But since a woman is directing, it’s now empowering. I hate to come off as one of those men’s rights assholes, but honestly I can’t see why this is getting the praise that it is. It’s really just a generic rape revenge film. And if you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all.
This is a rape revenge film I might add that doesn’t show any rape. I know it’s kind of off putting to be complaining that a film doesn’t have enough rape in it, but it’s kind of the main driving force for these types of films. That’s why most of the ones of this genre never shy away from the rape part of their rape revenge film. The rape is what drives the character to get said revenge, making it sort of crucial to the plot.
You also usually get a bit of backstory to the woman before she is attacked. In Revenge, I wasn’t even sure she had a name until I looked it up on the film’s IMDB page. It’s Jen by the way. Really the only thing we know about her is she’s hot and wants to live in Los Angeles to be a star. That’s it.
It’s the same for everyone else in the film as well. I have no idea who Richard is, just that he is rich and married, sleeping with Jen on the side, who may or may not be a prostitute, I’m not sure. I’m going to say she’s just his side piece. Payment not required.
I’m not saying we need her whole life story, but at least enough that I can remember her name.
Richard is the main bad guy, he’s rich and has taken Jen with him to the desert for one of his annual hunting trips. Before his partners/friends arrive, he wanted to have some alone time with Jen.
But his friends arrive early and catch him with her. Instantly, the friends are creepy with her, eye banging her every chance they get. It’s like they’ve never seen a woman before. Though I do believe they are French, so take from that what you will. Oh by the way, about say… 70% of the film is in subtitles, something the trailer doesn’t showcase. If you have an issue with reading subtitles in movies, beware. I don’t have an issue, but I thought I’d mention it since the trailer doesn’t.
So, as the night goes on, Jen gets a little flirty with everyone and in the morning she finds that Richard has gone on some errands, leaving her alone with Stan and Dimitri.
I’m not sure which is which, but I want to say the creepy one was Stan and the fat creepy one was Dimitri. I’m not saying all Dimitri’s are fat and creepy, but c’mon. You know what you are.
Anyway, Stan the man hits on Jen, but she isn’t having any of it, spurring his advances.
But like the creeper he is, he follows her to her room and watches her change clothes. Like one does.
Not taking no for an answer, he assaults Jen as Dimitri ignores them. The unbelievable part being a guy like that doesn’t stay to watch. His name is Dimitri, of course he’d find a corner to go jerk off in. I’m really coming down hard on people named Dimitri today.
When Richard returns, he is considerably pissed with everyone, wanting to pay Jen off, shipping her off to Canada so she won’t press charges. But when she refuses, bringing up telling his wife about their affair, that’s when he snaps and the only thing left for him to do is kill her.
A bit of an escalation there but whatever.
Jen makes a run for it, only to get pushed off a cliff, having a tree branch catch her fall.
While Richard and pals prepare for their hunting excursion, they stop by the tree to check on Jen’s body, only to find she has freed herself, now bleeding everywhere from the tree branch stuck in her side.
They follow the blood trail, splitting up to find her.
Dimitri takes a piss, only to have Jen sneak up behind him, grabbing his shotgun. But it was a trap he laid for her, letting her come to him. The shotgun is empty.
He tries drowning her but she manages to grab on to his knife, stabbing him in the eyes, killing him.
Now armed with a knife and a shotgun, not to mention Dimitri’s 4 wheeler, she takes off into the desert, only stopping once she runs out of gas.
She takes shelter in a cave where she performs some home surgery on herself, removing the tree branch and cauterizing the wound with the hot tin of a beer can that leaves the image of an eagle burnt to her skin. Get it?! Like a phoenix she’s born again! Get it! Symbolism! Commence eyerolling…. Now!
Now that she is reborn, Jen takes her oversized shotgun with an oversized scope (that seems impractical for a shotgun) and goes asshole hunting. First up, Stan the man, the one who raped her.
He and Richard split up, scouring the desert looking for her.
In only her underwear, Jen manages somehow to catch up to the Jeep Stan is in and shoots him from afar. After wounding him, the two duel it out. The only way she is able to get away is by breaking her flashlight, leaving glass on the sand. Somehow Stan manages to step in it. She gets away as Stan spends about 5 minutes trying to pull glass out of his wound.
Once freed from the glass shard plaguing his foot, he gets back in his Jeep and heads for Jen, who is ready and waiting for him, blasting him in the face as he speeds towards her.
Now armed with a Jeep, you’d think she could just drive to safety and call the cops. But this is a revenge film, so that leads us to the last name on her kill list, Richard.
By this point in the movie I was pretty tired, I really wanted this to kind of just end, I knew how it was going to play out and I didn’t want it to linger much longer. I just wanted it to be over with. But of course it can’t be that simple, as the last five minutes it’s just them literally running around in circles in the house like an old Tom & Jerry cartoon.
For a rape revenge film, it’s okay. The gore was good, but it was lacking any plot, originality and characters. It really did nothing new with the genre and honestly I found myself bored as it was pretty by the numbers for how a film like this usually goes.
The only thing separating this from say a film called Run! Bitch Run! is that at least that film knew what it was and didn’t shy away from it. It embraced the trashiness of the films it was homaging.
Revenge is a trashy splatter film but it’s pretending to be something deeper. And for that, I give this film a soft RENT IT, slightly heading into the skip it direction. But it’s got enough gore in it to make it at least fun enough for the average gorehound to check out. Right now you can only rent it, but I’m not sure paying the 5 or 6 bucks to do that is really worth it.
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