*TW: Sexual assault*
I won’t lie, this week might not be everyone’s cup of char – the film in question is a rape revenge action horror and looks at some truly horrible themes. It is however written and directed by Coralie Fargeat which makes a difference and was one of the reasons I could stomach it in the first place. There are also some really interesting body horror moments as well – and I really like the film.
But to the girl.
Jen is an American socialite having a relationship with her married neighbour Richard (Kevin Janssens). One weekend the pair fly out to his secluded house in the desert to spend a saucy few days before he goes off on his annual hunting trip with pals Stan and Dimitri (Vincent Colombe and Guillaume Bouchède). That’s the plan anyway but when his friends arrive early, Richard (or DICK) is disappointed as he wanted to keep his lover a secret. The group have a night of drinking and dancing anyway, and all is well in the world.
Except when Dick leaves the house temporarily, Stan rapes Jen, claiming she’d been all over him the night before. Dimitri witnesses the attack but actively doesn’t do anything about it. When Dick returns, he tells Stan off and tries to buy Jen’s silence with a wad of cash. When she understandably flips, threatening to tell his wife about the affair and runs off into the desert, the men pursue her. Dick pushes his girlfriend off a cliff, leaving her impaled on a tree – JOB DONE.
Little do these cowardly motherfuckers know that it takes more than that to keep a good Final Girl down and now she’s out for bloody revenge. Good luck shitheads!
The Final Girl
Jen’s resilience is what marks her as the fiercest of final girls. Most people (me) would hang upside down in that bush until death carried me away in its sweet, sweet embrace but not Jen. Angered by the horrifying actions of her scumbag boyfriend, she uses this emotion to get the fuck on with it. Utilising a hidden stash of peyote, Jen fixes her wounds as best she can and sets out to hunt the cowards who, having gone back for her body, have realised she’s not dead after all.
This film is clever in that Jen is framed as the ultimate Lolita, all lollipops and hot pants. It’s incredibly male gazy and it almost dares you to buy into the ‘asking for it’ fallacy. Even battered and bruised our girl is a dream but she’s also in control and smart – completely underestimated by her foes – and very likely by us viewers too.
I’ll leave you to decide how you feel about Revenge, or indeed whether you want to watch it at all but all hail bloody, beautiful Jen and that gorgeous, triumphant final frame.
(God I want to know what happened to her after the credits rolled out).
Final Girl Rating