Revenge
★ ☆ ☆ ☆

Three wealthy men take a hunting vacation every year together. This year, Richard decides to brings his twenty-something year-old mistress along. There are a good number of bad decisions made by the characters in this film, many completely implausible, and that is by far the biggest one.

We aren’t even sure that’s quite what is going on in Revenge, since the details are pretty murky. Richard (Kevin Janssens) and Jen (Matlida Lutz) arrive one day and act like they’ll have the house to themselves. The friends, Stan & Dimitri (Vincent Colombe, Guillaume Bouchède) show up apparently unannounced, or maybe just earlier than expected, with high-powered rifles slung over their shoulder. They’re meant to look intimidating, but only for that brief moment before they descend into caricatures of buffoonery.

Revenge confuses on the details, and in a film like this, details matter.

In the scene introducing the hunting buddies, Revenge shows its flaws early. Upon their sudden appearance Jen drops her glass to shatter on the floor. Richard runs out to see what’s amiss. Both are barefoot, but neither is concerned with the broken glass on the floor, nor do they cut themselves despite walking right where the glass should have been. A minor continuity error like this shouldn’t seem important, but the details in a film like this matter, and revenge consistently gets them wrong.

On the first day, everyone has a little too much to drink, and Jen gets a little too friendly with someone other than her paramour. Stan misinterprets her actions as interest, and the next day while Richard is away from the house doing some kind paperwork, Stan gets way too personal with Jen, while Dimitri walks away in slack-jawed disinterest.

Jen is traumatized, and when Richard returns, he is less than sympathetic. Following a series of misunderstandings, Jen ends up on the wrong end of a cliff, and the three men circle back to find that she has disappeared after her fall.

What ensues is a cat and mouse game where the three hunters seek human prey, and do just about everything cliched and downright stupid that they could possibly do in the process. They split up. They talk rather than kill. They chase when they should use the ample cover available. The film becomes more about their bad decisions and how comical certain sequences are than anything else, and young Jen seemingly goes from aspiring model to Sarah Connor in two keystrokes from the script.

Which is a shame, because Lutz provides a strong lead presence and a command of the screen, even when precious little dialogue is involved. Her early scenes as the girl just along for the ride don’t suggest the depth she is capable of in later scenes. However, even in those scenes, the filmmakers waste her talents, since she acts more in service of the plot than as a character in and of itself.

Director Coralie Fargeat has a great eye for shots, but no ear for dialogue or heart for action.

While the film is certainly beautiful to look at, set in the high desert foothills of an expansive mountain range, it sadly just gets more and more laughable as it wears on. And we are laughing not with it, but at it. The unpleasant emphasis on gratuitous gore is as heavy as the bloodflow that each character experiences, and really someone should have bled out before actually getting capped. Is some of this meant in fun? Perhaps, but the film itself is not fun, and certainly doesn’t elevate itself above routine genre fare.

Ultimately, Revenge though does a poor job setting up its story, it fares even worse on the payoff.