The best teen revenge movies to heal your inner pettiness
Do Revenge got you in the mood to go on your own sordid quest for retribution? Let go of that energy with a cathartic film binge instead.
Petty bitches, it’s your time to shine. Thanks to Netflix’s latest teen flick Do Revenge, getting your own back has never looked so good. Want vengeance on that girl who made fun of your dodgy haircut back in year eight? Want to give your teenage bully a taste of their own medicine? Forget the sugar, a spoonful of spite will help that go down nicely.
Helmed by Riverdale’s Camila Mendes and Stranger Things’ Maya Hawke, Do Revenge is a pastel-drenched homage to classics like Clueless and Mean Girls that makes plotting the downfall of your nemeses look like a right jolly. Of course, it’s not the first film to bring the sadistic joy of revenge to life on screen. There are revenge action thrillers like Kill Bill and John Wick, supernatural horrors such as Carrie, and even more sociopolitical takes via Promising Young Woman.
But if you ask us, no one enacts vengeance quite like a hormonal high schooler. As Hawke’s character Eleanor says, “Teenage girls, we’re psychopaths.” That’s why some of the best revenge films are teen movies that depict the catty drama of adolescence at its most unhinged. Who needs fight scenes when you’ve got a Burn Book?
To be clear, we’re not saying you should actually take down anyone and everyone who’s wronged you. As you’ll learn from most of these films, acting on a long-held grudge isn’t too good for the ol’ mental health, you know? What we do suggest, though, is letting all of those bitter feelings out with a silly little film binge. Here’s where to start…
John Tucker Must Die (2006)
Hot jock John Tucker (Jesse Metcalfe) has been a very naughty boy. The star of his high school basketball team, he’s been strategically dating three girls across different cliques to ensure his promiscuity is never found out. His plan is foiled by the arrival of new girl Kate (Brittany Snow), who becomes his next target and informs his three girlfriends of his dirty little secret. How do they get their sweet, sweet revenge? By enlisting Kate as an undercover seductress, and charming him into situations that lead to public humiliation. An anti-fuckboy classic, this is one to watch when you’ve been left on read.
Mean Girls (2004)
You’ve obviously already watched this film a million times before, but we’ll give you a quick recap anyway. This cult fave takes aim at high school cliques via Lindsay Lohan’s Cady Heron, a newbie at school who’s just flown in from homeschooled life in Africa. She’s soon shown the ropes by misfits Janis (Lizzy Caplan) and Damien (Daniel Franzese), who take her under their wing and convince her to infiltrate the Plastics (AKA the popular girls) to destroy their queen bee, Regina (Rachel McAdams), from the inside. Why? Well, besides from being, like, super mean, Regina also spread some rumours about Janis back in the day. Karma’s a bitch, but it’s nothing compared to the wrath of a wronged teenage girl.
Starring Wynona Ryder and Christian Slater, this ‘80s classic puts a much darker spin on revenge than the likes of Mean Girls. But a high school clique and new kid are still at the heart of the drama – sensing a theme yet? In this case, all three of the most popular girls at school are conveniently named Heather – apart from Ryder’s character, Veronica, that is. She’s also a lot kinder than her mates and, after taking a shine to Slater’s rebellious, gun-wielding newbie J.D., decides to (you guessed it!) get revenge on the group’s leader by, er, accidentally killing her. But, eh oh! It turns out that J.D. genuinely has a taste for murder. Moral of the story: never shag a loner with a gun.
The Craft (1996)
Witchcraft, peak-’90s goth ‘fits and power-hungry teenage girls. Those are the three ingredients that made The Craft a surprise hit almost three decades ago, a Tumblr stalwart in 2010s and prime sequel fodder in the 2020s. Starring Fairuza Balk, Robin Tunney, Neve Campbell and Rachel True, this horror spin on teen vengeance follows a group of outcasts who practise witchcraft, but things get really interesting when a new girl arrives who actually has telekinetic powers. Once they figure out how to harness her talents to complete their coven, spells get cast, bullies get their comeuppance and chaos is unleashed. Spooky season, but make it spiteful.
Assassination Nation (2018)
Before Euphoria and The Idol, Sam Levinson’s “sick and twisted” mind dreamed up Assassination Nation, which admittedly, is a pretty fucked up film. Like Euphoria, the teens in this film are living private lives of dirty DMs and nudes, but when a hacker reveals the hidden worlds within their phones to their small town (which just so happens to be Salem – you know, where all those witch trials happened) things get ugly. Outraged, the locals embark on a modern day witch hunt, on a crusade to essentially slut-shame the girls to death. It’s gory and brutal, but don’t worry. These girls can put up one hell of a fight, especially when armed with guns. Probably the most legitimate reason to seek revenge on this list, to be honest.