Revenge (2018)

Corealie Fargeat’s “Revenge” is kind a new chapter in the rape revenge sub-genre of thrillers and horror films. It deconstructs an often very controversial and polarizing sub-genre to make it less about the exploitation of women and more about the empowerment of a woman who even views herself as a sex object when we meet her. “Revenge” is a grueling film to endure, but one that is also quite fantastic in its imagery and depiction of men as less cunning sexual predators and more slimy snakes that prey on a woman who proves she is a pure force of vengeance to be reckoned with.

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Red Sonja (1985)

RedSonjaI’m not ashamed to admit that “Red Sonja” is a childhood favorite. As a TV junkie, I spent a lot of my childhood watching movies on network TV and I constantly tuned in to “Red Sonja.” It was such a departure from the normal movies I watched as it sported a female heroine, Ernie Reyes Jr. trying his best to kick ass, and an unusual narrative that feels like a mix of “Barbarella” and “Wizard of Oz.” Of course this being 1985, you can sense Dino DiLaurentiis also trying to build his own movie series a la “Star Wars,” even featuring a battle with an underwater monster in a cave. I never caught on to it before, but this is also one of the rare action movies from the eighties where there is a heavily implied sexual affair between heroine Sonja and villainous Queen Gedren.

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Batman: The Killing Joke (2016)

batman-killingjokeDC And Warner have at their hands one of the most iconic Batman narratives of all time, a narrative that asks the question if the Joker is truly someone too weak to endure a really awful life, or if he can submit someone to so much pain they can become exactly like him. All it takes is one bad day, he insists. “The Killing Joke” is surprisingly only seventy six minutes in length and still manages to feel way too long. For an iconic story with such a meaty premise, DC and Warner obviously have absolutely no idea how to put it to screen, and manage to botch this adaptation big time. With “The Killing Joke” we have to endure what is one long winded and dull prologue that leads literally to nowhere, just to allow the viewer to connect to heroine Batgirl.

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Bedeviled [Kim Bok-nam salinsageonui jeonmal] (2010)

bedevilledI’ve never seen such a soul sucking and soul crushing film as “Bedeviled” in my life. That’s not at all a negative remark about Jang Cheol-soo’s drama thriller. It’s just my warning that if you go in to “Bedeviled,” be prepared for a film with absolutely no silver lining or hopeful plot twist. Like “Martyrs,” it’s a trip down the darkside of humanity, but you know, unlike “Martyrs,” this is a great film from beginning to end. It’s not often that Asian revenge pictures are given a sensationalist tone, but Cheol-soo’s drama is gut wrenching and really offers a glimpse at a small chunk of the world where sadness is pretty much a way of life.

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Cherry Falls (2000) [Blu-Ray]

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If anything, “Cherry Falls” is a valiant attempt to deliver a game changing slasher film that tries to challenge the conventions of the sub-genre left and right. It has all the right ingredients for one excellent horror film, but in the end is just a fine and serviceable genre entry. I wouldn’t be so quick to say it’s mediocre, but compared to a lot of other “Scream” clones released at the time, “Cherry Falls” is a fine companion piece. It’s not often we get a slasher film about a knife wielding killer hacking virgins to death. This time rather than slut shaming as we saw in “Scream,” the victims are punished for not having sex, and that’s a formula that almost works. Almost.

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Avenged (2015)

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I wish “The Crow” sequels took as much of an advantage with a creative premise as director Michael S. Ojeda does with “Avenged.” While his film isn’t exactly a revenge masterpiece, it’s a strong contender for one of the finer revenge films of the past five years, working as a tragic love story, and a vicious horror themed tale of vengeance. Amanda Adrienne Smith is rather compelling as the victimized Zoe, a deaf mute who ends up at the wrong place at the wrong time.

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