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Revenge movies are the punk rock of cinema and much like the music, they’re best played loud when you’re already feeling angry.

A classic tale of getting the antagonist back for unforgivable sins is nothing new, neither is the catharsis it gives the viewer.

We like to see bad guys receive their comeuppance, and planned vengeance when done well can land like nothing else.

When it comes to the icy dish best served cold, there are modern classics that stand out within dark cinema which ooze with style and make for the perfect all-day binge.

Get ready to dim the lights, crank the volume, and dive into these underrated gems that all focus on vengeful vindication.

Hard Candy (2005)

Runtime: 1 hour 44 minutes

Ellen Page toys with Patrick Wilson for nearly 2 hours in this tense and gripping revenge thriller. You almost feel bad for him during the film.

Almost…

Even as a teenager Page was talented beyond her years, and this underrated film was an Oscar level performance.

It works as a perfect stage setter for your movie marathon, with subtle yet superb storytelling and an ability to do so much with so little.

MANDY (2018)

Runtime: 2 hours 1 minute

The second film for your viewing pleasure needs to be something that kicks it up a notch, a bigger revenge plot and a grander delivery.

Mandy fits this bill and then some. It has some serious balls to the wall violence, and villains that are straight out of drug-infused nightmares.

Image result for mandy nicolas cage gif

It could be best described as a surreal thrill ride of gruesome LSD fueled action, that has Nic Cage at possibly his most insane on-screen.

Yea, if you’re familiar with his work, that is saying a lot.

Not for the faint of heart, but for a revenge marathon none of the films should be.

An art-house style horror might feel like a strange entry among the other marathon choices, but leaving it off the list would be criminal.

This movie lives up to its underground hype and leaves you with an unexpected sense of what filmmaking can be when all restrictions on imagination are removed.

Upgrade

Runtime: 1 hour 40 minutes

The best way to keep the marathon in high gear is with this pulse-pounding science fiction that teaches a dangerous lesson about control.

In the category of futuristic revenge, this film stands unparalleled as one of the most inventive indie budget shoot ’em ups.

This isn’t a deep think piece on the subject matter, and it doesn’t have to be, because you’ll have fun watching Logan Marshall-Green fight cybernetically enhanced baddies in a Black Mirror style version of the future.

Fast, jarring, imaginative, and obviously bloody, the Leigh Whannel movie is a great jolt to add to your binge viewing.

A Vigilante

Runtime: 1 hour 31 minutes

In the world of big blockbuster style vigilante films, this indie gem grounds its competition into dust with a next-level performance by Olivia Wilde.

Sarah Dagger-Nickson makes a directional debut masterpiece that could shake even the steadiest viewer to their core by doing what feels impossible…

Creating a story of revenge that isn’t petty or simplistic, but instead raw and timeless.

As a hero, Wilde’s character Sadie is grounded in such realism that to not connect with her would feel heartless.

When she delivers justice in any scene it makes you want to get up from your seat and applaud.

It’s like a superhero movie made for adults, that hits like a brick in the face and leaves you wishing that it was a true story.

Not only does it work as a picture-perfect revenge thriller, the dramatic acting grips you and doesn’t let go even when the film is done.

I Saw the Devil

Runtime: 2 hours 23 minutes

A brutally violent and chaotic story that breaks down what it is to actually go through with your revenge plan no matter the cost.

When ending a movie marathon you have to go out with a bang, and this one explodes in your face then shakes you back to consciousness just to do it all over again.

This a marathon show stopper that has a villain on par with Heath Ledger’s Joker or Javier Bardem’s Anton Chigurh. One could argue even better.

Chon Min-sik’s portrayal of serial killer Jang Kyung-chul is that of a horrifying monster who commands your attention every second he’s on the screen.

The utterly dark and bleak film has epic level carnage, and behind all the gruesome kills there is a message about what it may cost to get the violent justice you believe you deserve.

As a closing film, this Korean masterpiece is stunning, and not only works as an expert genre mash-up, but also as a cautionary tale for both the villain and hero.

Image result for I saw the devil gif"

Though these films are not the happiest to watch, each story is incredibly well crafted to bring fun into some of the darkest stories on screen.

Revenge films are vicious watches that make for some of the most animalistic characters to be brought to life right before our eyes, forcing the audience question what they would do if dealt the same cards.

Hopefully none of us ever have to find out, and the detailed revenge plans can be left to the professionals in these movies.

Happy vengeance viewing!

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westcoaststrange
joel@westcoaststrange.com

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