Revenge is said to be best served cold, but sometimes a steaming pile of revenge is called for. Here are the best female revenge films.
Revenge! They say it’s best served cold, but sometimes a giant steaming pile of revenge can be really satisfying. The female revenge story is a subgenre that emerged from the old exploitation film days. The woman who is wronged in some way, usually by evil men, who then has to work her way back to enact revenge upon her tormentors always seems to end satisfyingly as they get their comeuppance. Let’s check out some of the best female revenge films where badass women put their enemies in their place.
Carey Mulligan stars as the title character as she goes out to bars and pretends to be over-intoxicated. When men pick her up and take her back to their place, she keeps the ruse going until the men try to take advantage of her. She is able to show them how inappropriate they are being and intimidates them until they are terrified she will expose them.
Later in the film, we learn that she had a friend that committed suicide after being sexually assaulted by her professor. She reported the incident, but the school never did anything about it. Now that professor is about to get married, the perfect time to get revenge is now.
A young woman is sexually assaulted and rendered mute. She grows up innocently at her parent’s farmhouse but takes a ride from a gentleman in a red sports car one day. From there, she is kidnapped and sold into prostitution. When she finds a chance to escape, she decides to get revenge on those that have hurt her. She gets herself a shotgun and starts a path of vengeance as she heads to the top of the prostitution ring to ensure they can never hurt anyone again. A crazy exploitation film from Sweden during the 70s.
Elliot Page stars as a teenage girl who is picked up by an older man (Patrick Wilson) in a coffee shop. He convinces her to come back to his place, and we see that he thinks he’ll get a chance to take advantage of the young girl. The tables quickly get turned when he is drugged and tied to a table. We learn that he had previously picked up one of the girl’s friends, and now she is looking to get information and some sweet revenge by torturing him. He claims he doesn’t know what she’s talking about, but as the film goes on, secrets begin to reveal themselves.
A mute seamstress is attacked and sexually assaulted on her way home from work. Afterwards, she stumbles home to her apartment, only to find that someone has broken in. The criminal also sexually assaults her, but she is able to bludgeon him to death. She feels empowered by this death and begins to roam the streets at night dressed provocatively. Once men try to take advantage of her, she kills them with a .45. Her nighttime routine suddenly overtakes her life.
The always fantastic Pam Grier stars as Foxy Brown. When a group of gangsters kills her boyfriend, she takes a job as a prostitute to get inside their organization. Once she can get close to different members of the group, she begins to get her revenge and take them out one by one. This performance helped push Pam Grier to superstardom at the time. This is an excellent example of the best female revenge films worth watching.
Maybe the best-known female revenge film ever made. It gets pushed aside for more scandalous films, but in reality, this is wholly built around the idea of a woman getting revenge on those that torment her. Here it just happens to be other girls at school, but ultimately everyone pays the price. Carrie is teased and ridiculed every day at school. When she discovers she has telekinetic powers, she sets out to just be left alone. When a prank goes wrong, Carrie gets her revenge on everyone that has ever bullied her.
Probably one of the toughest films in the subgenre with the biggest reputation. Jennifer, a young writer, rents a cabin to get out of New York City and work on her novel. Soon a group of men decides to sexually assault the woman from “the big city.” After a brutal attack on her, the four men leave her for dead. She recovers and begins to plot her revenge. When they learn she is still alive, they realize that she is coming to take each of them out.
While the revenge aspect isn’t the main focus of the story, the character of Lisbeth Salander embodies everything from a revenge film. She is constantly taken advantage of, both physically and financially, by those around her. At first, she doesn’t seem to have any recourse, but when she is brought on to help solve a forty-year-old disappearance, she begins to get revenge on those that abuse her and bring some justice for the girl that disappeared. In further films, we learn more about her back story and character, and Lisbeth becomes an even bigger figure in the revenge subgenre.
A young woman is falsely imprisoned for thirteen years for child abduction and murder. When she is released, she starts to enact a plan of revenge against the person who put her there. Meanwhile, she also has to try and make amends with the daughter that was taken from her. This film shows the conflict between a woman wanting revenge for what was taken from her and a mother wanting to reconnect with her lost child.
Tarantino has drafted a pitch-perfect revenge film that includes so many aspects that it surpasses the subgenre itself and becomes its own type of film. The Bride, as we are initially introduced to her, is shot and left for dead at her wedding. She wakes up after being in a coma for four years, and the first thing on her mind is getting revenge on those that put her there. As she begins to hunt down members of her old assassin team, she soon realizes that everything will lead her to her old boyfriend, Bill. A great mix of genres and revenge stories that had to be split into two films.
What do you think are the best female revenge films? Let us know in the comments.