Revenge films are typically difficult to watch, but they bring a justified cheer from the audience when the tormented rise to the occasion and fight back. With Spike Lee's retribution-laden Oldboy, we give you 11 of the most twisted revenge films of all time.
By Tyler Doupe
After a 15-year imprisonment at the behest of a mysterious stranger, Dae-su Oh finds himself a free man and seeks to deliver poetic justice to his unknown captor. This Korean film, directed by Park Chan-wook, reached American theaters in 2005 and made everyone afraid of hammers.
Kimberly Peirce's new version of Stephen King's novel showcased a memorable confrontation between Carrie (Chloe Grace Moretz) and her most reviled classmate.
The original film helmed by Brian De Palma tells the story of a high school outcast who attends a prom that could have been orchestrated by Satan himself. The transgressions against her are plentiful -- misleading her into thinking she's been voted prom queen, for one -- and lead up to an epic conclusion where Carrie’s telekinesis is unleashed in the most visceral fashion imaginable.
I Spit On Your Grave
What may have disappeared into forgotten history garnered attention when Roger Ebert reviewed it, calling it "a vile bag of garbage" It was remade in 2010 to equally scathing reviews. The controversial rape revenge story sees Jennifer (Camille Keaton) put through the most unimaginable ordeal and then puts her transgressors in a submissive position to their one-time victim. The bloodshed is bountiful as Jennifer slashes her way to justice.
The Bride (Uma Thurman) sets out with one objective: she is going to kill … Bill. The end of the two-part feature is foreshadowed in the title, but watching The Bride get there is more than half the fun. There are all sorts of imaginative visuals and grindhouse-style fight scenes, not the least of which is The Bride's battle against the Crazy 88 yakuza. Tarantino filmed this sequence in black and white to avoid the dreaded NC-17 rating.
Leon the Professional
What makes this film so twisted is that we see a grown man, Leon (Jean Reno), teaching a child, Matilda (Natalie Portman), to avenge the death of her family by way of assassination. The film was expertly written and directed by Luc Besson (The Family), who gets the viewers to quickly make an emotional connection to both Leon and Matilda despite the weirdness of their relationship. This tale of revenge delivers both heartbreak and triumph before its conclusion.
The Last House on the Left
The 2009 remake wouldn’t be possible without Wes Craven’s 1972 original, but the remake amps up the sadistic source material and takes it to an even more vicious place. Last House finds a husband and wife unknowingly taking in their daughter’s rapist and his clan. When the pair discover the true identity of their houseguests, a twisted and brutal brand of justice is served up.
Justice gets mighty twisted in this story of a young girl lured by an online predator. Hard Candy sees the tables turn on a dime, and when the victim becomes the captor, all bets are off. We see early appearances here from Ellen Page (Juno) and Patrick Wilson (Insidious II).
Thomas Jane dons the guise of The Punisher to seek retribution on the evildoers who claimed the lives of his wife and child. His brand of justice is ultra-violent and doesn’t let up until the guilty are punished for their wrongdoings. The Punisher comics are among Marvel’s darker fare and the film is no different. The viewer bares witness to torture, a high body count, and brutal violence.
This low-budget slasher film is an early release from Troma Studios. A pair of brothers and the twisted matriarch of their hillbilly clan torment a trio of ladies taking a weekend excursion. Once the tables turn, we are exposed to one of the most twisted retribution sequences of all time.
I Saw the Devil
I Saw the Devil finds special agent Soo-hyun striking out and seeking vigilante justice to avenge the death of his pregnant fiancé. However, in the process Soo-hyun must reconcile his quest for justice with his inherent sense of right and wrong. He goes down an extremely dark and bloody path in his quest and takes the viewers on a journey that showcases murder, cannibalism, and more. It’s hard to stomach at times but definitely worth a look.
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