Fans of revenge flicks and anthology formats rejoice: there’s a movie for you that combines the two genres. SHEVENGE is an anthology film with the running theme of—you guessed it—revenge. Specifically, women exacting revenge, typically against men who have wronged them or someone they love.
The twelve short films in SHEVENGE are broken into four categories: Kiss and Tell (featuring “Psycho Therapy”, “For a Good Time Call”, “All Men Must Die”, and “Just a Girl”); Murderous Moms (“Lady Hunters”, “Hooker Assassin”, and “The Fetch”); Anger Mismanagement (“Glass Ceiling”, “Doll Parts”, and “Karma is a Bitch”); and Love You to Pieces (“Recipe #42” and “Metamorphosis”).
The individual shorts in SHEVENGE vary greatly in terms of tone, structure, and overall production quality. Some of the films are straight-up gore while others are more subtle, some are action-focused, and some are black comedy. SHEVENGE is a mixed bag, but the overarching theme is consistent: women in horror kick ass and take names.
The best short of the lot, in my opinion, is “Lady Hunters.” Written and directed by Angela Atwood (who also stars in it), “Lady Hunters” follow three women who, during a weekend together without their spouses or kids, become an ad hoc vigilante group. Their journey from suburban mom trio to death squad is prompted by a disturbing news article: a man who was discovered to have kidnapped and repeatedly raped and exploited a teenage girl was released from jail; his friends, who joined him in the abuse, were never caught.
“Lady Hunters” was born in a time where a news story like this is not only in the realm of possibility but infuriatingly common. We live in an age where men like Brock Turner are sentenced to only six months in jail (of which he served three) after sexually assaulting an unconscious woman; where men like Bill Cosby can be a serial rapist and still have fans who will defend him and deny his crimes until their dying breath; and of course, where Donald Trump can be elected to the highest office in the land after an audio recording where he brags that he can “grab [women] by the pussy” is leaked—and maintain his followers amidst the accusations of assault and misconduct by sixteen women.
We’re inundated with stories like this. And we have all heard the stories of abuse, harassment, and assault that don’t make the headlines (like, you know, your cousin’s story, your best friend’s, your own, etc). It’s overwhelming and it makes us feel the worst thing you can feel: powerless. It’s not like we can (legally) track down these pieces of human filth and kill them for their crimes.
But that’s exactly what the women in “Lady Hunters” do. They track down the main rapist, murder him, and dump his body in the woods. And then they track down one of the other men who abused the teen girl, who, it is revealed, has since been subjected to slut-shaming and victim-blaming by her peers.
One of the things that makes “Lady Hunters” such an interesting revenge story is that the central women, the vigilantes, are not connected to the survivor in any way. They are simply women who, like all of us, have just had enough of scumbag men getting away with committing heinous acts. The only difference is that they act on the fantasy that we’ve all had.
While this is only one of the shorts featured in SHEVENGE, the rest of the anthology is worth a watch. Even the sillier ones are cathartic in their acts of vengeance and rebellion. In this age of #MeToo, (more) abortion restrictions, and the usual sexism and misogyny that permeates every aspect of our lives, SHEVENGE is a necessary, if not rightfully indulgent, film.