What I’m Streaming: Revenge
Beware the Ides of March! Ever since Julius Caesar got a bunch of knives in the back, March 15th has become synonymous with betrayal. That’s why this month, we’re covering the only natural response to such a thing: sweet, sweet vengeance. Here are some picks to satiate that bloodlust…or maybe just help you laugh it off. The best part? Many are free to watch, either with ads or a library card (but let’s face it, you should read more).
Recommended if you like: Hallway fights and crushing madness
Dae-su Oh wakes up in a prison cell without a clue as to why he’s there. With only a tiny television as a window to the outside world, he fights to keep his sanity, but when he finds out his wife’s been murdered, Dae-su Oh snaps. Finally released after fifteen years in prison, he embarks on a hyperviolent quest for vengeance. The first of a trilogy, Oldboy is visceral, weird, and definitely not for weak stomachs.
Available on: Shudder, Kanopy, Fandor, Vudu, and Tubi
Recommended if you like: Your parents (enough to kill over them)
When a loner learns of his parents’ deaths, he returns to his hometown for revenge on those responsible. With gripping silence and tightly controlled pacing, Blue Ruin weaves a powerful, poignant story of conviction. It’s darkly funny, but undoubtedly grim. It’ll keep you on the edge of your seat for sure.
Available on: Netflix
Recommended if you like: Where am I? What’s this article about?
From Christopher Nolan comes Memento, a tangled web of mystery and memory. Leonard, a man incapable of forming new memories, uses tattoos and photographs to keep himself focused on avenging his wife’s death. No one’s to be trusted, and his manhunt is always on shaky ground. With countless twists and turns, Memento is a classic thriller that rewards multiple viewings.
Available on: The Roku Channel, Hoopla, IMDb Freedive, Kanopy, Tubi, and Sundance Now
Recommended if you like: Trunks full of hookers
Famously reviled by critics, cult classic Dirty Work may not be the smartest pick on the list, but it’s definitely an experience. Norm Mcdonald plays a down on his luck loser turned entrepreneur, offering his services as a professional prankster, and revenge is the name of the game. Undeniably tasteless, Dirty Work‘s crude humor flies in the face of political correctness, but Norm knows how to pack a punch when it comes to jokes. It also features Don Rickles being, well, Don Rickles.
Available on: Hulu, Amazon, and Epix
Recommended if you like: Abusers getting what’s coming to them
Dark, disturbing, but absolutely gripping, Hard Candy follows the troubling relationship between a pedophile photographer and a fourteen-year-old fan. However, date night turns dangerous when predator becomes prey. With top-notch performances, Hard Candy will hook your attention, make you squirm, and linger in your mind well after the credits.
Available on: HBO
Recommended if you like: Guns, guns, and more guns!
One of Netflix’s more undersung originals, The Punisher tracks Frank Castle’s one-man war against crime in the name of his murdered family. It’s a shoot ’em up for sure, but its take on veterans, and PTSD gives it something to say…just with a shitload of bullets. Though it suffers from some typical Netflix problems, The Punisher still shakes up the superhero genre by showing just how depraved a vigilante can be.
Available on: Netflix
I Saw the Devil
Recommended if you like: “You either die a hero, or live long enough to see yourself become the villain.”
After the grisly murder of his pregnant wife, special agent Soo-hyun begins a hunt for her killer. The line between good and evil gets blurry fast, however, Soo-hyun finds himself descending into the same darkness as the murderer. I Saw the Devil upends the serial killer thriller and twists our perceptions of what drives a hero—or villain.
Available on: Hulu, Shudder, Hoopla, and Tubi
Recommended if you like: The color pink and not taking any shit for it
It’s a West Coast/East Coast beef, but not the one you might expect: Elle Woods represents the blondest Los Angeles has to offer, but it doesn’t mean jack to her boyfriend’s old money, blue blood family. When he books it for Harvard, Elle follows suit—but law school ain’t the mall. Legally Blonde has shades of Clueless, challenging perceptions of looks and brains. It might be a by-the-numbers comedy, but Reese Witherspoon’s charming performance here is why she’s a star today.
Available on: Netflix, The Roku Channel, Hoopla, Vudu, Tubi, and YouTube
Recommended if you like: Sex robot, sex robot
Caleb Smith, a lowly programmer, wins a week at the estate of his company’s CEO, a brilliant mind and a total recluse. Caleb learns that he’s there to test Ava, an advanced artificial intelligence, and whether she can pass for human. Ava’s striking, sophisticated, and secretive—as well as might just have her own test in store.
Available on: Netflix and Kanopy
Kill Bill: Vol. 1 & 2
Recommended if you like: The thought of murdering your ex
Double feature! Expert assassin Black Mamba, aka The Bride, has been left at the altar—for dead. After her ex puts a bullet in her, she wakes up in a hospital hungry for blood. Part Kung-fu gorefest, part mediated Western, Kill Bill is a two-fisted action extravaganza with a heart—one about to burst.
Available on: Netflix