One of the first great horror films of 2018 is Coralie Fargeat‘s aptly-titled Revenge, which stars Rings‘ Matilda Lutz as a CEO’s mistress who must fight for survival when she’s left for dead in the middle of the desert.
While the film had its world premiere at last year’s TIFF, it’s setting the stage for a noisy release out of the ongoing Sundance Film Festival. You see, the film is an allegory for sexual harassment in the workplace, which is poetic timing for this thrilling indie that leaves a massive trail of blood in its wake.
“I do really feel this film was made at the perfect moment in history,” Lutz told Bloody Disgusting in an exclusive interview.
“It’s obviously not a realistic movie and I wouldn’t encourage revenge on anyone, of course, but it’s a very strong metaphor for what’s happening right now.” She goes on to explain: “Something is definitely changing. Women are encouraged to speak up (and men to stand by their sides) and I think it is a great example for kids. I think the problem starts at the bottom. The change needs to be made starting from kids, teaching them to speak up when they feel something is weird, to not be afraid. It’s a very delicate subject [that] can ruin somebody’s life.” In her home country of Italy, she says it’s received very differently, with many victims criticized and even blacklisted. “I think we’re still back in time there. We’re probably going to need a little more time for change.”
While Lutz’s Revenge character, Jennifer, is most identifiable, the main connection she made was with Fargeat’s vision.
“More than the role, at first it was Coralie [Fargeat] who attracted me to the project,” adding that she “loved her strength, determination, and passion for Revenge.” In addition to falling in love with Fargeat’s “genius” short, REALITY +, she loved the opportunity the script gave her to drastically change from one character to another: “The transformation was what I liked and it also scared me the most, but I was ready to challenge myself.”
Challenging is an understatement, as Lutz battled harsh weather while acting in a bikini.
“It was definitely tough!” she blurted with a strong emphasis on the “T”. “We shot in Morocco, but in February and March, it’s really cold. I was shooting the whole film in a bikini – the wind was blowing, and sometimes I would be covered in blood or water so it was even colder. All the locations were real – no studio – so running barefoot in the desert [for] long hours of shooting and long hours of preparation with the special effects team [was tough]. To top all that, the gun was very heavy! It took me a couple of months to [fully] recover.”
Without spoiling the scene, Lutz’s character goes through a dramatic transformation. While she didn’t watch any specific movies for reference (telling us that she still had Mad Max and Tomb Raider in mind), she did “work on a physical level” and channel her inner animal.
“What I really did to prep was to understand what a panther would feel and smell and taste while following her prey and then finally killing it.”
While there isn’t a whole lot of death, the injuries are gruesome. In fact, there’s so much blood that Lutz gets completely covered in it.
“I’ve never shot such a bloody film.
“It was fun the first time Coralie covered my whole body in blood. As days went by, it wasn’t that fun anymore. Blood is super sticky and my whole body was sticking to everything, so I couldn’t sit down. After three full days of standing, I didn’t like the blood that much anymore, but watching the movie on screen now, it was definitely worth it!”
Ironically, Lutz isn’t a horror movie fan (yet, we’ll get her!): “I’m not a big horror fan cause I’m very sensitive and susceptible – I get scared very easily and I can’t sleep at night! If I’m alone in the house I start hearing and seeing things reflected in windows, and it’s so real! So, I decided not to watch too many horror films.”
For those excited to catch Lutz’s breakout performance in Revenge, you shouldn’t have to wait long. Shudder acquired the film for streaming release sometime in 2018.