7 iconic 90s film references hidden in Do Revenge, from Clueless to Mean Girls

Maya Hawkes and Camila Mendes in Do Revenge.

Dark comedy Do Revenge has all of the hallmarks of a classic teen flick: the it-girl who falls from grace, the catty cliques, the nerdy new girl, the betrayal and backstabbing. 

It feels as timeless as it does blatantly Gen Z for a reason: director and co-writer Jennifer Kaytin Robinson intended to visually and tonally pay homage to iconic teen movies of previous generations. 

If you put titles like Clueless, 10 Things I Hate About You, Jawbreaker, and Cruel Intentions “in a boiling pot and created a soup”, Robinson told Vanity Fair, Do Revenge would emerge. 

“I wanted to make a campy popcorn movie that does not live in reality. Do Revenge is a world unto itself,” she said. 

The delightfully deviant film centers around the mischievous misdeeds of Drea Torres (Camila Mendes) and new girl Eleanor (Maya Hawke) who team up to do each other’s revenge as “wounded soldiers on the battlefield of adolescence” at Rosehill High. 

Drea is out for payback against the ex who leaked her self-filmed sex tape, while Eleanor has an axe to grind against an old flame.

While all of the sexual fluidity, therapy speak, social media humour and an emotional support bearded dragon place Do Revenge firmly in Gen Z, this is undeniably a love letter to teen flicks of yesteryear. 

Robinson teased that there are ‘around 30 to 40 Easter eggs’ in Do Revenge for fans to spot. Here are some of them. 


Do Revenge car scence

Maya Hawke in Do Revenge. (Netflix)

Drea holding a fluffy pink pen, the preppy uniforms with their pastel berets and plaid skirts – nods to the style of Clueless are dotted throughout Do Revenge. 

Kim Wilde’s “Kids in America” even plays over a key scene, which also plays during the 1995 blockbuster’s opening shots

When Drea and Eleanor decide to do each other’s dirty work, it calls for a classic ‘outcast to preppy hottie’ makeover for Eleanor so she can dupe the popular kids.

While Eleanor calling this “problematic” keeps it firmly rooted in 2022, it invokes memories of Cher and Dionne transforming grungey Tia from “tragically unhip” to Beverly Hills royalty. 

Speaking of, Drea calling farm-loving “crunchy granola lesbian” Carissa a “human Birkenstock” could have easily been a Cher Horowitz dig. 

A blink-and-you’ll-miss it reference is Rosehill’s Horowitz Hall, in honour of Cher’s last name. 

Then there’s the traditional tour of the cliques given to the new girl which we’ve seen in Clueless, Mean Girls and now Do Revenge. To give it its Gen Z refresh, the TV station nerds, the Persian mafia, and the popular boys of Cher’s high school are replaced with Instagram witches, the horny theatre nerds, the farm kids, and Rosehill’s “royal court, the cream of the incredibly entitled crop.” 


Speaking of the royal court, the cool kids sit around a fountain – intentionally built by Robinson as a callback to ’96 slasher, Scream

“It is a homage to Scream (1996). Obviously, Do Revenge is not a slasher, but tonally it’s something that I went to a lot,” Robinson said. 

Drea even pointed out that Montana is seen with a grape stuck in her teeth, the same fruit that the Scream kids snack on while sitting around the fountain. 

Cruel Intentions 

The famous kiss between Sarah Michelle Gellar and Selma Blair in Cruel Intentions

The famous kiss between Sarah Michelle Gellar and Selma Blair in Cruel Intentions. (YouTube/Sony)

Do Revenge‘s ultimate muse is ’90s teenage movie, Cruel Intentions. Set in an elite New York prep school, it follows evil step-siblings Sebastian (Ryan Phillippe) and Kathryn (Sarah Michelle Gellar) as they cook up a questionable plot to tarnish Annette’s (Reese Witherspoon) ‘purity’. 

Robinson made more than a few nods to the OG revenge flick, beyond her film also being based around a ruthless quest to get back at those who scorned you. 

Of course, there’s the casting of Gellar as Rosehill’s headmaster – Robinson has said that she very much wrote the character as a grown-up Kathryn.

When Robinson was writing the script, she thought about what advice the character would give if she was headmaster of the school. She sent the script to Gellar, and she loved it. 

There’s more. Hawke, who plays Eleanor, is the daughter of Uma Thurman, who portrayed Cecile in the 1988 adaptation of Dangerous Liaisons. Cruel Intentions is based on the same book.

Who else is in Dangerous Liaisons? Glenn Close. And in one of the most-memed moments of Do Revenge, Drea tells Eleanor she has the over-the-top, psychopathic vibes similar to Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction – “Glennergy”.

In Do Revenge, Gabbi (Talia Ryder) is caught reading the 1782 novel Les Liaisons Dangereuses in assembly, while a quote from the novel is printed on the classroom wall behind Drea’s head. 

And – spoiler – fans have pointed out the parallels between the final car scenes in Do Revenge and Cruel Intentions. Robinson said:  “Max being vanquished to Praise You at the end of the movie is obviously a nod to Cruel Intentions.”

Mean Girls 

Do Revenge

Camila Mendes in Do Revenge. (Netflix)

With the same queen bee cool cruelness, Drea could be read as a nod to Regina ‘stop trying to make fetch happen’ George of Mean Girls

Then there’s the hallway of chaos scene, a massive easter egg that fans will clock right away. 

In Mean Girls, Regina stands with her arms folded in the middle of a high school that has just erupted in chaos. She’s just printed all the pages from the Burn Book, and now everyone is losing their s**t over the salacious gossip printed inside. 


In Do Revenge, Drea tries to trigger a riot of her own (on Valentine’s Day, of course, giving us another nod to “none for you Glen Coco”) by exposing sexts sent by her ex Max (Austin Abrams).

The plan backfires when Max claims he is “ethically nonmonogamous” and the sex-positive Gen Z school sides with him.


Do revenge Netflix

Maia Reficco as Montana, Alisha Boe as Tara, Camila Mendes as Drea, and Paris Berelc as Meghan. (Netflix)

The pastel, caped uniforms of Rosehill are an obvious reference to the uniforms worn by the cool girl clique in Heathers.

Fans of the Heathers will also have noticed that Carissa (Ava Capri) playing croquet on the lawn while she’s in rehab is a reference to the iconic imagery of the 1989 flick. 

Meanwhile, Drea calling Carissa a “human Birkenstock” and crowning Eleanor’s new vibe as “high-status c**t,” could have easily been said by Winona Ryder’s Veronica. 

10 Things I Hate About You 

do revenge

Russ and Drea. (Netflix)

Carissa’s leather-jacket-wearing, motorcycle-driving love interest Russ (Rish Shah), with his soft-hearted bad boy vibe, reminds viewers of Heath Ledger’s Patrick Verona, the rough around the-edges love interest of Kat Stratford in 10 Things I Hate About You

More explicitly, Do Revenge has a call back to the playful paintball scene, which ends with Patrick and Drea sharing a first kiss while lying in the hay. 

Meanwhile, Russ and Drea also have their first kiss after they’re done launching paint at each other in Russ’ workshop. 

Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion

A still from Netflix film Do Revenge, showing actors Maya Hawke and Camilla Mendes

Maya Hawke as Eleanor and Camila Mendes as Drea in new Netflix comedy Do Revenge. (Netflix/Kim Simms)

If Dres and Eleanor donning pink and blue dresses at the climactic high-school party remind you of Romy and Michele, it’s no coincidence.

Robinson called Romy and Michele a ‘major touchstone’ for the visual language of the film, especially the “vibes for the costumes”, which you can see in the candy-hued Y2K interpretations of 90s teenage girl fashion.