13th Apr2014

‘Revenge For Jolly’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Brian Petsos, Oscar Isaac, Amy Seimetz, Elijah Wood, Ryan Phillippe, Kristen Wiig, Adam Brody | Written by Brian Petsos | Directed by Chadd Harbold


Who doesn’t love a good revenge movie? From the likes of Charles Bronson in Death Wish to Camille Keaton in I Spit on Your Grave, revenge movies have been a staple of “the movies” for years. But there’s never been a revenge movie quite like Revenge For Jolly!

Everyone knows‘man’s best friend is his dog. But in Harry’s case his dog Jolly is not just his best friend, he is his only source of joy in life. In debt to the wrong kind of people Harry is thinking of skipping town and taking his dog Jolly with him. As a last hurrah before leaving he visits his cousin Cecil for dinner, returning home in the morning to pack up his life’s belongings to head off to safer pastures. But after walking in the door, he finds his dog Jolly has been brutally murdered as a reminder of his debts and who he is dealing with. Leaving Harry devastated, distraught and determined on revenge… Armed with an impressive and deadly arsenal of firepower in the boot of their car, the two cousins embark on a frenzied, alcohol-fuelled orgy of violent retribution, leaving no stone unturned in their search for the canine’s killer.

Penned by Brian Petsos, who also appears in the film as the grieving psychopath Harry, Revenge For Jolly! (and yes, the exclamation point is actually present on the films on-screen title) is the blackest of black comedies, some might say too black as there’s nary a joke in the films 80-odd minute running time, Instead there’s a streak of nasty violence that runs through the film as Cecil and Harry leave (almost) no one who crosses their path alive – be it man, woman or pet. In fact I’ve no doubt that many will be calling out the film for it’s “misogynistic” tendencies but I see it as less misogyny and more as non-discriminatory violence. What else would you expect from a film that opens with the death of dog?

What really surprises about Revenge For Jolly! is the cast. Whilst Brian Petsos is the hard-done-by psychotic ex dog owner (giving an on-edge performance one would normally associate with the likes of Crispin Glover), it’s a pre-Inside Llewyn Davis Oscar Isaac that really leads this production as Harry’s best friend Cecil (you have to wonder if this would have been Isaac’s first choice as a post-Coen Brothers role). The film also features, albeit in very small roles, a plethora of familiar faces, including Elijah Wood as the bartender who is Harry and Cecil’s first port of call on their quest for “justice”, Adam Brody (The O.C.) as a long haired slimeball, Kristen Wiig as a newlywed bride who just happens to be related to Jolly’s killer, played by a blink-and-you’ll-miss-him Ryan Phillippe.

A dark, dry action-comedy that blurs the line between good and evil, Revenge For Jolly! is a love-it-or-hate-it movie that screams wannabe cult-movie. If you like your humour dark and your violence plentiful then this flick is definitely for you.

Revenge For Jolly! is released on DVD on April 14th, courtesy of Anchor Bay.


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