18 Revenge Plots That Really Didn't Have To Go So Hard

Voting Rules
Vote up the most elaborate revenge plans.

Revenge may be a dish best served cold, but the plots in these films are allowed to simmer long before they are ready for serving. These are not cases of a wronged individual scorching the earth as a knee-jerk reaction to being wronged; these are complex, highly detailed revenge schemes that take years of planning to properly execute. Some may be plans formulated by a wronged protagonist or antihero, while others are plotted by villains with misguided notions about their own victimhood. Some belong to the thriller/horror genre, while others are more action-oriented. What is most important for each revenge plot included is the level of detail, effort, and planning spent on vengeance.

Which of these characters put too much effort into their revenge schemes? Vote up choices based on the time spent on the plans and how extreme the reaction is.

Warning: Heavy spoilers ahead!

  • Revenge Motive: After the pregnant fiancee of NIS agent Kim Soo-hyun (Lee Byung-hun) becomes the latest target of psychopathic serial killer Jang Kyung-chul (Choi Min-sik), he vows to find and punish the man responsible.

    The Plan: Soo-hyun learns who the possible suspects are and tortures each until he discovers Jang is responsible. Rather than simply arresting or executing Jang, Soo-hyun forces a tracker down his throat and lets him go. Each time the killer thinks he has escaped, Soo-hyun arrives to punish him more, even treating his injuries to prolong the torment. Once finally ready to end the elaborate plot, Soo-hyun places Jang in a guillotine rigged to fall when a nearby door is opened. Jang’s parents and son are drawn to the location, triggering the decapitation of the killer as they watch.

    The Outcome: Prior to completing his revenge, Jang discovers Soo-hyun's identity and invades the home of his fiancee’s family to inflict further damage. Even after his plan is complete and the serial killer is dead, Soo-hyun is left with the guilt of these deaths on his shoulders.

    38 votes

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  • Revenge Motive: Though never seen in the film, we learn of multiple incidents and people Gabriel Pasternak wants revenge for. His ex-girlfriend (María Marull) cheated on him with his best friend. A music critic (Darío Grandinetti) harshly reviewed his work. A former professor failed him, and a former psychiatrist failed to help him.

    The Plan: Pasternak somehow manages to get all the people who have wronged him on the same plane by paying for their tickets. Once aboard, the various passengers discover they all have a connection through the same man, and that he is the flight’s cabin chief. Barricading himself in the cockpit, Pasternak hijacks the flight full of people who have wronged him.

    The Outcome: The sequence ends just before Pasternak crashes the plane, killing himself and those he blames for the pain in his life. Even his parents aren’t spared, as he directs the hurtling aircraft towards their location on the ground.

    58 votes
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    60 VOTES

    Adrian Griffin In 'The Invisible Man'

    Revenge Motive: Tired of his abusive and controlling behavior, Cecilia Kass (Elisabeth Moss) escapes her relationship with wealthy optics engineer Adrian Griffin (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) by drugging him and moving out in the middle of the night.

    The Plan: Adrian stages his own suicide, then uses an invisibility suit created by advanced technology to terrorize his ex. Adrian sabotages her attempts to find a job, drugs her, damages her relationship with her family, and even frames her for murder. When his plot is foiled, Adrian even sacrifices his own brother, allowing him to take responsibility for using the technology.

    The Outcome: Cecilia uses a spare invisibility suit to make it appear as though Adrian has taken his own life, stopping the possibility of further maneuvers.

    60 votes
  • Revenge Motive: While Oh Dae-su (Choi Min-sik) is a teenager in high school, he accidentally discovers his classmate Lee Woo-jin (Yoo Ji-tae) in a compromising position with his own sister, Soo-ah (Yoon Jin-seo). Despite only telling his best friend what he has seen, Dae-su inadvertently spreads rumors of the siblings’ relationship throughout the school, eventually resulting in Soo-ah taking her own life.

    The Plan: Decades later when both teenagers are grown adults, Woo-jin has Dae-su kidnapped and held captive in a small room. After 15 years have passed, Dae-su is released and given five days to figure out the reason for his imprisonment. Suffering from the 15 years spent sheltered from the world and human interaction, Dae-su becomes romantically involved with a young chef named Mi-do (Kang Hye-jung). Only once this has occurred does Woo-jin reveal that Mi-do is Dae-su’s daughter, having grown during his years in captivity. Woo-jin’s ultimate revenge plan was to trick Dae-su into having an incestuous relationship as punishment for exposing his own.

    The Outcome: Revenge complete, Woo-jin shoots himself in the head. Rather than live with the knowledge of what he has done, Dae-su visits a hypnotist to try removing the memory that Mi-do is his daughter, though the ending ambiguously suggests that these efforts may not have been entirely successful.

    74 votes

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  • Revenge Motive: Despite an idyllic storybook romance at the beginning of their relationship, Amy Dunne (Rosamund Pike) is horrified to discover that her husband Nick (Ben Affleck) is having an affair with one of his college students (Emily Ratajkowski).

    The Plan: With an elaborate plan to frame Nick for her own demise, Amy vanishes after leaving a trail of evidence leading authorities to believe in the possibility of foul play. The scorned wife fabricates a diary tracing her suspicions about her husband’s murderous intentions, leaves records of a purchased gun to be uncovered, and even stages a failed attempt to cover up a crime scene containing her blood. The media, the police, and even Nick's family begin to suspect his possible involvment. 

    The Outcome: Amy finds a way to return to her husband by framing a former lover for her kidnapping, convincing Nick to take her back by informing him she is pregnant with his child.

    75 votes

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  • Revenge Motive: While attending a technology conference in 1999, Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce) approaches billionaire industrialist Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) with a request to discuss his research and development agency, Advanced Idea Mechanics. Stark not only shuns these initial efforts, but also blows off a rooftop meeting scheduled with the scientist.

    The Plan: Killian develops his technology without the help of Stark, disguising the destruction of his failures as strikes from a fabricated terrorist known as the Mandarin (Ben Kingsley). In continued efforts to receive help from Stark, Killian holds his girlfriend Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) hostage, injecting her with his latest technology.

    The Outcome: The injection given to Potts results in superpowers, allowing her to eliminate Killian before he can destroy Stark’s superhero alter ego, Iron Man.

    65 votes

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