Gentlemen, a word of advice: you probably don’t want to mess with any beautiful women — or maybe any women, period. It’s not rejection you should fear (actually, you probably should, but that’s not the issue). It’s that if — and, really, when — you screw up, she will get sweet revenge. Why? Because the vengeful female heroines and anti-heroines of Enough and A Perfect Murder have taught the world that this is the way of things. Now, granted, you won’t be doing anything in the same league as the truly stupid and often monstrous men of these flicks. But, in any case, the lesson is the same: that old saying about a woman scorned is 100 percent true. Just ask these ladies.
Carrie (Sissy Spacek), Carrie
This vengeful lady of the awkward-teen variety takes a different tack when seeking revenge for the viscous taunts of her classmates — supernatural retribution. Carrie is doused in blood during a prom-night prank and loses it. In typical teen fashion, she can’t control herself and lets her powers loose on everyone. Carrie’s not exactly like her vengeful sisters in arms — she’s decidedly not hot and not an ordinary woman driven to extraordinary lengths. But she is extraordinary.
Emily Taylor (Gwyneth Paltrow), A Perfect Murder
Michael Douglas has pulled off an incredible feat, marrying beautiful Emily even though she’s rich and he’s old. This isn’t enough for him, so he contracts her boyfriend to kill her. Emily knows an opportunity for female empowerment when she see’s one — she’s already got Viggo Mortensen on the side — and turns the tables. She learns of his scheme and gets sweet revenge — killing the bastard and getting to keep her fortune, though not Mortensen, who is a casualty of this marriage gone wrong.
Erica Bain (Jodie Foster), The Brave One
Guys like Travis Bickle (Taxi Driver) shouldn’t have all the fun. Erica Bain concurs and scores one for feminism by going on the type of vengeance-fueled killing spree that would make Bickle proud. Bain is set off when her husband is killed in a mugging. Like most vigilantes, she isn’t convinced that the police’s response is adequate and takes matters into her own hands. So, off she goes, killing the city’s pimps and killers — a lone women standing in the way in a city filled with crime.
Libby (Ashley Judd), Double Jeopardy
Libby’s husband fakes his murder, frames her, and takes their kid. So she icily serves her prison term, then sets off to kill him without fear of prison, owing to the double-jeopardy rule. (The Founding Fathers did not anticipate asinine scenarios involving faked death.) Eventually, she succeeds, killing that no-good husband and retrieving her son. If you think this sounds like a typical Judd movie — she’s wronged and wills herself into fighting shape to kick some ass — you’d be absolutely right.
Slim (Jennifer Lopez), Enough
Slim’s husband is a nightmare. The guy terrorizes Slim constantly — which is scary — and is given to explaining why he’s terrorizing her in a cartoonish manner — which is not so scary. Slim, fantastic name in tow, tries to escape, only to find out her husband basically controls the world. So she takes the only recourse left to her: Payback! Specifically, she turns herself into a hard-ass, arms herself with cool gadgets, and eventually beats her abusive husband nearly to death. Uplifting.
The Bride (Uma Thurman), Kill Bill: Vol. 1 and Kill Bill: Vol. 2
When it comes to vengeance, the Bride, an assassin, is your big boy (or girl, as it were) — she has a serious degree of difficulty. After her ex-lover, the titular Bill, and an army of assassins kill her fiancé, put her in a coma, and steal her daughter, the Bride dons a yellow jumpsuit and embarks on one of the great revenge quests of all time, killing each guilty party, one by one. Each kill is punctuated by a crazy fight scene and copious witty banter. (It is a Tarantino flick.)