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Film / Promising Young Woman

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Al: I mean, it's every guy's worst nightmare, getting accused like that!
Cassie: Can you guess what every woman's worst nightmare is?

Promising Young Woman is a 2020 black comedy-drama film written and directed by Emerald Fennell (Killing Eve), co-produced by Margot Robbie, and starring Carey Mulligan. Bo Burnham, Alison Brie, Clancy Brown, Jennifer Coolidge, and Laverne Cox also star.

Cassandra "Cassie" Thomas (Mulligan) is the eponymous promising young woman. Once on track to become a doctor, she dropped out of medical school following her best friend's suicide. She then committed herself to finding would-be rapists in clubs and teaching them a lesson.

However, when she unexpectedly meets a face from her past, Ryan (Burnham), her plans for revenge get thrown off course and she is forced to face what led to her dropping out of med school in the first place.

Following its premiere at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, it was initially set to be released on April 17, 2020, but was pulled from the release schedule as a result of the COVID-19 Pandemic. It was ultimately released on December 25, 2020.


Tropes that appear in Promising Young Woman:

  • Affably Evil:
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  • Ain't Too Proud to Beg: Played with. Cassie showing up to Ryan's work and sharing that she has the video of Nina's rape, with Ryan in it as a bystander, ready to share to his whole address book rattles him to his core. He tries pleading with her several times, says he can't live with her threat hanging over his head, insists that he's not a bad person, and begs her to say she forgives him. When she refuses and it's clear his begging won't work, Ryan switches his tone, accusing her of acting holier-than-thou and calling her a "fucking failure".
  • Alliterative Name: Madison McPhee.
  • All Men Are Perverts: There's barely a single innocent male character in the film. They're all either rapists, would-be rapists, or enablers of rapists. The most sympathetic male characters we're given are Cassie's father Stanley and an atoner in the form of Jordan Green.
  • All There in the Script: One of the three men in the opening is named Jim; he’s not named in the film but his name is in the script and credits.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Despite his ranting about having sex with women, Joe is extremely attached to his best friend Al, kissing him on the cheek and immediately jumping to help him after he murders Cassie. He also can't think of one nice thing to say about Al's wife, Anastasia, at their wedding, implying jealousy. This would also make him a Depraved Homosexual, as it's him who helps cover up Cassie's murder. Not to mention, the moment where he helps Al dispose of Cassie has "Something Wonderful" playing, a song all about pleasing the man you love no matter what.
  • Anti-Hero: Cassie. She's trying to bring her friend's rapist to justice, but in pursuit of this she's more than willing to commit plenty of manipulative and dangerous actions, such as intimidating the men she picks up, damaging someone's car, tricking Madison into thinking she was raped whilst unconscious, kidnapping the Dean's daughter, drugging the entire bachelor party, and attempting to carve Nina's name into Al's body.
  • The Atoner: Jordan Greene deeply regrets his actions as an Amoral Attorney, and his guilt motivates him to help Cassandra in her quest for revenge.
  • Attempted Rape: All the men who pick up Cassandra when she pretends to be near-blackout drunk; once they actually try to engage in the act, she drops the act to teach them a lesson.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Subverted. Al kills Cassandra and Joe helps him cover it up, but Cassandra turns the tables on him from beyond the grave by releasing the rape video AND having him arrested for her murder.
  • Basement-Dweller:
    • Paul, one of the creeps from the opening scene, who has to check to see if his parents are home before bringing a drunk girl home with him.
    • Although she doesn't literally live in a basement (she lives in her childhood bedroom), Cassie's mother especially isn't happy to have her living at home and keeps trying to convince her to move out, telling her (on her birthday) that it's embarrassing for her.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing:
    • Cassie’s Satellite Love Interest Ryan initially seems like a genuine nice guy, until Madison gives Cassie the video of Nina’s rape, where Ryan is present. He begs Cassie not to reveal it to save his career as a pediatric surgeon, claiming to love her and be sorry, but drops that act and calls her a failure when she refuses. He later lies to the police about her last known location to exonerate himself and attends Al’s wedding despite having reason to believe he killed her.
    • The opening scene features three men at a club. Two of them come across as huge misogynistic jerks who constantly make derogatory remarks about the seemingly intoxicated Cassie. The third, Jerry, seems decent and acts genuinely worried about her. Guess which one tries to rape her?
  • Bittersweet Ending: Cassandra is murdered during her quest for vengeance, but the tape of Nina’s assault is released and Al is arrested for her murder, so she at least died knowing her ultimate goal will be fulfilled and Nina will get justice.
  • Broken Bird:
    • Nina after she’s raped in med school, with Madison and her other friends (except Cassie) giving her No Sympathy for it, and her rapist getting off scot-free, she’s never able to recover, even with Cassie dropping out to take care of her, and tragically is Driven to Suicide.
    • Cassandra after Nina's fate. In the present day, she’s a 30-year-old woman who still lives at home, with no friends besides Gail, and pretends to be drunk at shady nightclubs every week so would-be rapists pick her up and she can “save” future women from the same fate as a dangerous and self-destructive coping mechanism for years.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday:
    • Even though she ruined Nina's life, played a role in driving her to suicide, and ruined Cassie's life in the process, Dean Walker doesn't seem to be lying when she claims not to remember Nina or her accusation of rape (she can't even remember when Cassie bluffs about her daughter), because it's something she processes (and mishandles) every single week.
    • Subverted by the lawyer, Jordan. Cassie clearly expects him not to remember her or Nina, because there were so many cases like hers. She is extremely surprised when he does remember her and begs for her forgiveness, and actually grants it.
      "I'll never forgive myself. I want you to know that. I'll never forgive myself for any of this."
  • But Liquor Is Quicker: How Al and his friends raped Nina in med school: she was so drunk she had no idea what was going on. Madison thinks this happened to her, but really Cassandra only set it up to seem like she’d been raped.
  • Bystander Syndrome: There were multiple people present at Nina's rape who didn't step up while it happened or during the subsequent case, including Ryan. There's also damning video evidence that was shared around to even more people, but no one brought it forward for years. Madison only does so after Cassie makes her think she was raped.
  • Can't Hold His Liquor: Madison gets plastered at the restaurant, which Cassie uses as an opportunity to make her think she had been raped by a man who only helps her get to bed.
  • Can't Stop the Signal: Cassie avenges herself and Nina by releasing the video of Al raping Nina which she had set up to be released after her death.
  • Carved Mark: Cassie's plan is to symbolically mutilate Nina's rapist by carving Nina's name onto his torso.
  • Casting Gag: Most of the younger male actors in the film — Bo Burnham, Adam Brody, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Chris Lowell and Max Greenfield — have made careers out of playing affable and slightly goofy (actually) nice guys. The film flips it by casting them as guys who turn out to not be as nice as they think they are.
  • Central Theme:
    • Rape culture, and the impact of it on women's lives, the way both men and women contribute and are affected by it, how the systems in place perpetuate it, etc.
    • Forgiveness has been said by the director to be a big theme of the movie. Forgiveness is possible, but it must be attained, and one must recognize their own doings to achieve it. Jordan achieves it when he becomes deeply regretful for what he has done, where as other characters refute their participations on Nina's death and assault and try to justify guilt away from their actions.
  • Chained to a Bed: Cassandra dresses as a stripper to fool Al into letting himself be handcuffed to the bed so she can gain the upper hand in their final confrontation.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Jordan. He is the Token Good Teammate of the people on whom Cassie takes revenge, as the only person who feels genuine remorse for what he did and begs Cassie for forgiveness. As a result, she trusts him enough to send him her last letter before going to the bachelor party, knowing he'll take it to the police.
  • The Chessmaster: Cassie is utterly brilliant at planning karmic traps for those responsible for Nina's humiliation.
  • Construction Catcalls: When Cassie is doing a walk of shame through a bad neighborhood, three hardhat workers at a scrapyard start giving her wolf whistles and yelling suggestive comments. Without saying a word, Cassie cows them with the world's politest Death Glare and they slink away.
  • Creator Cameo: Emerald Fennell plays the influencer who advises on how to make "blowjob lips."
  • Daddy's Girl: Cassie seems to have a much closer bond with her father, who compliments her when she's getting dressed to go out and is very affectionate with her in general.
  • Dead-Hand Shot: We get one of Cassie's greyed hand as her body is being cremated.
  • Dead Man Writing: Cassie posthumously sends scheduled texts to Ryan when the police show up ready to arrest Al.
    You didn't think this was the end, did you?
    It is now.
    Enjoy the wedding!
    Love, Cassie & Nina
  • Death Glare: When Cassie is doing a walk of shame home through a bad neighbourhood, three workers at a scrapyard start giving her wolf whistles and yelling suggestive comments. Cassie stops, turns around and just stares at them, a faint smile on her lips. Gradually the catcalls slow, and then stop, and the three workmen just slink away.
  • Dirty Coward:
    • Al cries like a baby while smothering Cassandra to death and Joe helping him cover it up, but had no qualms raping Nina in med school, even after she kills herself.
    • Joe is happy to help dispose of Cassie's body and help Al, but he doesn't hesitate to run from the sound of police sirens at the wedding.
  • Disposable Sex Worker: Discussed by Joe, who talks about the '90s cliche of "bachelor party goes awry and the sex worker dies" after finding Al next to Cassie's corpse.
  • The Ditz: Dean Walker's daughter who falls for Cassie's story hook, line and sinker and is left sitting in a diner convinced that her favourite boy band is going to show up to shoot a music video. Even Cassie, who is generally sympathetic to other women, tells Dean Walker that is a good thing that the girl is pretty because she isn't very smart.
  • Downfall by Sex: Al Monroe subverts this in med school when Dean Walker and the other authorities believe his side of the story over Nina’s, but Cassandra becomes hellbent on making him pay for it before his wedding.
  • Driven to Suicide: Cassandra's best friend Nina killed herself after she was raped in med school.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Al raped a girl years ago, but he's apparently head over heels for his fiancée, and while we never get a close look at their dynamic, there's nothing to suggest his feelings for her aren't genuine, or that he's pulled any shady business on her like he did with Nina.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • Tying in with his love for his fiancée, Al immediately complains about a stripper coming to his bachelor party, noting his wife wouldn't want it. He also tells Cassie no when she proposes going upstairs with him, only agreeing when she says it's the only way she gets paid. Granted, these standards can be questioned, as he still allows her to stay and perform, and reluctantly accepts her offer. Al's clearly succumbing to peer pressure, but whether he's just weak willed or secretly enjoying the situation is up in the air.
    • Al never shows genuine regret for his actions against Nina, but he's clearly disgusted over his murder of Cassie. And unlike the earlier crime, this seems to be more than just a fear of being caught, as Al has to be convinced by Joe that it wasn't his fault and is still noticeably shaken around the body afterwards.
    • Neil (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) clearly has no problem fooling around with a woman who's blackout drunk, but he won't do anything to an unconscious body. Of course, he's also perfectly willing to wake Cassie up so that he can continue his lechery, and his encounter still reeks of Questionable Consent, which lands him here.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Cassie gets her revenge Paying Evil Unto Evil, and it's never made 100% sure just how far she's willing to go in that regard. But it's clear that while she'll make Madison believe she's been raped and Dean Walker think her daughter is undergoing the very same thing, she never actually lets anyone suffer the same fate as Nina, only tricking them into thinking it is or did happen.
  • Fanboy: Neil gushes to Cassie about David Foster Wallace's Consider the Lobster and how it changed his life.
  • Fatal Flaw:
    • Cassie's is her disregard for her own safety. Motivated by guilt for failing to protect Nina, Cassie makes it a point to place herself in dangerous situations that can easily go very wrong for her, such as attempting to bait rapists into assaulting her, blackmail, vandalism, and at the end, physical assault. The latter proves to be her undoing when she underestimates just how strong Al can be when armed with desperation and adrenaline, costing her life.
    • Ryan is unable to take responsibility for his own actions. He was present at Nina's rape, but tries to shift responsibility away from himself by claiming he was too drunk to remember what happened, that Nina put herself in the situation, and that Cassie is in the wrong for pushing the issue. This weakness costs him his relationship with Cassie and implies at the end that he will lose his career and reputation when the tape showing his passive role in Nina's rape gets out.
  • Female Misogynist: Madison and Dean Walker both play this fully straight, blaming Nina for what happened to her and excusing the male rapists' actions until they or someone they love is personally threatened by it. Though it's implied that after their interaction with Cassie, they've mended their ways.
  • Forceful Kiss: Jerry has a completely one-sided kiss with Cassandra in the opening scene right before he attempts to rape her.
  • Foreshadowing: On Al's bachelor party flyer, it mentions that it's "Al Monroe's last night as a free man!" During the wedding, Al is arrested for murdering Cassie and raping Nina.
  • The Ghost: Nina. Characters watch the video of her rape but it's never shown to the audience, and the photograph of her and Cassie is out of focus.
  • Graceful Loser: Al is clearly far from happy about it, but he puts up no verbal or physical resistance when arrested at his wedding.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Madison eventually realizes how morally bankrupt she acted and reveals to Cassandra that there was a video taped of Al assaulting Nina to help her get justice. However, she refuses to help beyond that due to her anger at Cassie for making her believe she had been raped.
  • I Have Your Wife: Played with. Cassie abducts Dean Walker's daughter and tells her that she has left her in the same dorm room where Nina was raped, adding that she is certain that the boys who currently reside there will undoubtedly realize that she is underage and treat her with all the respect that Al Monroe showed Nina. An increasingly desperate Walker demands to know the room number, only for Cassie to say that if she had investigated Nina's case as thoroughly as she claimed then she would remember the number. However, Cassie then admits she was lying, and simply left the daughter waiting at a diner for a boy band who will never show up.
  • The Insomniac: Jordan Greene, the lawyer who got Al and countless other similar men out of rape accusations says he has not been able to sleep ever since his Heel Realization.
  • It's All About Me: Madison sees no reason to care about Nina's rape until she believes she herself might have been raped. Although she wasn't.
  • Jaded Washout: Cassie could have been a brilliant doctor but left it behind, although for a very understandable reasons.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: With very few exceptions, Cassie is cold and rude to everyone around her, and some of her attempts at revenge are so twisted that it's hard to truly describe her as a good person even when her motives are very sympathetic. However, she also shows a gentler, more caring side at times and is devoted to getting justice for Nina. The heart of gold part of this trope starts to become stronger as the movie goes on, with Cassie starting to lighten up, becoming more affable and realizing that what she's doing isn't necessarily helpful or ethical. However, once the guy who got her to improve herself is outed as an onlooker to Nina's rape this development is destroyed and she indulges in an even more brutal manner of vengeance, though this time on the most guilty party of all.
    • She also offers true forgiveness to Jordan, the lawyer who made sure Al wasn't prosecuted, after he shows himself to be the only person involved who actually regrets his actions. And she was ready to have a hired goon come in to do something unspecified. She also still paid the goon despite not using his services.
  • Karma Houdini Warranty:
    • Madison thought nothing of laughing at Nina's rape video and bullying her until Cassie put her in the same position, although Cassie was lying — she made sure Madison wasn't hurt.
    • Al suffers no consequences for assaulting Nina with his friends in med school and even manages to defeat Cassandra when she tries to avenge Nina. He finally gets what’s coming to him in the very last scene when the video of him raping Nina is sent to Jordan and he’s arrested for murdering Cassandra.
  • The Lost Lenore: Nina is never seen in person, yet her death years before the film begins drives Cassie and by extension the entire plot.
  • Meaningful Name: Cassandra is the name of the Trojan priestess who was given the gift of seeing the future but also cursed so that no one will believe her prophecies, just as no one believed Cassie that her friend Nina was raped.
  • Moody Trailer Cover Song: The trailer uses a remix of Britney Spears' "Toxic" by way of Psycho-esque strings; the rendition also appears in the film as Cassie walks up to the bachelor party. While the trailer version matches the original's fast tempo, the film version is far slower and creepier.
  • Moral Myopia: Dean Walker seems to see nothing wrong with ignoring Nina's complaint and continuing to support Al, but she viciously attacks Cassie (verbally) when she claims to have done the same to Walker's daughter.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Exploited. Cassie plays herself up as this to attract "nice guys", and she takes it up a notch late in the movie when she disguises herself as a stripper. However, it's Fan Disservice to the audience given we know she's luring would-be rapists, taking away any eroticism.
  • Murderers Are Rapists: Al Monroe and his friends don’t murder Nina after they rape her, but years later he murders Cassandra when she tries to mutilate him as revenge.
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • The lawyer who represented Al in med school, Jordan Greene, describes having one such experience previously. He was an Amoral Attorney who would get guilty clients off for huge amounts of money, but then had what he describes as an "epiphany" (and what others described as a "psychotic break") about his actions. He was then put on sabbatical and lives his life wracked with guilt and fully expecting people to show up for justice.
    • Near the end of the film, Al is horrified with himself over his murder of Cassie, and even after Joe convinced himself that it wasn't his fault, his clear disgust over their disposal of Cassie's body can be interpreted as him still feeling guilt.
  • Naughty Nurse Outfit: Cassie wears a candy striper outfit while posing as a stripper for Al's bachelor party. More than fanservice, it is an intentionally tragic reference to how he and his friends ruined her and Nina's dreams of becoming doctors.
  • Near-Rape Experience: Happens to Cassandra every week. It’s implied that these confrontations get much darker for her sometimes.
  • Never My Fault: Everyone keeps insisting that it's not their fault that Nina got drunk and committed suicide — even her rapist Al and Ryan, who was present during her rape and did nothing to stop it. Joe keeps telling Al that "it's not your fault" after he brutally kills Cassie. This makes the aversion with Jordan, Al's former lawyer, stand out all the more, as he didn't even need any prodding from Cassie to admit his remorse for his role in Nina's humiliation and eventual suicide, which is why a shocked Cassie ends up forgiving him, in contrast with all the others.
  • Nice Guy: In a movie that explicitly calls out men who claim to be this but are really just assholes, there's one person who actually applies, being Cassie's dad Stanley. He's shown to love his daughter, even though she's a Basement-Dweller who has wasted her talents for years. Unlike Cassie's mother, he never expresses his disappointment in her, and once Cassie starts getting better for the first time in years, he beams with pride and tells her how much he's missed that side of her.
  • Nothing Nice About Sugar and Spice: Cassie is a rare Anti-Hero example of this trope. She always wears highly feminine clothes and lots of makeup, while she's pretending to be drunk so that men will take her home and she can punish them for trying to rape her. And she's trying to get revenge on the people who drove her best friend to suicide, even if that means making an ex-friend think she was raped and pretending to set a teenage girl up to be raped.
  • "Not If They Enjoyed It" Rationalization: Al tries to justify his assault by claiming the victim was into it.
  • Obvious Villain, Secret Villain: Cassie knows that Al raped Nina, drove her to suicide, and faced no consequences. She even knows who bullied Nina (Madison) and who made sure Nina never got justice (Jordan and Dean Walker). She doesn't know that Ryan, who has re-entered her life and become her boyfriend was there and watched and laughed at Nina being raped.
  • Onscreen Chapter Titles: Played with. As a nod to Cassie's habit of tracking the men she encounters via tally marks in a notepad, each main sequence of the film is concluded with a pink "I" added to the center of the screen. While they seem like Roman numerals, the film opts for "IIII" instead of "IV". At the very end once Al's wedding is busted, the four "I"s are shown with a diagonal line, representing the completion of the tally, and by extension Cassie's plan.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil:
    • Cassie makes Madison, a Karma Houdini who victim-shamed and bullied Nina into deep depression, think she's been raped.
    • She tells Dean Walker her own daughter is currently getting drunk with the very same guys who raped Nina. Subverted when it turns out to be a lie; the point was simply for Walker to instantly drop all her pretense about how they deserved the benefit of the doubt when her own family was in danger, leaving her nowhere to hide from her own guilt.
  • Playing Drunk: Cassandra lures in her "victims" in bars and clubs by pretending to be intoxicated and then turning the tables on the "nice guys" who volunteer to "help her home".
  • Rape and Revenge: Drives the plot. Cassie is motivated by a desire to avenge her best friend Nina, who killed herself after being raped.
  • Rape Discretion Shot: The audience never sees the video of Nina's rape, but Cassie's horrified reaction and the voices heard are enough to paint a picture of the scene.
  • Rape Leads to Insanity: Nina dropped out of school, had severe mental health problems, and died by suicide after being gang-raped in med school. Nina's assault and suicide also causes her best friend Cassie to suffer serious Sanity Slippage.
  • Reality Ensues: Until the end of the film Cassie's M.O. is to play mind games with her victims with the occasional drugging. When she tries to physically assault a man who is completely aware of what is happening, he breaks free of his restraints and overpowers her.
  • Retired Monster: Al raped a woman in his college years, but from everything we see, there's no signs that he's done anything like that since.
  • Rich Bitch: Cassie’s former classmate Madison, who is now married to a wealthy husband and unrepentant when confronted by Cassie for her complicity in Nina's suffering.
  • Rule of Three:
    • A common excuse for the unrepentant perpetrators and enablers for Nina’s rape when Cassandra confronts them is insisting they “were just kids” (or other variants) — first Madison (in the script only), then Ryan, and finally the primary perpetrator himself, Al Monroe.
    • Cassie meets three would-be male rapists at bars throughout the film. First, there's Jerry, the "nice guy" in the opening whom we see trying to rape Cassie. Then there's Neil, who actually doesn't try to rape Cassie while she's passed out, although he does work to get her as inebriated as possible; then there's Paul, who doesn't get a chance to do anything because he's interrupted by Ryan.
  • Shadow Archetype: Al and Joe's friendship mirrors Cassie and Nina's. They have been best friends since they were very young, exhibit Undying Loyalty towards each other, and are prepared to go to the lengths of murder and mutilation to help each other. But while Cassie wants revenge for Nina's rape and suicide, Joe is willing to help cover up that Al murdered Cassie.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Cassie's final plan for Al (chaining him to a bed and carving Nina's name onto his chest) is very similar to Lisbeth's revenge on her rapist social worker Bjurmann (who she chains to a bed and carves the word "rapist" into) in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.
    • Saying that killing a stripper at your bachelor party is a nineties thing.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: Subverted. Al murders Cassie and Ryan lies to the police to make them think it was a suicide, but the last scene exposes the men raping Nina in med school and sees Al arrested for Cassie’s murder.
  • Slipping a Mickey: The vodka Cassie feeds to the guests at Al's Stag Party is drugged to render them all insensible for the night while she takes her revenge on Al.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: After almost an entire film's worth of Cassie getting out of her Playing Drunk escapades unscathed and succeeding in exacting vengeance, she dies in her attempt to mutilate Al. No amount of righteous fury or careful planning can save a physically small woman with zero combat training when she goes up against a guy strong enough to break handcuffs.
  • Systematic Villain Takedown: Cassie decides to do this to each of Nina's tormenters.
    • First, she sets Madison up to think she's been raped in order to Pay Evil unto Evil (although she does eventually tell Madison she wasn't raped and she wouldn't have let that happen) because Madison laughed at and bullied Nina after receiving the video of Nina being raped while intoxicated.
    • Then, she finds Dean Walker's daughter and essentially kidnaps her, later claiming to have sent Walker's naive daughter into a dorm with a bunch of drunk college guys after taking Al's side over Nina's. It was a lie but gives Walker a taste of her own medicine and seriously shakes her up.
    • Then she finds Jordan, the lawyer who tormented Nina when she tried to press charges against Al. We never find out what she had planned for him because she is shocked to discover that he's the only one who feels genuine guilt for what he did.
    • Then finally, Nina's rapist Al and Ryan, who watched it happen and never stopped it. She plans to carve Nina's name on Al's chest so he never forgets what he did. But though Al manages to overpower and kill her before she can go through with it, it then is revealed that she has actually already taken down Al and Ryan, by circulating the video of Nina's rape and leaving enough evidence behind to link Al to her death.
  • Together in Death: After being murdered, Cassie's last text is signed "Love, Cassie & Nina ;)"
  • Token Black Friend:
    • Gail (Laverne Cox) is given little characterization outside of her one-sided support for the white Cassie.
    • Paul (Sam Richardson) is the sole black member of the creepy men at the bar in the opening scene. He appears in a minor role later on as one of Cassie's would-be victims but is overshadowed by Ryan.
  • To the Pain: Cassie doesn't actually inflict any physical harm on her targets, instead leaving them with the mental torture of having to face how horrible their actions were.
  • Vorpal Pillow: Al smothers Cassie by clamping a pillow over her face. It's a more realistic take on the trope, as he plants his knee on the pillow, leans on it with his full body weight, and doesn't let up for at least two minutes of screentime.
  • Wedding Finale: The story ends at Al and Anastasia's wedding. They get married, with Al appearing a Karma Houdini, but Cassie comes through at the last moment with her posthumous text, breaking up the reception.
  • Wham Line: "Oh my God, this is insane." From the tape of Nina's rape — in Ryan's voice.
  • Xanatos Gambit: Cassie's final plan. She plans to punish Al for Nina's rape by posing as a stripper at his bachelor party, tying him up and carving his victim's name into his chest, but Al fights back and kills her. Joe helps him dispose of her body, and Ryan betrays her by lying to the police about her whereabouts when he learns she's disappeared. However, the final scene reveals that Cassie prepared for this outcome by having the video evidence of Nina's rape sent to Jordan along with information on where she was going and who would be responsible if she went missing. This ends up getting Al arrested for her murder.


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