Wow. This was way better than I thought it was going to be. In a sea of remakes, not only is this one pretty fucking good, it’s easily better than the original, which is something you can only say for a small percentage of remakes.
I Spit On Your Grave is the story of Jennifer Hills (Sarah Butler), a novelist who hires a cabin out in the middle of nowhere so that she can get some peace and quiet to work on her new novel. After a few days, four of the local men, Johnny (Jeff Branson), Stanley (Daniel Franzese), Andy (Rodney Eastman), and Matthew (Chad Lindberg), who is mentally handicapped, break into the cabin and start fucking with her, beating her up and making her do things like perform fellatio on a gun. She manages to escape and runs into Storch, the local sheriff (Andrew Howard) who takes her back to the cabin, leaving Jennifer to find that the sheriff is in cahoots with the four men. Jennifer is held down whilst Matthew brutally rapes her. She leaves the scene in shock, and after wandering through the woods for some time, she runs into the group again, where the sheriff proceeds to anally rape her, and the other men follow suit. They make the decision to kill her, but she manages to escape. She survives in the woods for a month, and then seeks, and gets, revenge on her five attackers. Credits.
The plot really doesn’t need much explaining. It’s a very simple story of rape and revenge. Having seen the original I Spit On Your Grave (originally titled Day Of The Woman), I had a pretty good idea of what I was going to see. Even so, I was surprised by how incredibly graphic this movie was. The original, released in 1978, existed in a time where cheap, ultra-violent exploitation movies were all the rage, and that movie was all kinds of fucked up. I went into this remake thinking “they don’t make them like that anymore, there’s no way it’s gonna be as brutal as the original”. Fuck, was I wrong. This movie was balls to the wall, and frankly, it has to be. The revenge that she gets on all five men is insane, but in the context of the movie, you can’t help bt feel that it’s justified. Jennifer goes through absolute hell, and she deserves her revenge.
In comparison to the original, as I said earlier, this remake is a real improvement. The rape scenes are handled differently in this version, and are better off for it. In the original, there was a cold, indifferent feel to way the scenes were shot, which made you as a viewer feel like you were trapped in this horrible situation along with Jennifer. The scenes were didn’t have a lot of cutaways, and were void of music and dramatic sound effects, adding an air of realism. The problem being, they just went on way too fucking long. We get it, the situation sucks, we don’t need to see that much of it. The remake cuts down this aspect significantly, although the scenes are still incredibly graphic. There’s a stronger focus on mental torture, too, so that the scenes are very disturbing, without going overboard. The remake spends more time focusing on the revenge aspect than the rape aspect, which is awesome, because holy shit her revenge is sweet. I don’t want to talk about it too much so as to not ruin it for those who haven’t seen it, but FUCK it’s good. It doesn’t just match the original for its brutality, it surpasses it. There’s a famous sequence in the original where Jennifer cuts off the erect penis of one of her attackers. I didn’t think they were gonna have anything as rough as that. Man, was I wrong. The shit she comes up with would put the Saw franchise to shame, and the ideas she comes up with reflect what each of the men did to her. Sick, twisted, clever, great stuff.
There’s a cute little reference to the original early on in the film, too. Jennifer buys $19.78 worth of petrol, 1978 being the year that the original was released. Keep an eye out for that one!
And I can’t talk about the film without mentioning how wonderful Sarah Butler is in this movie. She plays both the innocence and the eventual loss of innocence brilliantly, in what amounts to an incredibly brave performance. Making this film must have been physically and emotionally exhausting, and my hat’s off to her for pulling this off. The men in this remake get more to do than just be rapist pigs like in the original, too, which is great. They’re still disgusting excuses for human beings, to be sure, but we’re shown a lot of the revenge part of the film from their perspective, and they’re given an opportunity to be at least a little humanised before meeting their demise. It leaves the viewer wondering whether these men deserve what happens to them, a decision you’ll have to make yourself, Dear Reader.
All in all, a pretty good film, and for a remake, really good. Below is the trailer for all you lovely people. Check it out, and let’s get commenting!
3 1/2 out of 5