By: Darryl M. Yo (Two Beers) –
I recently watched both the 2010 remake of I Spit on Your Grave as well as the 1978 original. If you’re not familiar with them then I must warn you now – they are rape revenge movies. If this is not something you have the stomach for then please skip these movies as well as this review. Yes, the rape scenes for both are brutal, long, and hard to watch.
However, the point of these movies is to allow the character, Jennifer Hills (Sarah Butler), to live out every rape victim’s fantasy to the fullest. As brutal as the rape scene is, each rapist get exactly what they deserve. The original absolutely pushed the limits for its time and is definitely still a hard-hitting movie even today. As for the new version, unlike most remakes, this one is a worthy upgrade. Directing, acting, and story were much better than I expected, too. There are a lot of changes but for all the better. As I watched the original I could see where updates could be made and this remake sure does that. All the attacks are completely different from the original. I also like that it is not the same exact story with just a modern setting. The story is altered, but the overall theme is still the same and worthy of keeping the same title. (The remakes for Straw Dogs and The Last House on the Left, which are also rape revenge movies, were just that; the same story just in a modern setting.) Remakes should be handled more like this movie – paying tribute to the original but still being it’s own movie; not a carbon copy.
Sarah Butler does an excellent job considering she is playing a Swan Queen-like role. She plays the innocent, young, beautiful, yet down-to-earth girl in the first act of the movie. She is charming and cute, which works against her when she catches the eyes of the soon to be rapists. The rape scene is much different from the original movie. The original is more physically violent, whereas this movie is more psychologically violent. Before they rape her they torment her as if rape alone wasn’t bad enough. As in the original, the rapists try to kill her afterward, but she is able to survive.
The way she survives is also different here. For the second act, Jennifer Hills disappears and the focus shifts to the rapists. We see what they do to try and find her and everything else necessary to cover up their acts. A month passes. This allows time for their characters to develop. It is also assumed that Jennifer is in the midst of plotting her revenge. For the final act Jennifer steps out of the shadows to become the revenge-seeking hunter killer and she steps out of the shadows in style. She hunts each rapist down scaring the hell out of them, then capturing them, and then torturing them just as brutally as she was. Each serve their own personal penance as each are tormented in a way designed specifically for them based on what they said or did to her. It must have taken a lot of guts for Sarah Butler to take on such a role, but she does an outstanding job.
Although each revenge scene is as brutal as it gets I actually wish Sarah Butler just let out a little bit more steam in her rage. Don’t get me wrong; she is bad ass when she gets her revenge. She has these Dexter-like tormenting scenes where she has her victims tied down and has complete power and control of the situation. The things she says to them freak them out, but at what is supposed to be the height of her rage I feel she leaves just a little more to be desired. In the same respect Jennifer Hills has to first knock her victims out cold in order to place them in whatever torture situation she has planned for them. She uses a tire iron which would do the job if swung hard enough, however, I just feel like the force of the swings Sarah Butler projects were not hard enough. It would knock them to the ground, but I felt like they weren’t hard enough to knock someone out. I’m really just nit-picking here. Other than these two observations I have no other complaints.
I Spit on Your Grave is one of the most intense movies you will ever see. There is a reason why it is unrated. It is hard to watch. Jennifer Hills, so innocent, so friendly, so pretty, is toyed with, tormented, and abused. These men are brutal and have no morals. They don’t hold back. They don’t deserve to live. It’s hard to say that, “I enjoyed this movie,” or that this is an entertaining film. This is not for everyone, but I will say it is worth watching if you can handle it.
To me if a movie can leave a lasting impression on to you then it is successful in what it set out to do. This movie does just that. In fact, according to director Steven R. Monroe, the studio submitted an uncut version of the film to the MPAA to see if by chance they would get an R rating. The MPAA came back and said “look, you’ve got an NC-17 movie, but we don’t recommend that you cut it down because we feel like it’s really impactful.” They then decided against editing the film and released it as Unrated so it could play in more theaters.[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qYltUvwHxUs?rel=0&w=500&h=315]
Take a Drink: for every time the rapists get nervous knowing that Jennifer is out there somewhere.
Take a Drink: for every time Jennifer scares the hell out of each of her victims.
Take a Drink: when each rapist wakes up strapped to some kind of torture device.
Take a Drink: when each rapist meets their slow and agonizing death.
Do a Shot: when Jennifer finally reaches some sort of satisfaction.
Steven R. Monroe
Twitter: @StevenRMonroe (unverified)
Twitter: WhatsupDanny (unverified)
Twitter: @rodneyeastman (unverified)
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