Starring Sarah Butler, Jeff Branson and Andrew Howard
A beautiful writer takes a trip away from the city to a cabin in the woods to write a novel and after an unfortunate encounter with some of the locals, she is raped, beaten and left for dead. She lives, however, and hunts down the good ol’ boys for some old fashioned, bloody revenge.
Even if you haven’t seen it, most of you movie-watching folk have at least heard of a little drive-in movie from the seventies called, “I Spit on Your Grave” and you know what it’s about. It caused such a ruckus over thirty years ago with its’ story of gritty revenge wrought onto the men who rape a young woman. It’s one of the most well known exploitation movies of its time not only for the disturbing subject matter but also from the media blasting the movie for being what they perceived as just porn (Roger Ebert deems it the worst movie he’s ever seen.) It wasn’t porn, it wasn’t enjoyable. It was a revenge movie, and it was revenge like no other at the time. Fast forward to 2010 and in the wake of the remake trend, the rights to “I Spit on Your Grave” got picked up for a modern retelling and it’s as uncomfortable to watch now as it was way back then.
Just like the original, the story is very simplistic. An independent, free spirited woman rents a cabin in the woods to get away from it all and work on her novel. The local good ol’ boys aren’t used to these types of women and figure she’s just hitting on them. After getting drunk one evening, they break into her house and have their way with her several times. After narrowly surviving the ordeal, she comes back to wreak some seriously gory revenge on the men who wronged her. Yes, that’s pretty much the whole story, don’t get mad at me for the spoiler, you’re not watching this for the story.
It’s a difficult decision to say whether or not I liked this movie. The intention of the movie isn’t so much for you to enjoy it but to cringe in disgust and feel really bad. Mission accomplished, filmmakers, this isn’t a movie for everyone. The movie succeeds in modernizing the exploitation classic and upping the revenge kills. I didn’t find the rape scene as disturbing and gritty compared to the original, but what is seen is hardly a step up, it’s just filmed a different way.
The small cast of relatively unknown actors do a good job of playing their parts, most of which I’m sure was difficult to get through at times considering the subject matter. Sarah Butler is great as the unfortunate Jennifer Hills, the movie hinges on her character being believable and it certainly works. All the male actors come off as natural assholes and definitely act the type that would gang rape a woman. I’m not quite sure that’s a compliment or not.
The gore and boobs factor are pretty high although any nudity you wind up seeing really isn’t meant to be titillating in the least. Any time Jennifer is in any state of undress, it’s either during the beatings or rape scenes, so unless you’re some sick fuck into that, it’s not enjoyable at all. Neither is the gore which is certainly created to curl your toes and cringe in horror. Jennifer’s ideas in revenge are quite disturbing as we are witness, and not limited to, a man having his eyelids forced open by fish hooks, a shotgun in the ass and a certain body part being removed by a bolt cutter. Yuck.
If you’re a fan of the old school exploitation films, you’ve probably already seen the original movie and other than the kills being different, you’re not experiencing anything really different. If you’ve only got into horror in the past ten years or so, you’ll label this film as “torture porn” and compare it to Saw for some reason. It winds up being a good revenge film, but it’s not a movie that can be labeled as “enjoyable.”
Story: 7 – Not that it’s original, it is a remake after all, but not many movies take the plunge with this type of subject matter.
Boobs: 7 – All the goods are on display and Sarah Butler is beautiful but there’s nothing tantalizing about what we see.
Gore: 9 – Lots of cringe inducing effects.
Overall: 7 – If you dig revenge films, you’ll find something to like although you probably shouldn’t tell too many people you do.
-The original film famously got zero stars from film critic Roger Ebert who has stated many times that it was the worst movie he ever saw. Upon viewing the remake, he gave it the same rating as the original.
-Actress Sarah Butler took a week to commit herself to the role of victim/killer Jennifer. She wasn’t a fan of the genre as well as the subject matter but her manager convinced her to take the role.
-The main actors agreed to a “safe word” if things got too intense for Butler.
-Jennifer pumps $19.78 worth of gas near the beginning of the film, this is a reference to the original film’s year of release, 1978.