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 remake and it’s as uncomfortable to watch now as it was before.
Just like the original, the story is very simplistic. An independent free spirited woman rents a cabin in the south to get away from it all and work on her novels. The local good ol’ boys aren’t used to these types of women and figure she’s just hitting on them so after getting drunk they break into her house and have their way with her. 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, 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: 8 – 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.