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08.23.2017
I Spit on Your Grave (2010)
Movie Review by The Spastic Cannibal
01.25.11

I Spit on Your Grave (2010) Knowing this was coming aggravated me to no end. Call me naive, but I just always thought of Meir Zarchi's 1978 rape/revenge shocker as one of the "untouchables" amongst this agglomeration of modernized classics, but like "Last House on the Left" - it has officially gone from a cult exploitation film to an updated mess that lacks 'character'. When I first heard of this blasphemous remake, I swore I'd never bother to see it and happily go about the rest of my life ignoring it's existence. Well, now I bring you my timely review...

It goes about the same setup involving a young female writer who hopes to find inspiration in a solitary cabin getaway deep in the middle of nowhere. Her concentration is soon interrupted by a vicious attack brought on by a group of backwoods boys with pent up sexual aggression and obvious boredom. After raping her repeatedly and leaving her for dead, the guys eventually get what's coming to them when the vengeful lady victim maps out a series of harsh punishments for her abusers.

In my pursuit to offer up even-handed opinions, EVEN on films I am uncontrollably biased towards, I must admit the remake of "I Spit on Your Grave" pitched a few decent elements I shall describe. The first half or so; consisting of the rape and brutalization of our helpless female lead was handled quite well. This time, it all begins in the cabin (no canoe sunbathing) and the peer-pressured retard, Matthew, is the first the bury his bone in the tattered and terrorized girl before the newly included sheriff character gives her an outdoor anal pounding in a mud puddle. At this point, the introduction to relentless violence was sufficient enough to prove effectively uncomfortable, even though it wasn't anywhere near the rawness of Zarchi's original (wine bottle rape tops gun fellatio, in my opinion). Nevertheless, it's all presented nicely as something you wish to see vindicated...

This brings me to the second half, which took the third act into territory I hoped the movie would not tread. That's right. Torture. Camille Keaton's payback in the original film - while being undeniably far-fetched - was done in an eerie, emotionless fashion with such an elegant rage that utilized the power of seduction that the gang of young rapist's argue was the reason they felt the need to defile her the way that they did. In this 2010 rehashing, Jennifer Hills 'returns from the dead', so to speak, and victimizes her targets through sneak attacks with baseball bats and prolongs their deaths through various apparatuses and bodily mutilation. Not a 'bad' thing, though the intricate demises that incorporated fish hooks through eyelids, tooth pulling, and shotguns up assholes ("Baise Moi" ripoff, anyone?) detracted from the effectiveness of the first half of the film. Yes, the revenge scenes where much more over-the-top this time around, but the fact that it insisted on going the "Saw" route was pretty disparaging. Perhaps todays generation of horror viewing youths would have a hard time understanding Jennifer Hills' bewitching sexiness as a means of luring men to their deaths with her naked body, so the film makers just preferred to go with the all-out 'tough feminist' itinerary. Why make Ms. Hills' tendencies ironically satisfying and mysterious when you can just promote one-dimensional "girl power" and have her angrily chopping her way through the deserving men while delivering rugged one-liners? Isn't boundary pushing torture much more "edgy"? Sexuality played a big part in the first film in more ways than one. Here... not so much.

Torture and gore is fine, just in the right context. I'm sure the people who see the original '78 "I Spit on Your Grave" as "dated" by today's standards will find this remake ideal, but I just didn't find the lye bathtub and CGI crows fitting in this story that was established so well the first time around. The way in which it strove to capitalize on the trends of current "UNRATED!!!" horror marketing cheapened it a great deal in my eyes.

"I Spit on Your Grave 1978" is one of my all time favorite exploitation films. This remake wasn't all that great, but in all fairness, it could've been worse. If you haven't seen the original, definitely see that before bothering with this one...

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