I Spit On Your Grave – Remake
Director: Steven R. Monroe
Cast: Sarah Butler, Jeff Branson, Daniel Franzese
Review by Brian M. Sammons
Initially when I heard that they were remaking this piece of ’70s exploitation critic flame-bait I thought, “Wow, Hollywood is now officially out of ideas.” But then thinking about it I realized that nope, Hollywood is the same as it has always been. While they would like you to think they are all sunshine, lollipops, and family friendly, they are not above pulling out the sleaze to make a quick buck. And you really can’t get more name recognition sleazy than I Spit On Your Grave.
But you know what, I’m glad that side of movie making still exists.
No, not because I like it or the films they produce. In fact, after seeing this movie once I’ll be quite happy to never see it again for a very long time, or ever for that matter. That said, I am very happy that this stuff exists for those that do like it. Maybe that’s because I live by the odd code that very few people seem to follow these days, and this is if I don’t like something, I don’t watch, read, or listen to it. Shocking concept, I know.
Anyway, enough of me sermonizing, let’s get to the review.
If you have ever heard of I Spit On Your Grave then you’ve heard about the controversy. The original movie kicked the hornets nest of film critics, feminists, and all sorts of guardians of moral decency. However, as much as I hate to admit it, I can sort of see why they all went nuts on the film. I mean, it did have over twenty-five minutes of a woman being brutalized and raped repeatedly. The story can be boiled down to this; a big city woman goes out to the woods alone to write a book, she meets some ill-tempered country boys, they rape her and leave her for dead, she comes back for bloody revenge and kills them all, the end. Well this remake follows that thin blueprint rather well, with a few changes along the way.
Hey, I know, I’ll count off some of the changes as I remembered them happening.
Oddly icky bit: they actually try to give Johnny, the ringleader of the rape gang, a reason for revenge as the woman, Jennifer, inadvertently embarrassed him in front of his leering cronies. Don’t know if I like that bit of quasi-justification added to the plot.
“Of course” bit: they really push the whole southern hillbilly thing this time around. While in the first movie the rapists were “country bumpkins” they were from Connecticut. Now they’re from undetermined southern state, USA. I guess no one gets raped up north anymore.
“Naturally” bit: one of the four scuzballs has a video camera and tapes everything. Come to think of it, with all the morons who tape themselves doing stupid, and oftentimes illegal, things and even post them on YouTube and the like, it seems believable.
Wow, the woman smokes dope. So did I stumble into an ’80s slasher where the girls who smoke pot deserve the bad things that happen to them?
Now for the meat and potatoes of the film, the terrorizing, brutalizing, and rape of the woman. Hey, I’m not saying it’s a good thing, but you’d be lying if you didn’t admit that this is what both versions of I Spit have hung their hats on. Well here’s the long and short of it, it lasts longer this time out and while it is slightly less physical it is far more psychological and mean-spirited than the first movie. Let that sink in; it’s more mean-spirited than four guys gang raping a woman for twenty-five minutes. That right there should be all you need to know if this is the kind of film you want to see.
Oh there is also a bit of “twist” in this one that had me rolling my eyes so hard that I thought they were going to fly out of my skull. I won’t give it away, but if you don’t see it coming then you just don’t know the Making Modern Thrillers for Dummies handbook.
To be sure there are more differences between this film and the one from 1978, but I don’t want to completely rag on this movie and make it sound like I liked the first one more. No, I pretty much dislike both equally, but I will say this about the remake, it was well made. The direction seemed more competent, the film quality was a sure sight better, and it just looked much better overall. Also the acting seemed a hell of a lot better as I hated the hillbilly rapists in this one a lot more than I did the original scumbags, so that’s something. Furthermore the characters and the overall story are a lot more fleshed out in this version than the previous one. Last but not least, Jennifer’s righteous revenge is also more elaborate, bloody, and yes, mean-spirited. I guess what’s good for the girl is good for the guys.
So pretty much in all ways this one wanted to one up the original, and for the most part, it did. I guess that means it was a successful remake, for whatever that’s worth.
This Blu-ray, brought to us by Anchor Bay, has a few extras on it to help entice would-be buyers. There’s a director and producer audio commentary, a 16 minute making of featurette, and then a couple trailers, radio spots, and deleted scenes. Really, there’s nothing new or noteworthy to any of the extras here, so if you pick up this disc, you’re only doing so for the film.
That’s the way it should be, I guess.
Just make sure you know what you’re getting into before you sit down to watch this one. But I’m guessing you already do. It is I Spit On Your Grave, after all.