Let me start this review by first stating that yes, I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE is a remake of the 1978 movie of the same name (also known as DAY OF THE WOMAN) and no, this will not be a comparison piece. If it (or any movie) needed to be remade or not is debatable, but this is a review of the movie on its own merits.
Jennifer Hills (Sarah Butler) is a young novelist working on a new novel who leaves the big city to work in the peace and quiet offered by a remote cabin she’s rented in the country. Unfortunately for her, some of the locals bumpkins have a little too much free time on their hands and want to show Jennifer a good time. Too bad their idea of a good time is to put Jennifer through a truly humiliating ordeal of torture and gang-rape. She is able to escape their intended coup de grâce, resulting in Jennifer exacting some violent acts of retribution against her attackers that have to be seen to be believed. Check out the trailer:
Although I enjoyed I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE, I was puzzled by the fact that the movie is packaged and advertised primarily featuring Jennifer –whether she is holding a knife, a pair of gardening shears or just staring menacingly at the camera — she’s the primary focus. But for a large chunk of the of the movie she disappears and is almost forgotten as a character, the main character at that.
Instead the film shifts focus on the men who assaulted her and how they react afterwards during their frantic search for her (hopefully) dead body in the days following the attack. I felt Director Steven R. Monroe (SASQUATCH MOUNTAIN) was trying to illicit some sort of sympathy for the local yokel rapists, but I did not care one iota about their worries and fears or how they were dealing with what they had done.
While watching what these men did in the days after attacking Jennifer was somewhat interesting, I did find it a little frustrating that it took time away from what I really wanted to see — Jennifer bringing down her furious vengeance upon their red necks.
As you might expect from a movie with this type of subject matter, it’s an exceptionally dark film. Aside from a relatively gentle opening act, I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE maintains a brutal and nasty vibe throughout much of its running time.
So much so that it’s very much a horror movie more than a revenge thriller or lurid exploitation flick. It’s cold and merciless throughout and doesn’t imply any violence, choosing to force itself upon you in all its gruesome glory, keeping the camera on the violence rather than cutting away. Visually, the film itself gets darker as it progresses, creating a sense of foreboding and warning you of the nastiness coming your way.
Most of the cast did a great job, specifically Sarah Butler and Andrew Howard as Sheriff “Ass Man” Storch. Both of their performances were raw, brave and very realistic. The same could not be said for the country-fried henchmen. Although they probably played their parts as written, they often came across a bit too cartoonish in places. This isn’t a movie that needs any levity and they came dangerously close to giving us that at times.
If you want to watch an uncompromising, sometimes close to unwatchable, excursion into violence and retribution, you could do a lot worse than this. Even though it’s a remake, it’s a good movie in its own right and one that all involved should be proud of.
Rating:Tags: Crime, Horror, movie, revenge, review