DVD I Spit on Your Grave

DVD I Spit on Your Grave
DVD I Spit on Your Grave
Run time: 108 min
Rating: 6.3
Genres: Crime | Horror | Thriller
Director: Steven R. Monroe
Writers: Stuart Morse, Meir Zarchi
Stars: Sarah Butler, Jeff Branson, Andrew Howard
Storyline
Writer Jennifer Hills (Butler) takes a retreat from the city to a charming cabin in the woods to start on her next book. But Jennifer’s presence in the small town attracts the attention of a few morally depraved locals who set out one night to teach this city girl a lesson. They break into her cabin to scare her. However, what starts out as terrifying acts of humiliation and intimidation, quickly and uncontrollably escalates into a night of physical abuse and torturous assault. But before they can kill her, Jennifer sacrifices her broken and beaten body to a raging river that washes her away. As time passes, the men slowly stop searching for her body and try to go back to life as usual. But that isn’t about to happen. Against all odds, Jennifer Hills survived her ordeal. Now, with hell bent vengeance, Jennifer’s sole purpose is to turn the tables on these animals and to inflict upon them every horrifying and torturous moment they carried out on her… only much, much worse. Written by Anonymous
Plot Keywords: cabin, writer, cabin in the woods, revenge, girl
Details:
Country: USA
Release Date: 20 January 2011 (Argentina)
Box Office
Budget: $2,000,000 (estimated)
Opening Weekend: $32,064 (USA) (8 October 2010)
Gross: $92,401 (USA) (12 November 2010)

4 Comments

  1. I just saw the free screening. I'm glad I didn't pay to see it. Yes, it's that bad. It is utterly pointless, horridly acted trash, a good definition of pornography.

    Now I know we don't go into a film called I Spit On Your Grave expecting Oscar worthy performances or brilliant dialogue, but we also don't go into such a movie expecting to yawn, which is what I did at least a couple of times. I saw the original back in 1978 at a Drive-In. Despite how controversial it was and how Roger Ebert ripped on it, I always thought of it as a really well made motion picture. The acting is decent, the atmosphere is creepy and the minimalist plot is well written. The original film engages because we believe the characters are human and we believe something this horrible could actually happen. This is not the case with the remake.

    There are some major flaws that make this one too implausible to enjoy. Discussing the flaws of a movie with a plot that goes no farther than "men rape woman / woman kills men" cannot be done without including spoilers, so if you really care that much about the details of the rape and murders, stop reading this review.

    First of all, the men in this movie are so immoral and have such a lack of conscience that they can't be related to whatsoever. In the original, Jennifer comes back to actually seduce the men before she murders them, and this is very telling about the men's characters. The fact that she can seduce them shows us how utterly screwed up they are, that they have convinced themselves Jennifer actually got some pleasure out of her rape and even wants some more. This made them somewhat complex characters, perhaps victims of a macho society, which allowed us to feel for them on some small level, making the revenge that is enacted upon them that much more brutal. However, in this crappy remake, the rapists are absolutely one dimensionally evil, making them pretty much inhuman objects and causing the retribution against them to be highly unsatisfying. Plus, in this remake, a fifth rapist has been added to the plot—the county sheriff no less. A sheriff with a wife and young daughter joins in on the sadistic torture of a young woman and we are offered no motivation for this, other than of course he's a redneck, so he must like to participate in forced anal sex, a standard set by the movie Deliverance. And all of this takes place as if it is daily routine, with no regrets or remorse. The character of the sheriff is so unbelievable that it subtracts from the film as a whole.

    Another big flaw is the Jennifer character herself. In the original movie, she goes back to the city, recovers (an important aspect because then the revenge she seeks is much more premeditated), becomes empowered and returns to the scene of the crime to murder the villains. She arises as a hero because we get the sense that what she is doing is not merely personal revenge, but something that is necessary in order to keep something like that from happening to someone else, like putting a rabid dog down. But in the remake, we are suppose to believe that Jennifer dives into some water, magically disappears (was she a swimming champ?), is not seen for a month (during which she is supposedly living in an abandoned shack eating rats and snakes I suppose), and then suddenly comes out of the woods to enact a very intricate series of torturous murders. And she doesn't seduce her rapist into the bathtub to cut off the offending member, she relies on the old Hollywood cliché of whacking him over the head with a tire iron so that he conveniently passes out for an hour without a struggle, sort of like a cartoon character does, as this frail women who was beaten and raped and has been living in the woods for a month somehow drags him away and props him up into a contraption straight out of Saw part whatever. All of this is so unbelievable that by the time the brutality begins we don't really care. It is very hard to get any satisfaction out of a revenge film when it isn't taking place in the real world.

    And about the revenge murders. They are way too literal. The guy obsessed with her teeth gets his teeth pulled out. The guy with the video camera gets his eyes plucked out. The guy who gives us the gratuitous anal sex scene gets a shotgun shoved up you know where. This Jennifer hasn't recovered. She's not empowered. She's become her assailants. Her revenge is not for the protection of the world; it's for the ego of the screenwriter. There is nothing shocking about the murders because we don't care about the characters and we don't believe Jennifer could pull them off to begin with.

    In the absence of good acting, believable plot and character development, what we are left with is about two hours of brutal rape and torture. That's not filmmaking. That's just lazy. That's just trash. As audiences become more and more desensitized to this kind of trash, where is the future of horror films headed? Rape in 3D? After the long drawn out rape scene, the woman sitting next to me got up and left the theater. For a moment, I thought it was because she was so shocked by what she had just witnessed, but in a few minutes she returned with an order of nachos. You just have to wonder.

    If you want to see a really creepy, well-acted movie about a young woman exacting revenge on a sexual deviant, watch Hard Candy, an extremely well written and believable film. I Spit On Your Grave (Unrated) is pure garbage compared to that.

  2. My experience watching this remake of "I Spit on Your Grave" at the Toronto After Dark Film Festival is one I'm not likely to forget. I don't know the exact number of audience members I was with, but there must've been over 500 of them. Two reportedly passed out, a few walked out, and there were lots of cheering and sounds of disgust during the gruesome revenge scenes the lead character Jennifer unleashes upon five male hillbillies, who cruelly toy with her and rape her. I have only seen a few films at film festivals, although none were like this; not even last year's "Antichrist".

    I've already described the basic plot of "I Spit on Your Grave", but I'll elaborate more. Jennifer is a writer who travels to a cabin in the woods for relaxation and to work on her next book. She encounters three of the men at a gas station on the way and they immediately show signs of not taking kindly to her. A mentally handicapped friend of theirs named Matthew comes to her cabin later to fix her toilet, which she also conveniently drops her cell phone into. The three other men decide to teach this city girl some kind of lesson and have Matthew lose his virginity to her, but he's sympathetic. It all seems familiar to the original 1978 film, which I didn't care for. There are differences, however. One is ironic as there's a fifth man involved, who's a corrupt sheriff. In the original, there are four, but the poster tagline mistakenly says, "This woman has just cut, chopped, broken and burned *five* men beyond recognition". The irony with the remake is probably intentional. It may seem like Jennifer's damaged cell phone doesn't even matter, but it's hard to believe the rest of the law enforcement in the town might also be corrupt. Well, I can give a bit of leeway regarding the cell phone because there probably wouldn't have been a film, otherwise.

    I wouldn't dare spoil the revenge scenes, but they're more brutal than the original. I don't even want to describe them because of how sadistic they are. Watching them, I felt depressed and repulsed, yet amazed since they feel realistic. As you may have guessed, I didn't cheer with the audience. Despite what these men did to Jennifer, I felt kind of sorry for them. It's like she's treating them way worse. I was lucky enough to briefly speak with director Steven R. Monroe afterward about my different reaction and he told me you're suppose to feel that way. I was kind of relieved, to be honest. I don't remember if he told me not to tell people that, but if he did, I'm sorry. His film is indeed horrific and I don't see what's so wrong about revealing his intention.

    This remake is about as simple as the original, but the remake's made better, including the acting. I felt more emotion throughout the entire film. When the men at the gas station break into Jennifer's cabin and toy with her, there's genuine tension. That goes for other scenes that have mystery to them. Jennifer's fear and despair is definitely visible when she's abused and trying to escape. Yes, the characters are pretty one dimensional, but I don't always need great development to take interest. Ambiguity is nice to have. There's actually an interesting twist to the sheriff I won't reveal.

    There's unfortunately predictability to this film, like a few minutes of when Jennifer first encounters the sheriff and what she says to the men when she turns the tables. I had some trouble believing that the shed by her cabin happens to be filled with… well, let's just say unsubtle items. The flaws certainly didn't stop me from being shocked and I even was a little queasy after I came home. That really doesn't happen even after watching such graphic and disturbing films as "Cannibal Holocaust", "Salò or the 120 Days of Sodom", "Ichi the Killer", and "Philosophy of a Knife". *There's* a marathon for you. (Just kidding.)

    Did I truly like this film? Yes, I did, but it'll probably be several years for me to consider seeing it again, which would mainly be to see how much its shock wears off. If my review has made or helped you to be curious, hopefully you have a good idea of what you're getting into. Before I met the director, I somewhat unexpectedly got a poster of Jennifer holding a hedge clipper shown in the theatre. The director even signed it with my name. It was nice of him, but I won't be putting the poster up in my room. No siree.

  3. What a romantic film. If you want to surprise your girlfriend, light some candles, make her a nice dinner and show her "i spit on your grave".

    A young woman (Jennifer) moves to the countryside to escape the big noisy city and focus on her work. After a while she meets four very individual and each in their own way lovely men. Now she feels romantically challenged to choose of which one is the man of her dreams. Every single one of them has a lovely surprise for Jennifer and she is struggling to make a decision. After a while she enjoys the cute accents and flattering looks she gets every single day. But in the end she finds out, that only one person matters: herself. She has to learn to love who she is and grow as a woman.

    So the film is kind of a coming-of-age story with very romantic scenes and lovely little surprises. Sometimes it is a bit too much love, but that's the only way how Jennifer (and the viewer) could learn to accept herself as a woman.

  4. 'I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE' (2010): Four Stars (Out of Five)

    Modern remake of one of the most controversial films of all time 'DAY OF THE WOMAN' (which was it's original limited release title in 1978, it was later retitled 'I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE' to capitalize on it's notoriety when it was given a major release in 1980). The film and it's 1978 predecessor both deal with rape, savage torture and murder. Both films have been highly criticized because of this with critics like Roger Ebert giving both films a zero star rating and calling the original a "vile bag of garbage". Almost an equal number of supporters (of the original film), including high profile critics, have raised their voices in defense of the film as well, with many labeling it a misunderstood masterpiece. Opposers of the film claim that it's man hating (with reports of some men walking out of the theater in disgust at both films) and some also accuse the film of glorifying violence against women (for it's violent rape scenes). Defenders of the films claim the movies are 'pro women' feminism and cathartic. People have been debating these issues for thirty two years and they'll probably go on debating them for longer than that and that's a good thing. If a movie causes that much discussion you have to give it some respect just for that.

    Both films tell the story of a writer named Jennifer Hills (played by Sarah Butler in the new film and Camille Keaton in the original, Keaton is the grand-niece of Buster Keaton and won a Best Actress award for the role at the 1978 Catalonian International Film Festival) who heads to a cabin in the woods to work on her next novel. Once there she attracts a lot of attention from some hooligan hippies which eventually escalates in them braking into the cabin, raping her repeatedly and leaving her for dead. She unknowingly survives the viscous attacks and seeks out brutally sadistic revenge on all of the men involved, including a mentally handicap young man who was coerced into involvement by his buddies.

    The remake was directed by Steven R. Monroe and written by Stuart Morse. The writer and director of the original film, Meir Zarchi, served as an executive producer on the film. Zarchi has said that he was inspired to make the original film after coming across a young rape victim in New York and escorting her to the police (which he says was the wrong decision considering how incompetent they were in the matter) and later the hospital for assistance. He defends the violence of the film as being completely necessary and rejects any criticisms that it is exploitative.

    As far as the remake compares to the original film it's technically far superior on every level; it's better filmed, acted, written and directed (the original film had to manage with a much smaller budget though). The new film also shortens the rape scenes, in comparison to the much more explicit original, and relies more on psychologically implied imagery (which I think was a smarter decision). It also elaborates and extends the violent revenge scenes with much more creative deaths (much like many popular horror films). Where as the first half is more realistic and believable the second half branches much more into 'grindhouse' style revenge fantasy. While the film is much better than the original in all those ways it'll never be as remembered and cherished as a cult classic by fans.

    I personally don't agree with the film's critics or it's supporters. I don't think you're supposed to necessarily agree with the heroine's actions or condone them and I definitely don't think you're intended to agree with the assailants' actions (that's a ridiculous argument). I think the film raises a lot of thoughts (most of them unpleasant) and discussion which like I said is something the films deserve credit for. A movie should never be judged by the actions of the characters within it, so however disgusting and disturbing they are (and in these films they're atrocious) it doesn't mean that they're bad films. I think both films are well made to a certain extent and effective at what they attempt to do. They're definitely not for everyone and very hard to watch but they're also memorable and dialogue inducing.

    Watch our review show 'MOVIE TALK' at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AgaAYiwY0g0

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