Review: I Spit On Your Grave
PLOT: Jennifer (Sarah Butler) is a young novelist looking to spend a few months secluded at a remote cabin deep in the south in order to work on her next novel. A group of local bullies, led by a sadistic sheriff, brutally rape and beat her. She manages to escape their clutches, and returns to kill them all.
REVIEW: First things first- Ive never seen the original I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE, nor do I ever intend to. While I love lean seventies thrillers (like STRAW DOGS, RACE WITH THE DEVIL, etc), the little Ive seen of the original I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE makes me very uncomfortable. Now, I dont want it to seem like Im adopting some kind of moral high ground. Im not, nor am I a prude. Im just a bit of a wimp when it comes to films with hardcore, excruciatingly lengthy rape scenes. I wasnt able to get through IRREVERSIBLE, and hearing how brutal the original I SPIT was, I had my doubts as to whether or not Id even be able to sit through this film.
Despite my reluctance to see this, I actually enjoyed I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE 2010, a whole lot more than I did the recent LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT remake (although I must admit I enjoyed THE HILLS HAVE EYES remake). Considering the fact that it was a low budget affair (reportedly a mere 1.5 Million), I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE looks like it cost at least ten times that. It has a rich, polished look- which might actually be a shortcoming to some hoping for a grittier approach, but worked for me.
However, thats not to say the film lacks grit. The rape sequence is absolutely horrific (although supposedly much tamer than the one in the original film), running a rough ten minutes or so- which was almost too much for me, but luckily just managed to avoid crossing the line that would have had me bolt from the theater. Once it comes to the revenge killings, well- lets just say theres a reason Anchor Bays decided to forgo an MPAA rating, in favor of releasing this unrated. The killings are creative, and unbelievably gruesome, although considering what our heroines gone through, you may find yourself cheering her on.
Another thing that works in this films favor is the excellent cast, comprised of virtual unknowns. In the lead, Sarah Butler is quite good. Its a difficult role, as she has to start the movie as a relatively fresh faced, smart young woman- who, over the course of the film, is broken and reshaped into a stone cold killer, wholl likely never be able to reclaim the life she had before the attack. By the time this is over, Jennifer is for all intents and purposes, dead- and Butler does an excellent job conveying this.
As the psychos that attack her, Daniel Franzese, Chad Lindberg, Rodney Eastman (of NIGHTAMRE ON ELM STREET 3-4 fame), Jeff Branson, and Andrew Howard are all excellent. Lindbergs probably the most familiar face, with him previously playing one of Vin Diesels sidekicks in the original THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS. Here, he plays the only member of the gang that assaults Jennifer that manages to be somewhat sympathetic, as hes supposed to be mentally handicapped, and forced into participating by the gang that bullies him.
The other gang member that really impresses is Jeff Branson, as the ringleader- who fancies himself a ladies man. Jennifers initial rejection of him is what leads the guys into attacking her, and Branson is absolutely repellent in the role- and I mean that as a compliment, as thats obviously exactly what he was going for.
Probably the most interesting role goes to Howard, who plays the sheriff that joins the gang in their attack of Jennifer. Supposedly, his character is a new addition, and I found him very interesting. He plays a guy who, despite his sadism towards Jennifer, actually seems to be a loving family man, with a pregnant wife, and adoring daughter at home. In a disturbing scene, he takes a call from his daughter, while viciously brutalizing Jennifer. It makes a frightening contrast, and his subplot is a fascinating addition to the film, and one that gives this film an identity of its own outside being a mere remake.
Overall, I was very impressed with I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE 2010. While its not really something I can see myself revisiting any time soon, its a solid, well made film that should please hardcore horror fans.
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