Search the Cinema Head Cheese Archives!

October 17, 2010

Movie Review: I Spit on Your Grave (2010)

by Heather Henshaw

Directed by: Steven Monroe

Written by: Meir Zarchi

Buy I Spit on Your Grave on DVD or Blu-ray

Many people bash or refuse to see remakes due to Hollywood's deservedly poor reputation in that regard. Either the original is far superior or the remake has absolutely nothing to do with the original. Regardless, this was a remake I was highly anticipating (as were many others). The tickets to this screening were gone in three hours from the moment they went on sale. Everyone at the screening I attended waited for hours in line and a few of us talked about the original. Due to the marketing for this version, we were trying to imagine how this move was supposedly going to be “even more graphic” than the original. Boy, did they ever deliver on that promise! Multiple audience members couldn't make it through the entire film.

The story starts with Jennifer (Sarah Butler) who is a writer and goes away to a little cabin so she can work on her book. On the way to the cabin she stops off for some gas were some small town boys (who are not so keen on how to treat a lady) start to make advances. Johnny (Jeff Branson) tries to make most of the moves and is quickly shot down by the “big time city girl.” After being put to shame and embarrassed by his friends, Stanley (Daniel Franzese) and Andy (Rodney Eastman), due to being rebuked by Jennifer, Johnny is pretty pissed. Jennifer makes it away from the rednecks and out to the cabin where the plumbing is not up to par. She calls the landlord and Matthew (Chad Lindberg) is sent to fix up the toilets and pipes. Matthew is a handicapped kid who seems to take a liking to Jennifer. She gives him a kiss for fixing the drains and he takes off running away to tell his buddies. The boys, at this point, are hanging out and still giving poor Johnny a hard time about the amorous smackdown. Stanley, who records things (like Jennifer and her most private moments), recorded the kiss.

At this point Johnny is fuming and wants to go show this city girl a lesson about prancing around Redneck-ville and looking pretty and other bad guy hillbilly stuff. She is at the cabin alone and the boys toy with her a little bit… but then this pack of wolves corners her and strike. Each one of them degrades her in their own way using guns, bottles, and bats.

She fights back and, at one point, manages to get away. As she runs through the forest she finds comfort running in to the towns’ trustworthy Sheriff (Andrew Howard). They head back to the house were the Sheriff looks around only to find pot and lots of booze. He then gets on the radio for back up after finding these items. Little did Jennifer know that his back up was garnered from the local population. Yes you guessed it, the backup was Johnny and the boys and they are out for more fun and every moment is caught on tape. They finish and she leaves the cabin only to be cornered again in the woods by all of the boys. You hear the harmonica playing and just know that is the soundtrack to another world of hurt for Jennifer. This is where the protracted rape gets even more disturbing, using an effective silence. As we all watched this unfold you can only feel sadness and pain for Jen. They take turns from many points of entry even teaming up. It is a hard thing to watch so this is not for the faint at all. You see this from many angles even on Stanley ’s hand held cam (it happens a few times in the movie).

Jennifer is inadvertently left alive and the men try and cover their tracks. They never find her… but she sure as hell finds them and returns for vengeance. One by one, she dispatches every last redneck. Now, in the original film, I would say that Jennifer’s vengeance took all of twenty minutes. In this film they take their time and deliver, with much of the goings on tipping the scale of the cringe-o-meter. The kill scenes were character appropriate and quite disturbing. Truly an eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth, pounding for a pounding! The classic castration scene lives up and passes the expectations set by the original. This particular castration I must say was superb, it had to be the best one I have ever seen (and I’ve seen many). The theatrical crowd cheered loudly for this particularly gruesome un-memberment. Guess you can never go wrong with cutting a rapist’s penis off! Without playing spoiler (but I will tell you that audience members were leaving the theater) I can say there are truly graphic kills and they do not disappoint.

If you’re looking for a slow pace well why the heck are you watching this film? The film is at a breakneck speed even through some solid character development, brutal rape scenes and agonizing deaths. The 107 minute running time flies by. Truly, an epic remake.

The acting in this movie was also superb. Some horror films are just not believable or as sadistic as we are told or promised. Well, being a fan of horror, I can tell you this remake lives up to it. I do not know how the cast did it. I would imagine they felt very uncomfortable doing the rape scenes. The viewer sits back and watches the acting in this film and it seems so real… so in depth. The development of the rapist characters is superb. They are sadistic and twisted. On the other hand, Jennifer’s character is so vulnerable your heart goes out to her. Her transformation, from innocent young woman to equally as sadistic vigilante is truly remarkable.

This movie captures the meaning of a horror film. It covers every aspect fear, pain, revenge, and torture. This is the theatrical unedited version that I saw, and I pray that they do not touch or cut any of it. Sadly, we all know that much of this film will be cut down most of the graphic content that actually has an impact will be cut out due to being way to graphic. Hell, this film was so graphic and intense that it may just get cut to a five minute trailer. If you get a chance to see the unrated version, please do. The movie received a standing ovation, in the theater, and, in speaking with audience members, none of them had anything negative to say. Hey it can’t be bad if it grossed a few people out! Defiantly a must see film; it’s the most disturbing film of the year in my opinion. It even made me shudder and that doesn’t happen very often.

No comments:

Post a Comment