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I Spit On Your Grave (Remake)

I Spit On Your Grave

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 1 out of 5

IT’S faint praise to describe this remake of notorious 1978 horror shocker I Spit On Your Grave as an improvement as it remains an unsavoury and unnecessary piece of work.

The original, directed by Meir Zarchi and originally called Day Of The Woman, was banned in the UK and still remains a seedy little piece of exploitation in spite of its creator’s claim to be a slice of female empowerment.

The remake has been trimmed by the BBFC but has so far failed to attract the same notoriety – doubtless because it’s been overtaken by the furore surrounding the even more unpleasant A Serbian Film.

Nevertheless, current director Steven R. Monroe would still have us believe it’s a film about empowerment. But empowerment of what remains the biggest question (degradation, censor baiting, crowd pleasing retribution?).

The plot is largely the same as a young, beautiful writer, Jennifer (Sarah Butler), heads out to a secluded lakeside retreat to pen her next novel, only to be subjected to a night of humiliation and gang rape by locals who then leave her for dead.

The added twist this time is that a local sheriff is in on the act – played to maximum sickening effect by Andrew Howard.

The second half of the film, meanwhile, is devoted to Jennifer’s elaborate revenge, which is exacted by employing the same amount of depravity (or more) that she was forced to endure.

Watching all this unfold is a very curious experience, not least because it’s impossible to know where the appeal lies, or the entertainment.

Yes, the first half of the film is tense, unsettling and every bit as hard to watch as it should be. It doesn’t really feel voyeuristic and nor should it.

But the second half shifts tone badly, apparently encouraging viewers to whoop and cheer as the rapists get their comeuppance via castration, drowning, crows, etc.

In doing so, the film lessens it’s impact and becomes something akin to a masochistic pantomime. Butler certainly deserves better as an actress, although she does at least emerge with her reputation intact.

The film, though, is a sorry excuse for misery, prolonged sexual violence and general unpleasantness. It’s nasty, repellent stuff indeed.

Certificate: 18
Running time: 108mins
UK DVD & Blu-ray Release: February 7, 2011