Director: Steven R. Monroe (2010)
Starring: Sarah Butler, Jeff Branson, Andrew Howard
Find it: No, really, don't.
So good a story they told it twice. Now with better acting and inappropriately competent direction. But still irredeemably shit and possibly more morally bankrupt than the original. Where Mier Zarchi's 1978 original was, well, original and saw itself as a feminist piece, this remake just looks and feels like an exercise in moneyspinning unoriginality. Zarchi was trying to make a statement about rape (not very well, I should say). This hunk of horseshit is motivated entirely by "you know what'll make us some money? Let's remake I Spit On Your Grave."
If you don't know the plot, I recommend you go away now. It'll leave your mind an infitely better place. I wish I didn't know either version of this movie existed. I resent having the plot of I Spit On Your Grave stuck in my memory. Jennifer Hills (Sarah Butler) is a writer who heads out to an isolated cabin to get some work done. Instead, she runs into a gang of Hillbilly rapists determined to do what they do best. But because Zarchi's brand of 'rape, rinse, repeat' just won't cut it nowadays, we have to have torture too. Physical and psychological and with a baseball bat and a bottle and then a gun. Once all the rape is done with, revenge commences (reluctantly, I might add. Much like the original, Spit '10 is far less interested in Jennifer's revenge than it is her rape). There are 60 minutes of torture/rape and about 40 minutes of revenge. Revenge which is just more torture, really. Day Of The Woman my arse.
There's a scene 10 minutes in where Jennifer is spied upon whilst dressed only in her underwear. But the way it's framed isn't creepy or scary; it's like a scene cut from The Unborn. The camera makes us complicit with the rapists without even realising that it's doing so. It letches gleefully off've Jennifer, unironically and like any other silly horror movie would. But I Spit On Your Grave isn't supposed to be any other silly horror movie. By sleazing on her thusly - and inviting us to do so too - director Steven Monroe is as complicit in her rape as the rapists themselves. For all of its faults (and it has a fucking lot) Spit '78 is a remarkably unsexy movie. This version should have starred Megan Fox or Odette Yustman. It's designed to titillate as much as it is terrify. Which misses the point entirely.
The Hollywood sheen, rather than improving the story, more highlights its faults. With all the money and talent at hand, they chose to make this lump of shit? They chose this as a story which needed telling again? There are jump scares, twists and a creepy horror movie soundtrack. Which miss the point even more. The first forty minutes are all buildup to the rape itself. That's 40 minutes waiting to watch someone get raped and then there are about 15 minutes of the act itself. Day Of The Woman? Fuck off. Never before has that alternate moniker seemed so condescending. "Oh we just spent 50 minutes raping and torturing the girl: but it's okay, she chops his willy off at the end. BTW, she gets naked."
Admittedly, the revenge is better done than before. It'd be satisfying if you didn't just hate the film itself so much. Plus Jennifer talks a lot and her dialogue really isn't very interesting. She wisecracks far too much.
RAPIST: Fuck you.
JENNIFER: I already did that. I didn't like it very much.
[Hold for applause]
JENNIFER shoves shotgun up RAPIST'S arse.
JENNIFER: I thought you were an ass man.
She's a regular comedian and nowhere near as scary as Camille Keaton, who actually seemed pissed off. Sarah Butler is a good actress, but fails to really nail anything other than kooky emo.
It's nihilistic and stupid and horrible and unpleasant (which, I suppose, it's supposed to be) and boring and offensive and literally a punch in the face to every real horror fan out there. Much as it did during the video nasty era, I Spit On Your Grave makes us all look bad in the process. It'll be called sick and depraved and people will want it banned. And fans of horror will get the blame. I expect to be on some sort of register now, simply for having watched it.
I Spit On Your Grave 1978 is a legitimate piece of horror cinema history. I Spit On Your Grave 2010 isn't. It achieves precisely one thing, which I thought no movie ever could: it makes me hate the original flick ever so (very) slightly less.