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  I Spit on Your Grave A Woman's Wrath
Year: 2010
Director: Steven R. Monroe
Stars: Sarah Butler, Jeff Branson, Andrew Howard, Daniel Franzese, Rodney Eastman, Chad Lindberg, Tracey Walter, Mollie Milligan, Saxon Sharbino
Genre: Horror, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  3 (from 1 vote)
Review: Jennifer Hills (Sarah Butler) is a writer who has travelled to a cabin in the wilderness to create her latest work. Before she gets there she must find it, however, and asks for directions from a local shopkeeper (Tracey Walter) who gives her a crude map that turns out to be little help. When she stops at a gas station, she inquires of the attendant, Johnny (Jeff Branson) who puts her straight, although she does accidentally cause him to stumble over, much to the jeering of his friends. Jennifer doesn't know it yet, but this incident has just made her some enemies...

I Spit on your Grave was yet another horror remake at a time when American shockers were fast running out of ideas, and the fact that they returned to this little loved and mildly notorious effort for a rehash was evidence of how far filmmakers were prepared to go for easy cash, although as it turned out this didn't make a huge amount of money, perhaps due to the title not being as famous as say, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. Or it could have been more to do with the fact that it really wasn't that great, so it had that in common with its source, which nevertheless some had seen as an empowering, raw and feminist work.

However, it is significant that when this came out, it credited Meir Zarchi's original by its initial title, Day of the Woman, yet when it named this production it went the more sensationalist route, which as before called into question precisely how sincere they were about their backing of the much-abused lead character and how far they were banking on the more prurient members of the potential audience wishing to see a rape revenge movie of the kind that was most prevalent in the seventies. Certainly by the time Jennifer is being set upon by Johnny and his sleazy cohorts, it's significant that her ordeal is presented as the main setpiece of the movie.

This means that by the time we get to the revenge part, we're supposed to be on Jennifer's side all the way, for we have seen what a gruelling experience she has suffered, and there was a strong argument that the subject of gang rape was not one to be treated lightly. Yet judging by what happens later in the film with its absurd traps and torture arrangements, you could just as easily see that half hour passage of the attack as being approached in the same way as the more sensationalist happenings of the final half hour when she reclaims her dignity by forcing her rapists through an ordeal of their own, and it's as insulting as it had been in the 1978 version to claim that murder is the perfect anitidote to extended humiliation.

Even more so when director Steven R. Monroe took the tack that what he was actually making owed more to the Saw franchise than any gritty realism. It didn't assist his cause that this was intended to be thought provoking when he was equating Jennifer's suffering with some fantastical horror series that adopted going over the top as the perfect way to sustain the audience's interest, and the fact that Butler seemed so committed to being as believable as she could didn't so much make you worry for the character as embarrassed for the actress, who seemed to have had the wool pulled over her eyes if she thought this was going to go the serious statement route. Obviously any violent revenge movie was going to be problematic should you try to dig into the ethics of its plotting, which was why it was best to treat to them as exploitation and thrills, but when everyone here were putting across mixed messages to say the least, that this was far slicker than the original was not necessarily a compliment. Music by Corey A. Jackson.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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