I Spit on Your Grave (2010)
Review by Jude Felton
I'll start of this review by clarifying a couple of things, then we'll move on. Yes, I Spit On Your Grave is a remake of the 1978 movie of the same name, which was also known as Day of the Woman. Do we need a remake of it? Purely irrelevant as this film has been made and released, if you don't want to watch because it's a remake then don't watch it, no one is forcing you to. If it's okay with everyone I will now just move on to the 2010 I Spit On Your Grave and review the movie on its own merits, and not dwell on what has gone before. I am not writing a comparison piece.
Jennifer Hills is a novelist from the big city who heads out to the peace and quiet of a cabin in the woods in order to write her next novel. Unluckily for her some of the locals have a little too much free time on their hands. Their idea of a good time is to put Jennifer through a truly shocking ordeal of sex and violence, one that will create a violent retribution that has to be seen to be believed. Aside from a relatively gentle opening first act I Spit On Your Grave is a brutal and nasty film throughout much of its running time.
Although I do think that this is a good movie I found myself asking a few questions as I was watching it. The movie is packaged and advertised primarily featuring Jennifer, whether she is holding a knife, a pair of gardening shears or just staring menacingly at the camera. However, for a large chunk of the middle section of the movie she is almost forgotten as a character, let alone the main charcter. Instead the action focuses on the perpetrators of the heinous crimes and how they react to the events that have played out up until that point. Was Director Steven R. Monroe trying to illicit some sort of sympathy for the local yokel rapists? I for one did not care one iota about their worries and fears or how they were dealing with what they had done. I wanted to see vengeance struck down with furious anger. That being said, on the other hand, it was an interesting plot device that kept me interested in how events were going to play out, even if I did find it a little frustrating.
As you might expect from a movie with this subject matter it is an exceptionally dark film, one that is very much a horror movie rather than a revenge thriller or even the more lurid style of an exploitation flick, and a well made horror flick at that. It's cold and merciless throughout and doesn't imply any violence, rather it forces itself upon you in all its gruesome glory. The film itself also gets darker in the visual sense as it progresses as well, you just know bad things are coming and its as if the film is warning you of this.
I should also give credit to all the cast involved as they all give very convincing performances and portray the horror on screen very convincingly. Sarah Butler who plays Jennifer and Andrew Howard as the local sheriff being the pick of the pack for me, both their performances were raw and very real. Where the filmed failed slightly for me in the acting department was the portrayal of the three friends/attackers. Although they played their parts well they occasionally came across as a little cartoonish in places. This isn't a movie that needs any levity and they came dangerously close to giving us that at times.
All in all though if you want to watch a uncompromising, and at times almost unwatchable, excursion into violence and retribution you could do a lot worse than watch this. Yes it is a remake, but it is one that stands proudly as a very good movie in its own right.
Review by Jude Felton