Readers may recall my review of the original I Spit On Your Grave, touted as both an exploitation film featuring a brutal rape scene, and at the same time a testament to woman power as the victim exacts revenge on the perpetrators. Aside from a cheesy 70’s low budget look and feel with some sub-par acting, it really is an empowering movie, and as I stated in that review, would be hard to top. Which is exactly what someone did.
My disdain for remakes has been lowered a notch as this revamp directed by Steven R. Monroe manages to retain all the positive elements of the original, but also improving and modernizing the story. With only the addition of one new, albeit major, character, I was initially concerned that it was too similar to the original having added little midway through the movie. A common curse of remakes. The only noticeable difference at that point was the improved acting in the form of our harrowed heroine Jennifer, this time played by Sarah Butler, and the introduction of the Sheriff (Andrew Howard) to the story.
But, the second half of the movie is where things go into overdrive. Modern day FX and makeup techniques raises the brutality leashed on the culprits to new millennium standards of gore. While Jennifer did plot her revenge after regaining her senses from the shock in the first film, there was not as much hate and bile, and no particularly extensive planning when it came to revenge. But this Jennifer is seething with rage and meticulously plans every step of her revenge. Her deadly retribution of each character are mostly inspired by their roles and specific actions they undertook during the rape. This is indeed a remake worthy of the effort.
The hardest question that probably comes to those who’ve not seen either of the versions is “Which one should I watch?” I still believe that the original merits viewing if only for the originality and bravery to having made the film in the first place. One must be ready for lower production values and other low budget forgiveness. If you prefer a slicker and updated production, go with the remake. I would still highly recommend watching both versions should the opportunity arise. If there had to be a choice between one or the other I think they are both equally deserving of viewing and regardless of which you watch, you will get an uncharacteristically harsh yet realistic perspective on rape, and a taste of justice being served the only way it can. Violently and bloody. Either way, be prepared.
Now that I’ve embraced the remake, I wonder how the other dreaded word in the cinemaphile dictionary, will play out. Yes, there is a “sequel” sitting on my shelves. This time I have high hopes as Monroe once again takes on directorial chores. But we’ll see about that when I get around to it.