I Spit On Your Grave Remake Isn’t Bad for Revenge Porn

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“I Spit on Your Grave” (1978) is a highly controversial “shockploitation” film that remains relevant to cinema history even today, thanks to its inversion of the damsel in distress plot device. Instead of staying a sobbing mess, the main character rises up and kills her attackers and gets revenge. It is one of the most iconic rape-revenge stories ever filmed.

The remake of “I Spit on Your Grave” (2010) did not receive as much controversy and exposure in the media as the original film did, most likely because its predecessor was so graphic that just about any rape-revenge film that came after it pales in comparison.

The 2010 version also contains scenes of gratuitous violence that are more in common with the plethora of torture porn movies that emerged after Saw came out in 2004 than it does with it’s original version, which makes it a kind of a hybrid rape-revenge torture porn movie.  The remake, unpleasant though it may be, is charged with the kind of electric tension and realism that is totally lacking in the recent crop of bland mainstream horror flicks. You won’t find any jump scares in this one, that’s for sure.

 

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For the past four years, I’ve avoided Steven Monroe’s 2010 remake of the seminal 1978 rape-revenge film “I Spit On Your Grave.” I thought the film might lean towards exploitation a little too much, and while I’ll watch a cheerleader stumble around in a dimly lit hellhole with cannibals and ghosts or a group of idiotic teens who decide to party in a slaughterhouse filled with undead cattle, I don’t really enjoy seeing a woman raped over and over again for twenty minutes. It’s not my scene.

I saw the 1978 original at a party I attended in a rural cabin in the mountains about 11 years ago. I had had quite a few brews at the time, but I remember seeing the film as a kind of Grindhouse Rite of Passage. It has such a notorious reputation for violence and sleaze, I felt it was my duty as a film lover to sit through it. And so I did. But be warned; this isn’t a repeat viewer like a Friday the 13th sequel. It’s more of a one and done type of thing.

 

Fun Fact:

Both the original “I Spit on Your Grave” (1978) and “I Spit on Your Grave” (2010) were released without being rated by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). The 2010 version also has an R-rated version that was released with 3 minutes of footage cut from the movie. You can read an interesting article that expands upon the history of horror films, Grindhouse Theaters, and their relationship with the MPAA here .

 

“I Spit on Your Grave” (2010) stars Sarah Butler as Jennifer Hills, an ill-fated novelist who treks to a remote cabin to work on her next bestseller. On the way in, she stops for gas (her bill is $ 19.78, get it?) and meets the ubiquitous crew of backward redneck douche bags who take a liking to this “stuck up city bitch.”

Every male character in this is a creepy, chuckling deviant with crazy eyes. I know that the story requires these characterizations and that people like this exist, but still, I was somewhat offended by how the men were portrayed in this movie. Just wanted to put that out there.

 

 

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You have a perty mouth!

 

 

Soon, the drunken misogynistic geniuses get together and decide to terrorize poor Jennifer because, boobs. But before they can get to her,  she discovers a cache of tools and weapons that we know she will put to use later on.

 

 

This is a move we at Bloody Whisper like to call the Chekhov’s Toolshed. Much like Cheknov’s Gun, the tools are shown early on because they must be used in the final act.

 

 

As in the original, Jennifer is raped and sodomized and left for dead. She then rises to exact a vicious and fitting revenge. There is one scene involving a shotgun enema that is pretty sweet, and several others that require  a variety of hardware, including hedge clippers and razors. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t come away from this film with the message that sexual violence is good, and neither will anyone else for that matter.

The early scenes, in which the rednecks leave dead birds on Jennifer’s doorstep, promise a psychological creepiness that fails to materialize. After the rape, our heroine vanishes from the film for a considerable length of screen time and though unseen, begins to taunt her attackers with spooky tactics. When we finally get down to the revenge we’ve been waiting to see, the flick stumbles and falls flat on it’s face as Jennifer engages in the sort of elaborate torture that would make Jigsaw blush.

The list of rape-revenge  torture porn scenes includes:

  • Forcing a man to hold himself up out of a bathtub full of lye only to have him fall into it and be chemically burned to death after his strength fails him.
  • Catching a man in a bear trap, tying him to a tree, hooking his eyes open with fish hooks and line, covering him in fish guts and letting crows peck him to death. Go for the eyes Boo!
  • Making a man fall down a flight of stairs,  then choking him unconscious and tying his hand to a shotgun trigger, of which has the end shoved up one of her rapists *ahem* bum in revenge for anal rape. When the man wakes up and moves his hand, boom goes the shotgun! Bye bye bad guy! (Damn, what a way to go.)
  • Stringing up a man, stripping him, making him do naughty things that involves a pistol and his mouth (you can fill in the details I’m sure), then cutting off his manly bits and shoving them in his mouth and letting him bleed to death.

 

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Don’t mind me. I’m just all tied up and ready to be all Tyler Durdened over here. Someone pass the lye!

 

While it’s satisfying to watch her get her revenge in such a sick and sadistic way, the way she goes about it doesn’t make a lick of sense. For instance, the revenge scene with the guy tied to the tree oddly involves some poorly created CGI crows who arrive to peck his eyes out. Depending upon the lucky arrival of crows to wreak havoc on your enemies is a little cheesy, not to mention highly improbable.

 

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It’s like she went all Clockwork Orange on this dude, but used fishing tackle instead of medical equipment to keep his eyes open.

 

It would have made more sense if she picked up a firearm and gunned them down. It seems unlikely that this horrific trauma had somehow instantly turned her into a skilled and imaginative sadist with extensive knowledge of deadly traps and chemicals. It’s not like she’s Nancy from the original “Nightmare on Elmstreet,” who went out of her way to study how to make booby traps and anti-personnel devices. I mean, that would’ve been cool, but alas, no such luck.

Going over-the-top in violent death scenes detracts from the earlier mood and tension of the film,  and completely erases the very real fear Jennifer experienced when she attempted to escape those monsters. I was riveted by the psychological torture early on, but that was quickly discarded and I was all too soon reminded that it was piece of fiction thanks to the ridiculous staging of some of the deaths.

There’s something of a twist on the original 1978 plot, but I don’t want to give it away. It does add to the story and sets the remake apart. It also casts the heroine in shades of grey and makes her seem like a totally uncompromising woman on a mission, which I liked. No mercy for the wicked here. You know what is coming but you can’t stop it. That, I guess, is called horror.

This remake was followed by an unrelated sequel from the same director.

Brundlefly Joe has acted in a few zero budget horror films, including the short film “Daisy Derkins, Dogsitter of the Damned!” (2008). He has been busy creating film submissions for Project 21 and other Philadelphia based film groups ever since he was bit by the movie bug. 

Joe went to college for Film and Animation, and has made several short animation and film pieces. He loves to draw and paint and read; sometimes all at the same time! His passions include 1980’s slasher movies, discovering new music, gobbling up Mexican food, buying stuff on Amazon, chilling with his lovely cat, watching movies involving Marvel superheroes, playing video games and cooking. He loves to cook. Like, a lot. Seriously. Brundleflies have like four arms. He can cook two different dishes at the same time. He’s great to have at parties. Just don’t ask him to tenderize your food. He might get the wrong idea and go all Cronenberg on your plate. 

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About Brundlefly Joe

Brundlefly Joe has acted in a few zero budget horror films, including playing the amazing Victim #2 in the short film “Daisy Derkins, Dogsitter of the Damned! (2008).” He has been busy creating film submission for Project 21 and other Philadelphia based film groups.

Joe went to college for Film and Animation, and has made several short animation and film pieces. He loves to draw and paint and read; sometimes the same time! His passions include 1980’s slasher movies, discovering new music, gobbling up Mexican food, buying stuff on Amazon, chilling with his lovely cat, watching movies involving Marvel superheroes, playing video games and cooking. He loves to cook. Like, a lot. Seriously. Brundleflies have four arms. He can cook two different dishes at the same time. He’s great to have at parties. Just don’t ask him to tenderize your food. He might get the wrong idea and go all Cronenberg on your plate.

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