08 May 2011

Movies: I Spit on Your Grave

I Spit on Your Grave (2010) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1242432/

Remake of the 1978 original film by the same title, though the original film was originally titled "Day of the Woman" before it was edited a bit before re-release under the current title.
I never saw the original. After seeing this film I don't want to see the original. Not even for comparison. After reading a bit on it there is no need for me to see it. Even though I sometimes try to see remakes vs. originals, this time - no.

Technically it is a rape/revenge film, but it also qualifies as torture porn.
It's about a city-raised writer, Jennifer Mills, who rents a remote cabin in the boonies to have a quiet place to work on her next book. Three local turds and their mentally handicapped friend bust into her cabin and terrorize her. She escapes, brings the sheriff back with her, then (who didn't see this coming) it turns out the sheriff is in cahoots with the turds. Then the poor girl has a really bad day. Yeah - that's understated.

Though the clips of the original I've seen look like low-budget quality, there isn't any low-budget quality about this production. It seems like a decent rewrite of the original script, based on the summary of the original story I read.  Good acting by the cast, especially Sarah Butler (playing Jennifer).  You can see a clear difference in her approach to the character before the assault and after. And it isn't comically over-the top. The gal sold it. Decent special effects. Great location choices, good camera work. Good sound work. The first half seems to follow a more-or-less logical and realistic progression of events within the scope of cardboard stereotypes and stereotypical behavior, the latter half stretches the 'suspension of disbelief' envelope. But that's about the extent of the praise I can muster.

Dressed up as it is in the trappings of top-notch production, it's still a bit much. The stretch starting 17 minutes into the film to about 30 minutes in covers the first round of assault - which is basically terrorizing the gal until she runs off and encounters the sheriff. Then the first rape scene hits us about 38 minutes in, followed by another escape, another capture, and another brutal multiple rape scene, culminating in her final escape from her captors about 52 minutes in. 35 minutes of repeated assaults, escalating in brutality. That is just way too long, too much. That's a full third of the film.  And as you know, it's a rape/revenge film, so after all that comes a bit of a cooldown period before we get to the revenge part.  Which then gets way more graphic.

In comparison the remake of "Last House on the Left" was less stomach-churning than this film, and as brutal as LHotL's rape scene was, this film's is worse.

Real people and real criminal cases of certain serial killers (e.g. David Parker Ray) are fucked up enough. My imagination works just fine without having to be graphically shown what happens. Same goes for horror fiction. 'Less is more' works fine, and sometimes 'More is more' is just plain unnecessary.  And if the original film is as brutal as this (though I suspect it was more brutal), I really don't need to see it. Even if it is considered the top controversial film of its era. 

If you have an iron constitution and don't bat an eye at the Saw franchise or Hostel films you might be able to watch this film. Might as well watch "Imprint" while you're at it.  Why "Imprint"? Because that's the film that not only made my wife cover her eyes during certain scenes, I had to Mute the sound during those scenes too, because covering her eyes wasn't enough.  This film? She got up and walked out for parts of it.

If you can't stomach Saw and Hostel and can't handle B-movie gore fests, you really don't want to see this film. Probably isn't safe for children.

Yeah - that 'probably' was facetious.

Unless you're training a posse of young serial killers with deep rooted psychological problems.

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