Of all the remakes of the past few years, the only one to truly intrigue me was this new take on the video nasty of 1978. Society’s tolerance for violence in film having exponentially stretched in 33 years, I was hoping for a searing addition to the rape revenge stable. So, it’s rather a big shame that the overwhelming sensation I had was one of boredom, the promotion of which is a cardinal sin of filmmaking.
The original story is intact. Jennifer Hills is still an attractive young writer taking a break away from the city to focus on her work. She is still repeatedly raped by a group of unpleasant country bumpkins with a collective inferiority complex. She’s still somewhat irked by her ordeal and in primal need of lashing out comeuppance.
So, what’s missing? A soul. Original director Meir Zarchi made his film after being appalled at police treatment of a real-life rape victim he rescued post-attack. The sense here is that Steven R. Monroe simply saw a story that could be more violent and made it on that basis alone. Yes, some of the torture is nicely inventive, but that was never the aim of this story. The purpose was to drive the concept of revenge in itself, not the methods by which it is achieved, and consequently, the cartoon violence on display here completely removes all sense of realism, shoving the film firmly into torture porn territory. Ironic, I suppose.
What is deserving of praise is the scene in which the group taunt Jennifer, before the violence begins, Sarah Butler doing a good job here of depicting her character’s fear and intimidation. Unfortunately, this rapidly gives way to the aforementioned lack of realism, and as such, this release serves as mere reminder to give the original a repeat viewing.
I Spit on Your Grave is available on DVD and Blu-ray now