In 2010 there came a remake of one of the most controversial horror films ever made. “I Spit on Your Grave” was a brutal re-imagining of the 1978 rape and revenge film about a young woman named Jennifer Hills, who takes a vacation to get away from it all and winds up violated by a group of small town southern psychos.
In the original film, Camille Keaton played Hills with a wanton fear that morphs its way into a broken souled confidence. The victim becomes the predator as her attackers meet their just deserts by her hand. With the updated version, director Steven R. Monroe pulls from modern day Jennifer, (played by Sarah Butler) a fear and strength all her own. Both women had the courage to put themselves in very dark places, and emerge victorious from their experiences.
Now Monroe has helped turn the remake into a franchise with “I Spit on Your Grave 2.”
Ms. Butler has been replaced by a young actress named Jemma Dallender. Like the actresses that came before her, Ms. Dallender is very beautiful; stunningly so. This time out she is playing a heroine named Katie. It seems as if Katie is not looking to take a vacation. She’s looking to make her way in the big city as a model, and is in need to spice up her pictorial portfolio.
With limited funds to do this, the young catwalker to be finds an advertisement that offers free portfolio pictures. She calls, and instantly takes to the heavy accented voice on the other line. When it is requested that she text her picture to this person, she does so and doesn’t hesitate.
Naturally the mysterious party can’t make contact with her fast enough. With no lick of hesitancy, Katie is in the car and off to the mystery studio. From there we go from photo taking to inappropriate suggestions.
Unnerved by the experience, Katie quickly retreats. She then begins to find herself visited by one of the men from the studio, who has fallen for her. The rape and torture scenes begin shortly afterward.
Here’s where the film veers from the formula the first one set, in that the slow burn fear and harrowing experience of Jennifer Hills that Mr. Monroe filmed so well in the first installment is taken to new extremes. The rapes and the torture are drawn out and stretched. They take up a good part of the film, which will find some viewers screaming “enough already” at the screen.
Ms. Dellender possesses the courage held by Ms. Keaton and Ms. Butler in spades, but the point of the character’s experiences could have been made with a shorter amount of brutality. When the character finds herself kidnapped and taken to Bulgaria, the film takes on reflections of “Hostel” in a way that makes it feel very unoriginal.
Scenes where Katie is tortured with a cattle prod, then buried in a box are horror fare, and when the cattle prod is stupidly thrown into the box with her, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know it will be used again.
The wisdom of turning this kind of film into a franchise is questionable, but if it is to be there are smarter ways of doing it. Overall, this film does have some nice moments of squirming and tension, but overall it puts the layers on a bit too thick.