I never saw the original I Spit on Your Grave (1978), which was originally titled Day of the Woman, and that fact likely allows me to see the 2010 version as something original, as something that doesn’t get done in Hollywood, as something refreshing, as something intense, as something you should see.
Sure, we’ve seen plenty of revenge movies, but few let us get behind a woman who has been brutally violated–Christ, she was savagely gang raped, I might as well call it what it is. And fewer movies, save Last House on the Left and Irréversible, show a rape scene as graphically as it is portrayed in I Spit on Your Grave. Speaking of rape scenes, I’m always left feeling a bit guilty for watching. See, on the one hand I’m shocked and appalled and I’m truly empathetic, but on the other hand I’ll be goddamned if I don’t want to see the woman naked, especially when she’s as hot as Sarah Butler is in I Spit on Your Grave. Am I the only one out there who feels this conflict? I wonder if it has anything to do with my mother making me cover my eyes during sexy scenes in movies when I was a kid. It’s fucked, I know.
Anyway, now that I’ve invoked the ire of the National Organization for Women, let’s get back to the movie.
The first half of I Spit on Your Grave basically builds an ungodly amount of gut-wrenching tension and suspense, taking time to develop characters and scene. We have Jennifer Hills (Sarah Butler), a writer, taking some time at a cabin deep in the middle of nowhere to finish her book. She has an unfortunate run-in with a few of the local boys, who then take it upon themselves to torment the shit out of her before gang raping her. There are interesting twists within all of this that’ll remain unsaid so that you can discover them for yourself.
The second half of this three-act film dives into the revenge, and some of the traps Sarah devises for these local white-trash boys puts to shame anything we witnessed in the Saw franchise. Let’s just say you’ll never look at fish hooks and crows the same way again. Nor will you look at hedge clippers the same.
But do you feel anything for Sarah in I Spit on Your Grave? You most certainly do. In fact, you’ll be rooting for her and you may be surprised that you support her extreme acts of violence. Some might argue that what she does goes beyond justice, that two wrongs don’t make a right, blah, blah, blah, but, though I’ve never been raped, I’m sure that anyone who has been has felt the rage and the desire to kill their attacker.
Some of the developments in the story (cell phone meets toilet) seem contrived and the one-liners are predictable, but I Spit on Your Grave is a solid film with loads of suspense, stomach-turning scenarios, and brutal violence. You should see this if you haven’t already.