Fantastic Fest ’10 – I Spit On Your Grave: Unrated Review


An unrated remake that keeps the tone of the original, whether that’s a good thing or not.

I Spit On Your Grave (aka Day Of The Woman) is frequently in lists that feature the most shocking, most difficult to watch films of all time. The 70’s revenge flick is brutal, gruesome, and is most definitely not for everyone. Roger Ebert famously gave the film no stars, saying that it was “one of the most depressing experiences of my life”. Anchor Bay is releasing the remake as unrated, and it does an excellent job of keeping the same tone as the original.

The plot is exactly the same: Jennifer Hills (newcomer Sarah Butler) retreats to a secluded cabin to work on her latest novel, when she encounters three attractive, yet unruly gentlemen at a gas station. While at her cabin, she has trouble with the plumbing and calls the landlord. He sends mentally handicapped Matthew to help her, but just as with the original, it turns out he’s friends with the men from the gas station. He leads them right to her.

What starts out as taunting turns into something much more serious, as the men force themselves up on her repeatedly while videotaping the entire thing. Jennifer is about to be killed by her attackers, when she walks away shaking, and throws herself into the nearby river.

Jennifer returns weeks later with a well organized plan to achieve revenge upon every attacker. Her revenge is brutal, but so was their attack. Her revenge is complete, satisfying to her and to the audience.

Many people have frowned upon the original film, saying that it glorifies rape and violence against women. Defenders of the film would argue that it’s really a feminist film, as she achieves revenge against the men who wronged her. I would be one of those defenders.

As a woman, I found the rape scenes to be nearly unbearable to watch. But the revenge scenes got more than one cheer from the ladies in the audience – including me –  at my screening. The film can be empowering. The film doesn’t glorify violence against women at all. The film is presented from Jennifer’s point of view. It shows the rape as dehumanizing and terrible, and her revenge is more than warranted. She was an innocent victim, they were savages.

That’s not to say this is a film that everyone’s going to agree on. I’m sure the remake will cause just as much controversy as the original, that is, if anyone even notices its release. Anchor Bay was the only distributor who would release the film as unrated. No one on the crew wanted to edit to the film in order to secure an R rating, so they’ve released it as unrated to the theaters that would allow it.

This weekend, Hatchet II was released as unrated to select theaters across the country, with the marketing campaign “Support Unrated Horror”. This remake of I Spit On Your Grave is another rare chance to go to theaters and support unrated horror.

Director: Steven R. Monroe
Notable Cast: Sarah Butler, Andrew Howard, Jeff Branson
Writer(s): Stuart Morse (screenplay), Meir Zarchi (1978 screenplay)

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