I Spit on Your Grave comes down to two things: rape and revenge. A simple, but quite disturbing set of circumstances. The remake takes a similar yet slightly different approach in displaying these circumstances. While the original really shocks the audience with the rape scenes, the remake hits the audience more with Jennifer’s revenge. So did this slight change in approach make this movie an effective remake?
Jennifer is an author, who decides to rent a home in the woods in order to write her next book. Unfamiliar with the area, she stops for gas and asks for directions. She asks the attendant, Johnny, but he has more interest in hitting on her than giving her directions. This causes an awkward moment in which he ends up getting embarrassed in front of his friends. Jennifer moves on to find the home, but unfortunately for her Johnny and his friends have decided to welcome her to the neighborhood.
The first half of the movie sets up for, and concludes with Jennifer being raped. Watching the intense rape scenes in the original is pretty hard, so I knew there was no way they were going to allow that in theaters these days. Instead of showing Jennifer getting raped by each individual guy, she is emotionally tortured and taunted before the rape begins. Johnny and his friends force her do things such as, suck on a bottle and gun simulating giving a blowjob. By going in this direction, the movie basically buys time before getting to the actually rape.
Matthew, who is handicapped, first rapes Jennifer. Not only is the rape disturbing, but the fact that he is handicapped makes it a bit strange as well. Of course, he only does it after much encouragement from his so called friends. After he rapes her, she walks out into the woods in complete shock with the guys following her. She is knocked down in front of a puddle, where once again the movie buys a little time with her face being repeatedly shoved in the water. Jennifer is then raped again. As she losses consciousness, the movie fades out, and then back in once they are done raping her. While the emotional torture and taunting adds a different element to the story, I give the original the edge when it comes to the rape portion of the movie. The remake is still effective, but it is not quite as emotionally unsettling to watch as the continuous rape scenes in the original.
The second half of the movie is about Jennifer’s revenge. This is what I looked forward to seeing, and what would make or break the movie for me. After the rape, Jennifer disappears as she falls into the river in a scene that is a little more dramatic then maybe it should have been. The guys panic not knowing if she is alive or dead, so they spend the coming days searching for her. After some time passes, the tables turn as she begins to emotionally torture and taunt them. In Johnny’s case, she simulates birds flying into his sliding glass door, and dying. After doing this a couple of times, she leaves him one of her sandals. The guys think it is Matthew who is screwing with them, as they have not seen him in a while. It is somewhat strange how Jennifer suddenly knows where these guys live especially since she is not from that area. Apparently she spent some time stalking them before enacting her revenge.
As with the original, Matthew is the first person she goes after, and it is done in a somewhat similar fashion. Easily tricked, he ends up with a rope around his neck, and is dragged way. It is not a very exciting start to her revenge, but she quickly works her way up to the good stuff. What turns out to be particularly effective in the deaths of each guy is how she incorporates something they did or said while they raped her. One guy films the rape, so she turns it on him and has him watch his own death. Another guy ends up face down over some water just like she was. Jennifer paid particularly close attention to Johnny’s mouth because he took an odd liking to her teeth. I don’t want to spoil the specific details of the deaths for those that haven’t seen the movie, but they definitely make the movie for me. Ignoring the fact that Jennifer didn’t look physically capable of setting up these deaths, they are better than the ones in the original. Each guy definitely gets what he deserves, as he is tortured and then killed.
Besides some minor complaints, there is one thing that specifically bothered me. The guys supposedly burn her all of her belongs, including her clothes, but she reemerges somehow fully dressed. Where did she get the clothes? She is even wearing a belt. From the movie’s poster, they make it appear she gets her revenge while almost wearing nothing, and that she is much more dirty looking. When it comes time for her revenge, she ends up being a little too clean for someone who has been missing in the woods for weeks. It would be a little more realistic to have her dress as she is in the movie’s poster.
I saw this movie with two women, and they were ready to kill the guys in the movie before they even finished raping Jennifer. That tells me that even though I thought the rape scenes in the original were more disturbing to watch, this movie is just as effective. Jennifer’s revenge satisfied them, as it did me. There is some good thought put into the death scenes that should fulfill your need to see the guys punished. This movie strikes a good balance between the rape and revenge scenes making it an effective remake. Besides missing out on some very minor details, this movie is well worth watching, and I give it 3.5 pools of blood.