Genre: Horror/Thriller/Crime
Director: Steven R. Monroe
Cast: Sarah Butler, Jeff Branson, Andrew Howard, Daniel Franzese, Rodney Eastman, Chad Lindberg, Tracey Walter, Mollie Milligan, Saxon Sharbino
RunTime: 1 hr 48 mins
Released By:  Shaw
Rating: R21 (Sexual Violence And Strong Torture Scenes)
Official Website: http://www.ispitonyourgravemovie.com/

Opening Day:
12 January 2012

Synopsis: A beautiful woman from the city, Jennifer Hills, rents an isolated cabin in the country to write her latest novel. Soon, a group of local lowlifes subject Jennifer to a nightmare of degradation, rape and violence. Left for dead, she returns for vengeance. Trapping her male attackers one-by-one, she inflicts acts of physical torment upon them with a ferocity that surpasses her own ordeal. When the carnage clears, victim has become victor.

Movie Review:

I have to admit I was surprised that this film even made it here, given its controversial subject matter and much talked about scenes of torture, sodomy and gang rape, amongst other acts of brutal violence wrapped in a story of vengeance. Then one starts to realize after the screening that perhaps it wasn't as bad as many had made it out to be, since there were worst films being released into the cinemas from the torture porn genre, before a quick check shows a conspicuous discrepancy in running time, with the unrated version (the film wasn't rated by the MPAA in the USA) being 4 minutes longer than the R21 passed with cuts version that's going to be screened here.

So we got a sanitized version, and those 4 minutes could have been a really rough ride given it was nearly undetectable in the cut (pardon the pun) shown here, which means entire scenes were likely to have been snipped off (oops, another pun, my apologies). These could come either in the first or second half of the film which was really a tale of two halves, and what those scenes were are anyone's guess, perhaps an extension of what's already being put on screen, but shortened to spare you that upset stomach or the need to puke. Which begs the question if the film's intent is graphic violence, what's the point then to even make such a film, or bring it into a country like ours where the censors will have a field day?

The original I Spit on Your Grave back in 1978, also known as Day of The Woman, was vile and pointless enough for Roger Ebert to give it a 0 rating, which he continued to also give the same rating with this remake. It sure looked like your average chop-socky Blaxploitation flick, until director of that 1978 original Meir Zarchi came out to clarify that the story isn't too far fetched as it was based on something which his friend had encountered when he had helped a young woman who was raped and crawled naked out of the bushes in a park, and then experiencing really incredibly bad support from law enforcement. That became the premise in which some dramatic license was added into, and a film was born. Perhaps the graphic nature of it all was to serve as a shocking wake up call to apathy, and to bring about an awareness and campaign to address violence against women.

But if that was the intent of the original, then I'm not sure what the intent was for the remake, other than to exercise someone's sick nature to do something on screen that nobody in the right frame of mind can do in real life. It may appeal to those who have an affinity for torture porn flicks, but sometimes a line has to be drawn in the sand as to how much and how graphic should something be done in the name of art. Granted that this film tried to mask the most obscene moments through quick cuts and fades to black (then again, we got 4 minutes removed, remember?) but one's largest organ, the one filled with imagination will carry on and close what's not seen on screen.

The story's simple enough, involving a young, attractive female writer (Sarah Butler) going into the woods alone, renting a cabin in the middle of nowhere for some peace and quiet to inspire her in the writing of her next novel. A chance encounter with a group of redneck ruffians and an overly friendly peck on the cheek gesture toward a mentally challenged teen meant everyone breaking into her temporal home for some booty with the involvement of an immoral police officer, before finally getting an opportunity to break away after a terrifying ordeal, and disappearing for a month. This provides time for the group to exhaust their means to track her down and finish her off, and time for her to exact her revenge, one by one.

It's a fairly typical narrative of revenge films, with the exception of choice by the filmmakers to include explicit scenes of graphic violence and torture. There's sodomy, tooth extraction (without anaesthesia), genitalia mutilation, facial attacks in the most vile manner, amongst others. Yes it's a showcase for the makeup and effects teams to show off what they can do. The narrative provided some discussion points whether the perpetrators deserve what they got coming, and to a certain extreme extent, whether Sarah Butler's character became who she was due to the shocking attack that transformed her from meek writer into an unflinching psychopath that we would be drawn into cheering for, which sort of makes this an unfair, one-sided gladiatorial match with the audience ourselves baying for blood to spill.

Still, if there are any lessons to be taken away regarding travel safety, it will involve never to tell strangers that you're lost and unfamiliar with the terrain, and never to reveal exactly where you're staying to them, especially if you're that gungho single lone female on your travels. You may be lucky most of the time, until you meet the wrong chaps who decide during drunken dare games to think with their other heads instead.

Movie Rating:

(And the point of spitting on anyone's grave is... ?)

Review by Stefan Shih

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