Title: I Spit On Your Grave
Directed by: Steven R. Monroe (Sasquatch Mountain, Wasteland)
Starring: Chad Lindberg, Daniel Franzese, Tracey Walter and Sarah Butler
Degradation. Rape. Violence. All in time for Halloween. While many people look forward to the holiday so they can pass out candy to innocent trick-or-treaters, Cinetel Films is planning to shock and disturb audiences with its new movie ‘I Spit On Your Grave,’ a remake of the widely debated 1978 film of the same name. Starring Sarah Butler, Jeff Branson and Andrew Howard in the lead roles, director Steven R. Monroe guarantees his version is true to the original, a promise he holds true.
The premise of the new ‘I Spit On Your Grave’ remake, set for a worldwide theatrical release on October 8, sounds eerily similar to last year’s re-imagining of the 1972 cult classic ‘The Last House on the Left.’ Both movies focus on the need to for revenge after innocent women experience rape and violence by strangers in the middle of the woods. However, ‘The Last House on the Left’ remake, which did have attributes of its own, seemed to be more of a ploy to make easy money off of an already famous title, a popular trend in Hollywood during the past decade. But ‘I Spit On Your Grave’ seemed to hold more of a promise to emotionally challenge the audience’s previous views on violence and vengeance, as promised by Monroe.
‘I Spit On Your Grave’ follows novelist Jennifer Hills (played by Butler), as she makes the journey from the city to an isolated cabin in the woods on her own to work on her next book. The peace and quiet Jennifer experiences the first few days are interrupted by a group of men she encountered at a gas station she stops at before she reached the cabin. As the men take turns brutally raping and beating her, they ignore her pleas to stop. After escaping the men, Jennifer comes back in full force a month later to unleash her retaliation on them, brutalizing them far worse than what they did to her.
With its use of sadistic brutal violence, rape, nudity and language, ‘I Spit On Your Grave’ will leave audiences with more feelings of uneasiness than the ‘Last House on the Left’ remake. Monroe, who has said that rape scenes should be disturbing, carefully walked the line, never once making them exploitive. He included enough violation to make the audience root for Jennifer when she goes back to carry out her revenge on her rapists, without making them extremely gory.
Monroe also hit the nail on the head when he said that the audience feels as though there is never a safe place when watching the movie. He expertly made the scenes graphic enough to keep the audience’s empathy from the original movie, even in an era when people continuously crave pleasure from sex.
While many people look down upon remakes, as they’re usually never anywhere nearly as good as the original, Monroe definitely succeeded in taking the torture porn sub-genre to the next level with ‘I Spit On Your Grave,’ as it stayed true to the original. He made the right decision not to include unrealistic special effects and storylines that are often seen in other torture porn movies, including the ‘Saw’ series. Making a movie that parallels people’s fears so closely will resonate in audiences, leaving them extremely terrified.
Butler was definitely the break-out star of the movie. Monroe made another smart decision to hire relatively unknown actors, as they are often more willing to do what the script calls for to deliver a believable performance. Not worrying about ruining her reputation, Butler was able to not only get through the tough violent scenes, but she was also able to transform herself.
Hardly recognizable by the time she comes back to take her revenge, Butler turned from the innocent victim into someone who wasn’t afraid to hold back when it came time to hurt those who harmed her. Monroe said that he knew that Butler would leave a brutal impact with her performance within the first seconds of her audition. He said “I saw complete believability, natural beauty and strength” in Butler, and he was right.
This new adaptation will undoubtedly leave churches and governments worldwide condemning Monroe, much like they did to Meir Zarchi, the writer and director of the original ‘I Spit On Your Grave.’ But Zarchi, who served as an executive producer on the remake, rightfully gave his full support to Monroe. But hopefully, people won’t express contempt for the new version just by its exploitative name, and will take the time to see it to realize how effectively it was made.
Written by: Karen Benardello