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I Spit On Your Grave

Year: 2010
Studio: Anchor Bay Entertainment
Director: Steven R Monroe
Writer: Stuart Morse
Cast: Sarah Butler, Jeff Branson

For all the cultural baggage of the original (and I'll bet a lot more people know of it than those who've seen it), it really was a rubbish movie – I don't know whether that makes it a good exploitation flick or a bad one. But it was a strong, controversial idea that was badly written, acted, shot and resolved.

Maybe any bozo with a half good script would do a better job, and this is a far better film if you leave the politics of the premise aside. It takes some of the ideas that made the original iconic despite their shoddy execution and makes them better, giving characters, plot turns and background much more to play with. It is – dare I say it considering the subject matter – a high quality exploitation movie.

The story is broadly the same. Pretty young novelist Jennifer (Butler) arrives at a remote cabin in a forested lake district to work, and when a troupe of backwoods rednecks are both spurned by her and like the look of her, the macho ringleader Johnny (Branson) encourages his brainless crew to do the unthinkable. They bust into the place late at night and terrorise and assault Sarah before she makes a lucky break for it, escaping into the pre-dawn light.

When she comes across the kindly gas station owner who gave her directions and the local sheriff hunting in the woods Jennifer thinks her problems are over, but we know the film's only 45 minutes in and the well-known milestones haven't even been reached, so there's much worse to come. The sheriff takes her back to the cabin to confront the boys and finding the place long abandoned, turns from skeptical of Sarah's story to nasty to one of them. The rest of the gang turn up and it's the next ten minutes or so you'll want to fast forward through.

The film makes clever use of keeping Jennifer out of the picture after she throws herself off the bridge into the river before they have a chance to kill her, concentrating on the fraying loyalties of the guys under the iron fisted rule of the sheriff. When she turns up and starts exacting her terrible revenge each episode takes the fates of the goons from the 1978 version and builds on them, the movie even having its own distinctive and far superior payoff.

I'd hesitate to say I enjoyed it, but inasmuch as a film about rape and revenge can be entertaining it was well made.

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