I Spit on Your Grave, 2010 – ★½

Aside from the introduction of the cop who, unsurprisngly, is all good with assault, this is a by the numbers redux of the 1978 original, yet feels paradoxically neutered by conforming to movie standards of 2010. The original film is by no means high art, but it has the courage of its convictions. Like most other early 2000s remakes, the nihilism and awfulness of the world is paramount, and the filmmakers and audience get off on the torture aspect. I’m not going to make delineation between the traumas on display in the original and remake, but only in the remake did i feel that the creators were enjoying too much. Again I’m reminded of the Last House on the Left remake, the only one to come close to doing this type of revenge flick justice. The decision to make our heroine into a boogyman who disappears from the movie for a huge chunk of act II feels cheap, as though it’s trying to get us to identify with the killers, them imbues her with the timing and hiding abilities of Michael Myers. Were we given ONLY Jennifer’s POV, this would feel far more impactful. The one improvement is Jennifer’s conflicted nature as she begins her spree. In the original she was far too calm. They defaulted to making the kills more “creative” because that’s what the audience expected at this time of release, where in the original film it was about her using her sexuality for revenge against those who took her sexual agency from her, now it’s quippy straight revenge. An especially missed opportunity is the fact that she’s a writer, and could easily have written crime or revenge fiction, serving her to create these elaborate torture scenarios, like the birds or the lye. The film Revenge, while staggeringly imperfect, feels like a true feminist response to the very real horrors faced by women in our toxic world. These others, especially Craven’s shockingly awful Last House, that lost all credibility by cutting constantly to the bumpkins, just feel like men misunderstanding trauma.

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