I Spit On Your Grave (18)

Film image

The ViewLondon Review

StarStarStarStarNo Star
Review byMatthew Turner20/01/2011

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 103 mins

As rape-and-revenge movies (and, indeed horror remakes) go, this is actually pretty good, thanks to strong performances, a decent script and some inventively nasty death sequences.

What's it all about?
Directed by Steven R. Monroe, I Spit On Your Grave is a remake of the notorious 1978 video nasty and stars Sarah Butler as novelist Jennifer Hills, who is raped and left for dead by four redneck thugs (Jeff Branson, Daniel Franzese, Rodney Eastman and Chad Lindberg) when she rents an isolated cabin in order to work on her new book. However, Jennifer survives her brutal ordeal and returns to wreak violent, bloody revenge on her attackers, using a series of inventively nasty death traps.

The Good
Butler is excellent in the lead, striking the appropriate balance between vulnerable victim and kick-ass revenge merchant, so that both seem convincing. Branson, Franzese and Eastman are equally good (the less said about Lindberg's drooling idiot character, the better), without going rabidly over the top and there's strong support from Andrew Howard as the sleazy sheriff who's in league with the rapists.

The script is a vast improvement over the original film: the characters are better written, their interactions are more believable, there's much more suspense in the build-up and there's a hint of class conflict (in the smalltown paranoia/suspicion of “city types”) that adds an extra level to the attack. Similarly, Monroe goes out of his way to ensure that, unlike in the original film, the horrific rape scene is not exploitative (the BBFC have also lent a hand, by trimming scenes involving camcorders) – obviously, it's upsetting to watch, but it's handled well and serves its purpose in setting up the motive for the violent revenge to come.

The Great
Where the film really comes into its own, however, is with the inventive death sequences that comprise the second half of the film (Jennifer has obviously spent far too much time watching the Saw movies), which are cleverly staged and deliver exactly the right mixture of squeamish horror and black humour (praise is especially due to the crow-wrangler). At the same time, it will make you examine your own reaction to the revenge scenes, which should at least provoke interesting post-film pub discussion fodder.

Worth seeing?
Well made and impressively acted, I Spit on Your Grave is a cut above the usual standard of horror remakes, thanks to a decent script and some ingeniously grisly death sequences. Recommended, if you like this sort of thing.

Be the first to review I Spit On Your Grave...
01 Pride (15)

Bill Nighy, Andrew Scott, Dominic West, Imelda Sta...

02 What We Did on Our Holidays (12A)

David Tennant, Billy Connolly, Rosamund Pike, Anne...

03 The Guest (15)

Dan Stevens, Maika Monroe, Ethan Embry

04 A Most Wanted Man (15)

Grigoriy Dobrygin, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Homayou...

05 A Walk Among the Tombstones (12)

Liam Neeson, Dan Stevens, Boyd Holbrook

Content updated: 20/08/2014 11:43

Latest Film Reviews

Film of the Week

Lucy (15)

Scarlet Johannson stars as a woman whose brain power is exponentially increased after she ingests a powerful new drug.

UK Box Office Top 5 Films

Hot Tickets

Film 4 Summer ScreenFilm 4 Summer Screen

Taking over the big screen at Somerset House again for August 2014, the Film 4 Summer Screen series brings a variety of classics and brand new films to audiences in the capital.