Being a huge fan of foreign horror, I’m often very skeptical and wary when going into any American horror movie, as most of the time they tend not to live up to the standards that I’ve put in place since discovering foreign horror. With that being said, I Spit on your Grave pleasantly surprised me and has become one of my favourite horror films of the year.
Directed by Steven Monroe, I Spit on your Grave is the story of an author, Jennifer (played by Sarah Butler) who retreats to an isolated cabin to try to get over her writer’s block. Unfortunately, a group of locals who frequently get in trouble with the law find themselves bored and decide to pay Jennifer a visit one night. Among the men are ringleader Johnny (Jeff Branson), his two followers, Andy and Stanley, as well as Matthew, a sympathetic character who is dragged into the mess by the other three. The three men end up forcing Matthew to rape Jennifer at the cabin, and when she escapes and finds a police officer she thinks she has found help. The sheriff, however, is not as innocent and helpful as we’d expect and brings her to the group of men and joins in as they all take turns raping her. They are about to kill her, but Jennifer manages to jump over a bridge into the water and loses them. Once she gets her strength back up, Jennifer begins to exact her revenge on the men one by one.
After seeing A Serbian Film, I became highly desensitized to any gore, torture, rape, etc. This movie impressed me by making me almost throw up because I was so disgusted. Don’t get me wrong, I was definitely rooting for Jennifer, but some of the stuff she does to them is really hard to watch. One scene in particular involving one of the men being put over a tub of lye and forced to hold his head up lest he have to let it fall into the lye is what had me very close to vomiting. Combine that with a scene happening at the same time where another one of the guys is getting his eyes pecked out by crows and I was feeling pretty nauseous.
One review for the film said that, while the rape was bad, you actually felt bad for the men in the end because of what she does to them. That reviewer must have been male, because as a female, I wanted nothing more than for her to torture the hell out of all of them. The rape scenes aren’t as hard to watch as some of the torture scenes, but like I said before, rape scenes don’t bother me nearly as much as they used to. I can see why the reviewer, if it was male, thought the men got it worse though, I’m sure watching a castration is a tough pill to swallow for men.
Sarah Butler is absolutely fantastic, after all of the men have raped her, her performance is totally believable as someone who just got victimized in one of the worst ways possible. Chad Lindberg, the actor who played Matthew, is also phenomenal. He really makes you feel bad for his character, and he was the only one of the men I didn’t want her to kill. Everyone else also delivered strong performances. There weren’t very many people in the movie, but everyone who was in it was top notch.
Overall, I Spit on your Grave showed me that I still had some sensitivity left in me, and that I could still have faith in American horror movies. It should be noted that this is a remake of the 1978 film with the same title, which I have not seen, but I have read that this one is a major improvement on the original. I would recommend this movie to anyone who can handle it. If you get sick/disgusted easily, I would suggest passing on it, but otherwise definitely a movie to be checked out.