Sunday, July 29, 2012

I Spit On Your Grave (2010) Finally a decent remake?

Title: I Spit on your grave


Director: Steven R. Monroe

Warning: This review contains very minor spoilers.

Whats more rarer then a Unicorns or Snookie having any dignity? A remake that is at least passable. Whats ever more rare is a remake that is not only great but better then the original.

Now when this film came out I cringed at the poster, which obviously rips off of the 1970s  version. The poster said to me, this is gonna be a same carbon copy bullshit that mostly all these horror remakes are. But horror freaks I am here to tell you to give this one a chance.

While the original film will always hold a special place in my black heart, its at best a passable horror/exploitation film. Its flawed, yet the remake seems to fill in some plot holes and adds some new twists.

The story line is very similar to the original, yet I was impressed how the director reined in its villains to be realistic.  First off the story itself is timeless and there is something so simple yet deeply rooted that everyone can relate to it on some level. While dealing with redneck characters is so easy for filmmakers to make them way over the top which gets broader line stereotype. Yet SOYG actually handles them with a lot of truth and anyone whose lived in a small town guys actually act like this, minus the vicious rape. Two major changes from the original. The first being an addition to a new sheriff character. I really liked this addition to the story and its always disturbing when a person with power perverts that power for sinister purposes. There is a wonderfully unsettling scene where during the rape the sheriffs daughter calls and you get a glimpse into his home life, which later becomes more prurient to the plot. Clearly his character is the alpha male of the group. The second change is after Jennifer is raped she avoids death by swan diving in the lake, is she dead? Where did she go? The reboot fixes one major problem I had with the original, why would the guys trust Matthew to take care of Jennifer when clearly he is not up to the task. Jennifer is missing but presumed dead, we the audience know better. She cleverly toys with them before she makes her appearance. This serves the story well as it builds suspense among the men who raped her and creates conflict within there group. 

One thing that I always found interesting about the original SOYG is Matthews character and should he have been a victim because of his slow nature and he was pressured into it. This time around Matthew was made even more sympathetic then the 1978 version and you could say that he himself was a victim of rape as well. 

Another addition is one of the rapist video records, with is a commentary on voyeurism and maybe even the horror industry itself as Jennifer makes her own film, without the film, genius. 

Jeff Branson, Daniel Franzese and Rodney Eastman perfectly casted as the villains! 

Besides a well crafted script the actors really pull this film together. Sara Bulter took over the role of Jennifer Hill and has the difficult task to carry the emotional range that the role requires which is does flawlessly. The bad guys in the film local hicks Johnny, Andy, Stanley and Matthew are very acted as well. They dont get to carried away and keep in real. Playing the menacing sheriff is Andrew Howard, his energy and acting style is off the charts, big yet not over the top. Big props go to Chad Lindberg who plays Matthew the autistic young man who tragically gets caught up in this sinister web.

Unlike most remakes clearly the director has a understanding of storytelling in a visual manner. Little creepy touches like the dead bird used which is echoed through out the film. Its a nice metaphor which even more cleverly is the use of real birds for a horrifyingly nasty death scene. This to me shows attention to detail which is sorely missing in many cheap rip offs. 

Gore hounds will not be disappointed BUT don't expect any brutal shit right away. What is brilliant about this film is it builds a layer of tension that is amp`d up until the final reel when Jennifer gets her revenge, which is so sweet. When things get sick they get SICK!! A treat for viewers. The way the die is not without a nice sense of irony. 

Unlike the carbon copy film poster, this film is another but. Nasty yet clever this film should be even a chance, remake yes but its one of those rare times a remake is actually better then the original, rare but it happens. 

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