By Jerome Reuter
I Spit On Your Grave is one of the most controversial films ever made. A lot of debate still rages on about it, even today. The big argument surrounds weather or not it’s an exploitation film, or a feminist statement. Film critic Roger Ebert described it as the ‘most vile’ film he had ever seen, and most people will file this in the exploitation category. Many critics found a film with similar themes, The Last House On The Left, was a vehicle for social satire. Aside from that, it’s essentially a retelling of Ingmar Bergman’s The Virgin Spring. Whatever side you stand on in this debate, one thing is certain; both of these films are products of their time. When both of these films were remade, they lacked the atmosphere of their predecessors. It also seemed it was nothing more than an attempt to reach out to a modern film audience, one that might not have been aware of the social environment of the late 1970’s.
Technically, the retelling of the I Spit On Your Grave saga should have ended with the 2010 remake. However, there’s always money to be made, and subjects to exploit. This leads me to the 2013 sequel, I Spit On Your Grave 2. Not only is it completely unnecessary, it’s a film that’s nothing more than gratuitous misogyny. It’s almost completely devoid of originality, and has very few redeeming qualities about it, if any at all.
Our story is just about identical to the two films that preceded this one. A young fashion model has a run in with some photographers, who are offering free photographs. Once again, we have 3 male antagonists. This time, they’re brothers from Bulgaria. The three of them are what you’d expect in a film such as this. You have the ringleader, the junkie, and the one who’s a bit touched in the head. After a violent attack inside our protagonists’ apartment, she’s kidnapped by the three and chained in a basement to a mattress. This is where the film goes downhill, at an alarming rate.
Scenes of sexual torture are nothing new in the exploitation sub genre. However, what were treated to isn’t just shocking, it’s downright crude, and at times vile. In films such as Irreversible, and even the original I Spit On Your Grave, there’s one sequence shown to the viewer. Here, there are three. They’re all spread out through the films first two acts, and not easy to get through at times. There’s abuse-plot-abuse-plot-abuse-revenge. That’s the structure of this film, in a nutshell.
Some of these sequences involve rape, being urinated on, and molestation via cattle prod. As you can imagine, these aren’t the easiest to get through on the first view. This isn’t like The Girl Next Door where you’re telling the story of an actual crime that took place. This is simply exploitation. Aside from that, this film shits its location from the United States to Bulgaria at the beginning of the second act. It tries really hard to add in the elements of what we saw in Hostel. It didn’t work for Eli Roth, and it certainly doesn’t work here.
If this film has one thing in it’s favor, it’s that the revenge does match the crime. Watching our victim carry out her sordid revenge is good to see, but the presentation fails. So much of the revenge sequences are so over the top and hard to believe, they can’t be taken to seriously.
In short, this is nothing more than a gratuitous waste of time. A sequel should attempt to take things in a new direction. This is rehashing a plot we’ve seen before, piling on the misogyny, and trying really hard to shock. I’d rather sit down with Philosophy Of A Knife over this, any day of the week.