Review – I Spit On Your Grave (original & remake)
A friend of mine was talking about I Spit On Your Grave and how she had to turn it off halfway through because it was too intense. Of course that meant that I now had to suss out the movie and watch not only the remake that she was talking about, but also the original. I know that to officially make my Spit session complete, I should also watch the sequel to the remake (creatively titled I Spit On Your Grave 2), but after watching these movies, I feel like I get the point and don’t really need to see another movie with additional gory death scenes. If Spit 2 is on Netflix though and thereby easily accessible…I mean, why wouldn’t I watch it? 🙂 Let’s review each movie (the remake and the original – both on You Tube in their entirety by the way) and then compare and contrast and see which one I think worked best for the subject matter.
Before I talk about each movie, I thought it best to just say what the plot of Spit is. A woman goes to a cabin in a rural area and gets attacked and raped by a few of the male locals. These locals think they’ve left her for dead, but she seeks revenge on them in the form of murdering all of them by her own hand. I love a good revenge movie, and I’d actually heard about this film around 10 years ago but never really thought to look into it more or try and find it and watch it because the title is a little weird. You may think this is a campy movie or one of those “scary/funny” B-films based on that title, but it’s not funny in any way. This is probably one of the most original stories I’ve seen, especially when you consider that the original film came out in 1978 during the tail end of the Women’s Right Movement in the US. This would be one of the first times there was a strong, independent female in a role as a killer. I’m sure there’s a conversation to be had about the symbolism behind this character and all of what was going on in women’s rights at this time, but we’re just here to talk about the movies. 😀
I Spit On Your Grave (1978)
If you’ve been on this blog before, you’ll know that I’m not the biggest fan of movies pre-1980s. I find their pacing to be odd, a lot of the content is no longer relative, and the acting can be fairly monotonous (or maybe that’s just how people talked in that era and now we’re all just Gilmore Girls, running around jacked up on caffeine and talking a mile a minute). This movie does suffer a bit from its time in history, most notably from not explaining very well the motive behind the actions of the male* townsfolk. Maybe I need to work on my inference skills, but I doubt that because I know how to read subtlety (when your mom says that the men’s Old Spice deodorant you got her for her birthday is “fine”, she really means she’s going to remember this and bring it up as an anecdote for the rest of your life). It also lacks in that some of the actions of the main character don’t make sense. You’d really have to see it to know what I’m talking about, but I will say that the way she plans revenge is very different from how I or anyone I know would do it. Put those fairly minor details aside, though, and man. This movie delivered in its portrayal of a brutal and ongoing attack. There is no soundtrack meaning when someone’s in pain, you can hear it clearly and it’s up to the actor’s vocals and actions to make you feel sickened and horrified. Both the attack on the female lead AND the attacks/murders on the perpetrators made me cringe and got my stomach in knots. Though this movie could have used a bit more cohesion, it’s still something I think every horror fan should see (if they can handle the subject matter – I know it’s not for everyone).
I Spit On Your Grave (2010)
There’s something I really need to say right off the bat about this movie: one of the attackers is the dude from Mean Girls. Now I know that actors play many roles throughout their lives, but I almost felt like knowing this actor in another role in a teen movie made Spit a lot easier to handle in its rawest moments. Speaking of raw moments, this one did not spare anything when dealing with the attacks on the lead character and then the brutal murders of the attackers. The CG effects on one of the deaths in particular was pretty novice (this is coming from someone who has repeatedly used MS Paint like it’s Photoshop) and somewhat took me out of the moment. However, the other deaths were pretty violent and fairly creative. Now I like me some gore and I like seeing what a horror writer can come up with when it comes to having someone get murdered, but I couldn’t help but feel like these deaths were grandiose enough that they were all somewhat…empty. Maybe I’ve just seen too many horror films now, but it felt like they were being gory or trying to be shocking just for the sake of trying to be gory and shocking. It’s like when someone picks up a new phrase and they just keep using it even when it isn’t applicable – they’re just saying it for the sake of saying it. This isn’t something that only this movie does/is doing. I find that with a lot of current horror, like, “Oh, the people like blood? Well here’s a ton of blood in this scene! And then this scene! And then the final scene will be people bleeding into a lake of blood that feeds into a blood waterfall that falls into a blood ocean!” There is still something to be said for SOME subtlety, and I found this sensationalism took the movie from good, to just OK. That being said, I still recommend it as it was pretty entertaining and I think it’s fun to see an original and remake and see which one you prefer….kind of like I’m going to do right now!
Which Did I Like Best?
The original. I liked the original best. Why? 1) No soundtrack: As I said above, not having any music whatsoever in a movie forces you to listen to every single sound that comes from each actor AND forces the actors and director to work hard to set tone and feeling for a particular scene. 2) Amazing acting by the lead character: The female lead went from a regular woman to a person being attacked and screaming for her life (honestly, those screams are something for the record book because they were haunting) to someone doling out BRUTAL and violent revenge to the point where she seemed to have lost her sanity. 3) No gloss: In the case of the remake (and most new films), actors and sets all have a “gloss” to them which can make a story less relateable. Because there was zero gloss in the original (honestly, the dudes looked like guys I’d see in my town, the female lead looked like an average [albeit alarmingly svelte] woman, and the cabin looked like a regular vacation cabin (none of this “glamping” type stuff where a “cabin” has marble countertops and a stainless steel fridge big enough to be in a restaurant). For those reasons, the original I Spit On Your Grave beats out the remake in a big way.
I want to know what you think. Have you seen either of the Spit movies? Which one did you prefer? Do you also feel like current horror is just doing stuff for the sake of doing it?
* I’ve included the word “male” as a descriptor as in the case of this movie in particular, it is all males who attack this female. I thought I should clarify that the locals aren’t a family of females and males who get their kicks attacking lone humans.