Jan 20, 2011

I Spit on Your Grave


No intellectual property is sacred anymore. Moaning about remakes is the new "Bush Hate", a siding so common that the effect and idea of petitioning remakes has become redundant. The idea of a remake some decades back was not met with such dynamic disgust, what with blogs being available at each and every fingertip, the notion of a revisionary splurge used to intrigue not alarm. From John Carpenter's The Thing to 2009's Last House on the Left, the definition and standards of remakes has been redefined to emerge with malignancy, no matter the quality of the spoken film. Not only are creative ideas refused funding in our current market but butchery is an option available only to an auteur, one with vision. These previously noted films are great in their own regard, one could argue better than the predecessors, and they still push the boundaries of censorship as their ancestors did in the past. So in some scrambled way, remakes are actually furthering the capabilities of the commonplace art form. Something most of you would never 'fess up to. In this regard, I will examine the newest remake of an exploitation classic, I Spit on Your Grave.


Meir Zarchi's capitalizing view on the materialism of the female body was hailed as a controversial, albeit important, notch in the annals of sinema. Camille Keaton portrays Jennifer Hills, a writer who escapes to a cabin to absolve inner-city turmoil with her latest novel. Of course, as the story goes, a woman cannot do so much as finish a chapter before she is degraded, chased, taunted, and repeatedly raped in almost comical fashion. The country boys in the 1978 version are dated buffoons that do not digest well to this generation's fans of horror. What's worse is the enactment of down syndrome is laughably "retarded" in Zarchi's version. It has been quite some time since I had seen a rape/revenge film so I wasn't tenderized to the sexual humiliation as my normal disposition would confess. This revival of the rape-classic doesn't fool around in any sense starting out. The film opens with a young, beautiful writer escaping down long stretches of silent roads in the back country. Played by Sarah Butler, this Jennifer Hill is endearing, adorable, and something that Keaton could never pass off, innocent. In the previous ISOYG, the fetishism of domination waxed right off. The depictions of assault were silly, and don't cry disgust quite yet cause I'm not finished. The scene in which Keaton escaped into the woods only to discover them waiting was outspokenly comic. It barked and hyucked at her misfortune as did I. Surely she can't be that stupid. In Steve Monroe's makeover, this same scene is presented with horror and suspense, completely absent from the original. Hell, just the handgun fellatio scene shocked me, and to think I felt blanketed with steel nerves. Once the hollow tunes of the harmonica hit Ms. Hill's ears, as well as ours, that brief moment of relief dissipates and turns into a frightfully erotic scene of sexual terrorism - complete with anal rape, which seems to be this decades favorite taboo.


From here is where the remake sputters into all-too familiar territory. The revenge aspect of I Spit on Your Grave seems to be the spoiled half in Monroe's edition. The decision to take plausible feelings of contempt and murder and direct them to the nearest slaughterhouse embellishes while detracting from the previous act. The confounded tortures enacted on behalf of the little girl that was ravaged by a group of men, one she put her trust in as well, serve to punish the audience and not the victims. The message of I Spit on Your Grave is a very confused one. As a supporter of vengeance, Hill's methods of dispatching her attackers were a mockery of the horror genre. While something as simple as seducing and castrating proved to be wholly effective and horrible in the original, Monroe insults us by having such strange and unbelievable persecutions await the offenders. While The Last House on the Left's re-imagining was guilty of the same (microwave anyone?),  I Spit on Your Grave is a film that I had hoped would prove to be above the imitation of torture. I'm only hoping some feminized disgrace to the male gender chooses not to spit obscenities towards me for not dousing this review in undeserved sympathy. I don't venture out in the shallows of escapism for I expect every possible curve-ball life might through at me and a part of me would consider a fault of Ms. Hill's own as to how she got in this mess.


The great debacle is built up through several key moments in the beginning of I Spit on Your Grave. Stopping at a gas station dolled up seems to be begging for attention as I'm sure was her motive. I don't see the purpose of Ms. Hill's applying of glittering lip gloss in the middle-of-nowhere. Nor do I respect her kissing a mentally challenged boy, just doesn't seem right with his plight in mind. This moment does aid to her final solution of the backwoods rapists, however. Getting barebacked outside of a muddy hole seems to be Jennifer's area of expertise as her writing is dreadfully awful. No wonder the boys took so kindly to the "big city cock-teasin' whore". Not to let my personal feelings of spite mixed with brackish brutality poison the good fun to be had in this envisioning, I Spit on Your Grave is a new age treatment of a genre with a life of its own. Steve Monroe disappoints in the second half with third grade suffering gags but relies on the strong opener to row this title home. You can take this film however your morality sees fit. For me, various instances of erotica were tapped, of course for the seedy side of eroticism, but I can imagine this being a hard film to enjoy, or condone for that matter, for the average fan of the cinema. Like Chaos before it, some people don't "get" the intrigue of one of the oldest transgressive acts there is, rape, and prefer their escapism to be sugar-coated and not as bleak as the world around them resonates. I, for one, will not cower.


-mAQ

9 comments:

jervaise brooke hamster said...

Anal is taboo, you must be joking, dont you know the internet revolves almost exclusively around the graphic depiction of heterosexual buggery (thankfully), DEATH TO ALL PANSY QUEER BASTARDS. By the way, its not the world that is bleak its people that are bleak.

Soiled Sinema said...

I did say favorite, did I not?
I corrected it to anal rape.

-mAQ

Soiled Sinema said...

Also, if the world wasn't so bleak, wouldn't your darling little Heather still be alive?

-mAQ

jervaise brooke hamster said...

Words like "taboo" and "rape" are derived directly from the lies and hypocrisy of "THE TIME OF SEXUAL REPRESSION" that we`re all unfortunate enough to be living through. Now with regards to "The Angel", its true that in a perfect world February 1st 1988 would have never happened and Heather would be here with me now (without her clothes on) for all eternity but i still genuinely believe that nearly all the "bleakness" in the world is derived directly from the rage and hatred that governs every individual persons mind (and i really do mean all seven billion of the poor bastards) much more so than the "bleakness" of the perceived reality that we are surrounded by.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

mAQ, this time you didn`t reply so presumably you have concluded and accepted that the wisdom and genius of "The Hamster" is (as usual) COMPLETELY TRUE !!!.

Fox said...

You said "microwave"... ohhhh, that stupid microwave scene in the TLHOTL remake.

Let me say up front that I think the remake is better than Craven's original (which I don't even like), but the microwave scene at the end dropped it down some notches. That scene betrayed the true primal vengeance of protecting one's stock and home that TLHOTL portrayed in its previous 90 minutes. After all the good stuff, it tacked on some stupid, modern fanboy sadism. Such a bummer.

BTW... here here to you defending remakes. I also get irritated when people moan about it. New director, new vision (for better or worse). Get over it.

Soiled Sinema said...

Exactly my point! Craven's original, I thought was a terrible piece of exploitation driftwood. It may have been shocking & cruel but tasteless and tacky. Same with The Hills Have Eyes. Both respected remakes are better than the Craven originals.

Thanks for your support on the remake side of things. It seems I can't enjoy a blog or review nowadays without someone complaining about Let Me In or various other properties to be reinvented.

You going to start writing again?

-mAQ

jervaise brooke hamster said...

I agree that the originals of "The Last House On The Left" and "The Hills Have Eyes" have always been ludicrously over-rated garbage (although they`re still both 1000 times better than anything the British film industry has ever produced or could ever dream of producing at any time in the future, just to put things into the proper perspective again) and that the sequels in both cases are infinitely better in every way. I also think that most sequels are better than the originals its just that peoples minds become poisoned with senti-girl-tality about the past and that clouds their judge-girl-t. Fox, i dont agree about the microwave scene, i thought it was hilarious and marvellously entertaining. mAQ, all i think about when someone girl-tions "Let Me In" is the astonishing Chloe Morentz and how much i desperately want to shove my knob up that stunning little girls amazingly gorgeous little arse-hole.

Anonymous said...

This movie was ridiculous. Couldn't stop laughing when the birds pecked that guys eyes out in one of the over exaggerated revenge sequences. Also noticed the retard was played by "Rory" from that Black Circle Boys movie, and the fat guy was the faint mustache guy from "Bully"...he turned in the worst performance.