I Spit On Your Grave - the remake (2010)
Directed by Steven R. Monroe

Starring Andrew Howard Chad Lindberg Daniel Franzese Jeff Branson Sarah Butler Tracey Walter

If watching redneck rapists being castrated, sodomized with shotguns, and having their eyes plucked out by black crows is what floats your boat, then this horror remake is for you.

Unless you're a horror fan whose lived under a rock the past 30 years, you should know the premise of "Spit" and already seen the original. Jennifer Hills (played by Buster Keaton's granddaughter Camille in the original and by Sarah Butler in the remake) is a big city writer who decides to rent a cabin in the woods -- by herself -- to work on her new book. She's gorgeous and naturally runs into a group of town rednecks on the way to her rental. In the updated remake, her cell phone naturally is ruined when she drops it in the toilet.

Of course, the group -- which includes one retarded guy -- eventually go after her, rape her in the woods, almost to the point of death and (in the remake) actually think they've killed her.

She decides to kill all of them.

In the original, she used her sexual powers to seduce the guys then take them down one by one. The most gruesome scene involved a bathtub butcher-knife castration that still leaves me disturbed, 20 years after seeing it. There's nothing quite as insane in the remake -- although it tries hard to top it.

In the new version, she's presumed dead and comes back at them not unlike Jigsaw in the "Saw" films -- with elaborate traps and creative killing setups.

Now, love it or hate it, the original "I Spit on Your Grave" is one of those bad '70s movies that has to be acknowledged as a classic. Derivative of "Last House on the Left," the film is sitill the kind of thing they don't make anymore, even when they are actually remaking it. The reason is that the first "Spit" was sleazy, with the tone of a '70s porn film. It also had some powerful and artistic horror moments that were not replicated in the remake, like the scene where Camille Keaton's rape victim character chases down her rapists via motor boat -- brandishing an axe. With no music score, the movie also had a nihilistic tone you could never replicate today. You couldn't make it today.

The new "Spit" does take some of the original's ideas and even emulates some of the photography, but it's far, far from sleazy. At the screening I attended, women viewers walked away un-offended, which is something that did not happen with the fist film. "Spit 2010" embraces the feminist pretensions of the first. Plus, it has a music score and a somewhat better plot.

During the first 45 minutes, I hated this remake as it felt like an inferior rehash of the original, this time with a cheesy horror music score. Then, the revenge killings started, and things started to improve -- dramatically. Steven R. Monroe's update has more rapists -- therefore more revenge killings. It also has a subplot involving a cover-up by the town sheriff, who happens to be one of the predators.

I won't spoil the killings too much for you, because they are quite creative -- and even feature some great gore effects. Needless to say, during these moments the film doesn't have any pretensions of being anything other than a trash-fest, albeit a not terribly sleazy one.

But you can't have everything. "I Spit on Your Grave" may be a remake, but it's worth catching. Arguably better than the original, which doesn't earn it any medals but does make it something that deserves a slot in your Netflix queue.

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-- Review by Lucius Gore

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