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I Spit On Your Grave review

Boys rape girl and leave her for dead; girl takes violent vengeance on boys.

Hardly the greatest story ever told, but 1978’s original I Spit On Your Grave was ripe for a remake.

For one thing, it’s no masterpiece (Roger Ebert gave it no stars and called it “a vile bag of garbage”), but more than that, it’s notorious.

Banned in the UK for years, even now only available with heavy cuts, there’s nothing more attractive to horror hounds than forbidden fruit…

Steven R. Monroe’s re-do is fast-paced, never dull, with a brave performance from sylph-like newcomer Sarah Butler as the feisty city-girl novelist escaping to a rural retreat where a run-in with locals leads to a three-tier ordeal of rape, abuse and humiliation before the tables are turned.

Cut by 43 seconds but similarly graphic, far slicker and more polished than the original, Spit 2010 irons out narrative problems and removes the troubling revenge-seduction of the first film, making this a more palatable watch. But it’s also a child of Saw, where justice must be not only poetic but also gory and inventive.

Where the first half is a disturbing Deliverance homage, the second half veers uncomfortably toward vaguely gleeful tricks’n’traps torture porn.

Lacking the breathless insanity of Taken or the quiet reflection of The Horseman, Monroe’s movie can’t top the best of the modern vigilante sub-genre.

But compared to the remake of other infamous ’70s rape-revenger The Last House On The Left, Spit 2010 does at least seem in the spirit of the original.

Grimy exploitationer? Feminist wish-fulfilment? Or just another chance to see someone’s face burnt off in an acid bath?

When a film comes with this much baggage, we’re not sure it matters.
 

A remake of two halves that both have impact but don’t match up tonally.

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