I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE 2 (2013)
(Directed by Steven R. Monroe)
(Written by Neil Elman and Thomas Fenton)
(Starring Jemma Dallender, Joe Absolom and Yavor Baharov)
Plot: An aspiring model named Katie (Jemma Dallender) decides to poet for a shady photographer (Joe Absolom), whose brother (Yavor Baharov) develops an unhealthy obsession with her. He ends up sexually assaulting her and accidentally committing murderer on a would-be rescuer, so the photographer decides to get rid of the evidence by making her their sex slave.
The original “I Spit On Your Grave” didn’t need to be remade, nor did the “I Spit on Your Grave” remake need a sequel. But both films have acquired sizable followings, with the original being regarded as a cult classic by many, so why wouldn’t the underground horror circuit want to cash in on that success? It’s not that I disliked either of those movies, even though I wouldn’t call myself a fan. They were both well made films and I’d even say that the 1978 version had some artistic flourishes to it. My issue is that content wise…It’s just a lot of raping and torturing and that’s not especially original. So all of these clones, unofficial sequels and official sequels all seem to share the same kinds of stories, locations, characters and even kills. “I Spit on Your Grave 2” might take place in a different country and might have made a few changes to the formula, but once again, it’s just a lot of raping and a lot of torturing. Eventually you’re doomed to become desensitized to the brutality and when that happens, the movie just becomes sort of boring…and I got used to it during the first 30 minutes…
Let’s start with what I thought the movie did right. I’d say “I Spit on Your Grave 2”- by the way, does any of these movies contain any actual spitting on graves?- is superior to its predecessor on a technical level. The acting was better, although discussing our heroine will be a bit more complicated. Some of the dialogue was actually kind of clever and while the writing definitely had some face palming moments of stupidity, it never reached the mind boggling, braindead level of stupidity that its predecessor accomplished. Many have praised the production values and while I can agree with that, I think the filmmakers just did a good job at covering up their low budget, making this sequel feel grander than it probably was. The cinematography and editing were startlingly good and the locations were grimy and oppressive. The tone was more consistent too. “I Spit on Your Grave (2010)” went from being disturbing to silly, but “I Spit on Your Grave 2” is always disturbing. Finally, the gore effects were practically flawless and the director doesn’t just show us violence, he makes us FEEL the violence. When a character literally has his balls in a vice…let’s just say it was a very BALLSY move on the directors part to actually show it. On an objective level, there wasn’t much wrong with “I Spit on Your Grave 2”. The problem comes down to content…but in a way that’s much different than most of its ilk. Does 90 minutes of rape and torture appeal to you? Because outside of that, “I Spit on Your Grave 2” doesn’t have anything else going for it.
“I Spit on Your Grave 2” is relentlessly depressing. I shit you not, every scene in that ENTIRE fucking movie is intended to make you uncomfortable. If you’re not witnessing a girl being raped and degraded or one of the rapists being tortured, then it’s just an awkward interaction between various characters. Not even counting the rapists, Katie cannot sustain a normal conversation with anyone. She doesn’t take the experts advice very well, she is rude to the Priest, the detective thinks she’s on drugs so she doesn’t get along with him very well…I know that there is a context for all of this, but it’s just not very fun to watch. Now you’re probably thinking: “Since when were rape movies fun to watch?”. That’s true, but it keeps me consistently disinterested. When it comes to the violence, you can only watch so much psychological or physical torture before the shock value begins to wear off. Best case scenario, you begin to feel guilty for watching it. Worst case scenario, you begin to fall asleep. I guess I felt a little bit of both. Part of me was wondering if the target audience was sexual deviants in the making, as it seemed like “I Spit on Your Grave 2” relished more in the rape than the revenge. I decided that wasn’t fair, as that’s like saying slashers are for serial killers, which would make me a serial killer. But also, I knew what this movie was going to be about. So I put it in the DVD player knowing that the female body and identity were about to be exploited in an incredibly misogynistic way. I felt a little guilty for doing so and those feelings were intensified when the violence picked up even more. But after awhile, I just got used to it and I found myself becoming drowsy. I looked at the DVD player clock. Shit, I had enough 30 minutes to go? DAMMIT. At least it wasn’t as boring as “The Human Centipede II“.
As for the leading lady, Jemma Dallender is convincing when she’s being strong willed, casual or frightened, but she lost me during her more crazy scenes. Sometimes, her yelling did provide a laugh from me. But even worse, her character wasn’t very well written. The heroines of the previous two films were actually much more engaging, even as they descended into madness. They had distinct personalities and the audience would make an attachment to them. Here, she’s just sort of bland. Even worse, something about her interactions with people even before the rape scene just made her kind of unlikeable. When she begins enacting her revenge, she develops this tendency to throw back biting lines used by her rapists right back at them. That shit got old quickly. In fact, part of the reason I became bored is “I Spit on Your Grave 2” keeps repeating itself. She gets raped, beaten, humiliated and tortured. But once she escapes and plans on getting revenge, here is what happens. One of her attackers sees her, chases after her, walks into her trap and is overpowered. She proceeds to hurt them while saying the same shit that they said to her. It just goes on and on and….*snores*. Also, as I alluded to earlier, the filmmakers seemed more interested in abusing its heroine than it is in making her tormenters suffer. At times, I found myself wondering if the filmmakers were getting a sick thrill out of it. Or if we were supposed to be getting a sick thrill out of it. I usually prefer the ‘revenge’ part of the ‘rape and revenge’ formula over the actual rape.
So once again, “I spit on Your Grave 2” is probably superior to “I Spit on Your Grave”, but do you know what? It’s my least favorite of the three films. The original had a certain artistry that is sorely lacking here. It had a frightening atmosphere which balanced intensity and tragedy incredibly well, despite its flaws. Even the remake had more to it. The “Saw” inspirations were dumb, but I will concede that once it got past the rape, it was still kind of entertaining. “I Spit on Your Grave 2” is too mean spirited to be entertaining. lt is disturbing, but it’s more interesting in shocking its viewers than it is on building atmosphere or suspense. Therefore, once you become numb to the violence, it will start to lose your interest because that’s really all it has going for it. After it’s over, you want to take a shower. Yes, that’s the point, so it’s not that I thought “I Spit on Your Grave 2” sucked. I just don’t want to see 90 minutes of gratuitous rape and torture. I disliked the content, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s traditionally bad.
Violence: HAAAARD R. This movie is brutal.
Nudity: Lots of it, but unless rape is appealing to you, it’s not sexy.
Overall: Watch “I Spit on Your Grave 2” if you liked the previous one and want a darker version of it, but know what you’re getting into. This was really not my cup of tea.