Saturday, September 21, 2013

I Spit on Your Grave 2 Review

Rape revenge is a sub-genre that at one time I had a bit of trouble with. The act of rape is one that is unsettling for just about anyone I'd imagine, and I was no exception. Sure, I could watch decapitation all day long, and laugh all the while, but you put on Last House of the Left and I was queasy by the end. These days there's not a whole lot that gets to me that way anymore, and honestly it's kind of sad. I like it when a movie has some sort of effect on me.  I had a chance to check out the sequel to 2010's "I Spit On Your Grave" remake, and while it didn't necessarily make me wish I'd never been born, returning director Steven R. Monroe definitely came out swinging.

You basically know what kind of story you're getting with these films. A young woman is attacked by a group of men, barely survives, and comes back to get her revenge. I Spit on Your Grave 2 follows that basic formula, but does do a bit to set itself apart from the original and the remake, by doing it on a larger scale. Katie is an aspiring model, struggling to find work, when she's gets an offer to do a free photo shoot to add to her portfolio. She agrees, but doesn't go through with the shoot when she's asked to do nude photos. Later, at her apartment, she gets a visit from one of the guys, claiming he's just there to give her the photos that had been taken before she left. Things take a dark turn for the worse, and Katie is bound, gagged, and raped. Eventually, the other men from the studio arrive to clean up the mess, and they drug and kidnap her. She awakens naked, on a filthy mattress, handcuffed to a post in a dark Bulgaria, where she's forced to endure even more brutality, not only by the men from the photo shoot, but anyone willing to pay for time with her. Mercifully, she manages to escape, narrowly clinging to life and eventually returns to get her revenge.

I'm always rooting for the women in these kinds of movies when it comes down to revenge time, but people, I don't think I've ever wanted to see the attackers get their as bad as I did these fuckers. I suppose it's a testament to their respective performances as actors, but I absolutely hated these guys. That being said, the most important thing for a movie like this is for the audience to form some sort of attachment to the victim. To empathize with her as she is forced to endure whatever it is the movie has in store for her. In that regard, Grave 2 fell a little flat for me. Of course it was hard to watch what happened to Katie happen to any human being, but at the same time, holy shit was this woman stupid. Sorry, but what young, beautiful woman sitting on a bus in NY who gets a text from a random number offering to take pictures of her actually responds, let alone shows up for the shoot in this day and age? And that wasn't the only thing, but it's hard to talk about any more without spoiling some things. Jemma Dallender turns in a pretty damn good performance as Katie, it's just too bad the character was so fucking stupid.

Location isn't the only scale that Grave 2 improves upon from it's predecessor, the violence and brutality is also cranked up to 11. I remember saying after the initial rape that at least Katie didn't get it as bad as Jennifer did in the original. Then she came to in Bulgaria and I was shown just how wrong that statement was. She ends up not only physically broken, but mentally as well, and the movie doesn't shy away from any of it. Thankfully, when she finally gets her turn, she is equally as nasty, and almost every kill is oh, so satisfyingly brutal. With these two films now under his belt, I'd love to see Monroe get back to real creature features like "It Waits" and away from all the SyFy Originals crap he's been doing lately. The guy's obviously got some chops, I would love to see what he could do with a budget.

I Spit on Your Grave 2 isn't for the weak of stomach by any stretch of the imagination. It's got a mean streak, and parts of it will most likely be hard to watch for some. If you can endure Katie's torture though, the reward of watching her turn the tables is worth seeing through. An easy recommend for fan's of the 2010 remake of I Spit on Your Grave, and worth a look for anyone who will admit to being a fan of the rape revenge genre. I myself have another worthy addition to my annual Valentine's Day Rape Revenge Marathon tradition.

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