I Spit on Your Grave (2010)

Rating: Zero Stars

“I Spit on Your Grave” is a horror film that is sickening, sadistic, cynical, disgusting, depressing, revolting, maddening, dirty, empty, and eternally worthless. This is one of the most deplorable things I have ever seen so far in my life. And I’m not just talking about the movies.

Let’s get this over with. A novelist by the name of Jennifer Hills decides to spend some time alone in a cabin in the woods. Five wicked men, along with their mentally retarded “pet”, stalk her. She is later verbally abused, beaten up, humiliated, and raped. The men don’t feel the need to hurry as they take turns in imposing their evil upon Jennifer. While one of them rapes her, the others assault her with spiteful words or actions. Sometimes both. She manages to escape. She disappears for awhile. When she returns to the screen, she captures and tortures each of her punishers until they are dead. When the last of them perishes from a shotgun blast, Jennifer releases a cold, faint smile, and the movie ends.

Filled with grief, disbelief and contempt, I glared at the screen. Who would do such a thing? How dare its makers use the art form that is film for something like this? While viewing it, I could not help myself but be curious of the actors. Why did Sarah Butler, the girl who played Jennifer, agreed to be here? What did her friends and family thought of her decision? Did they support her? To the five men, how did they feel about themselves? What was the relationship of the actors during cuts?

The film’s first half is a freak show showing us the seemingly endless suffering of Jennifer in an attempt to gather our sympathy. It works, but it gets there through completely miserable methods. What is both perplexing and infuriating is how the movie continually spits on Jennifer until she becomes an object of our sympathy, and then suddenly turns her into this instrument of pain that is devoid of conscience and emotions. Can rape do that to a person? Maybe. Can it invoke the act of vengeance? Maybe. But will it solve the problem? Hm.

Another hateful thing about “I Spit on Your Grave” is that it suggests a controversial topic regarding “justified vengeance“ then abandons the possible consequences to it once it has finished what it sets out to do. Does the death of the five men end Jennifer’s problems? What if these men have equally evil relatives and friends, and start to look for her? Now things are even worse. The movie never considers any further possibilities because it is persuaded that what it’s got so far can generate enough, uhm, entertainment.

Violence has a place in the movies. I do not dismiss it when it is done well and with the right reasons. “Saving Private Ryan” and “City of God”, to name a couple. “I Spit on Your Grave” uses violence in its cheapest and most unnecessary form because it is meaningless, prolonged, and exploitive.

I will never fully understand this, but there is an audience for this film. Some of them will be men who just want their girlfriend to hold their hand tight while he covers her eyes with his shoulder. Today, they can be excused. The rest, on the other hand, will be people who sincerely experience pleasure at the sight of human suffering labeled as “entertainment”, and nothing else. They smile and cheer as they look up at the screen the same way the five men smile and cheer as they look down upon poor Jennifer.

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I Spit on Your Grave (2010)