As the world we live in grows scarier with each day, it seems that Hollywood has taken it upon itself to lessen the fright of society by taking some of the scariest films ever made, and remaking them into mindless, weak little thrillers.
Perhaps still reeling from the backlash of having recreated Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho shot-for-shot (a move which left non-die-hard fans uneasy and bored), Hollywood has embraced the new trend of reinventing certain horror classics entirely.
Such is the case with Steven R. Monroe’s revamp of the 1978 controversial rape revenge film, I Spit On Your Grave – but in Monroe’s case, newer isn’t always better.
Why Monroe ever set out to remake the shockingly brutal film is somewhat of a mystery – here is a horror film that set a new benchmark for on-screen violence and vulgarity while, at the same time, remained utterly simplistic in terms of its soundtrack and cinematography. The gritty, realistic, fly-on-the-wall feel to the original, which was first released as Day of the Woman, was a key factor in what made the film absolutely terrifying: this type of violence can happen to anyone.
In Monroe’s reincarnation, however, the viewer never doubts for a moment that he or she is watching a large-budget major motion picture; a work of fiction, if you will. Perhaps it was Monroe’s earlier role as a cameraman that drove his desire to present the story of Jennifer Hills, a young novelist brutally gang raped by four men as she summered in a remote cabin, in a more technically appealing light. Whatever his motivation, Monroe’s concept of Hills as a woman out for violent revenge falls flat.
Key transitional scenes included in the original film were altogether cast aside in the film’s revamp, including the ever-important scenes of self-reflection that speak volumes on the emotional and physical aftermath of what Hills is forced to endure. Monroe tries a little too hard to take the film to a ‘slasher movie’ level by not allowing the viewer to experience Hills’ methodical preparations for her revenge plot.
The additional layers Monroe adds to the film’s storyline are ultimately weak attempts to balance out the lessening of the film’s shock value – attempts that fall quite flat. For those who have not had the vastly unsettling experience of viewing the original Spit, Monroe’s remake is a decent horror film worth a couple of hours of your life. Those who have, however, will be happy to find that, with this version, they won’t have to pause it and come back to it hours after collecting themselves.