An unnecessary sequel to the misguided 2010 remake of the controversial 1978 cult classic, I Spit on Your Grave 2 is being hawked as a female revenge tale, one in which the victim of gruesome sexual violence doles out retribution to her assailants and enablers. On the most facile of levels, it is what it’s sold as. Midwestern beauty and aspiring model Katie (Jenna Dallender) is a waitress in a New York diner, looking to get some new headshots when she has the grave misfortune of getting caught in the crosshairs of a trio of sadistic Bulgarian brothers passing themselves off as photographers. After attacking her in her apartment, they ship her to Bulgaria (don’t ask), where she falls into the clutches of an even crueler fiend who favors electricity in his sexual torture sessions. Left for dead, Katie falls in with a kindly priest who, in giving her the Bible to read for comfort, inadvertently provides her with a blueprint for vengeance in what is an unforced (and likely unintentional) bit of commentary on religion and its violent uses. Filled with righteous rage, Katie sets out to exact a chillingly symmetrical retribution. Director Steven R. Monroe depicts sexual violence as just that—he pulls no punches and his camera doesn’t eroticize the assaults, and the male body is rendered as vulnerable and exposed as the female form. Still, the film ultimately plays less as female empowerment than it does a narrative in which the comeuppance doled out is likely to be received as a digestif for those in the audience who got off on the gendered violence in the first place. It’s still pitched to the most animalistic, unsavory aspects of our being.
Steven R. MonroeJemma Dallender, Joe Absolom, Yavor Baharov, Aleksandar Aleksiev, Mary StockleyNeil Elman, Thomas FentonLisa Hansen, Paul HertzbergAnchor Bay Entertainment