Netflix didn’t much effort into its Netflix and Chills this year. Among the small handful of new horror releases added in October, Netflix didn’t just include the I Spit On Your Grave remake – they also added its 2013 sequel. Yes, a sequel to a remake that no one wanted to a movie from a sub-genre long past its expiry date. How bad could it be?
Small-town mid-western girl and aspiring model Katie Carter is struggling to make it in New York City. Strapped for cash but desperate to build her portfolio, Katie books a session with an independent photographer. When the photographer and his brother turn out to be unscrupulous amateurs, Katie backs out of the session. But it’s too late. The brothers have her address and later break into her apartment where they brutally assault her. Abducted, tortured, and left for dead, Katie somehow survives her ordeal. Now she’s going to turn the tables on her attackers.
I Spit On Your Grave 2 an Unnecessary Sequel Bankrupt on Ideas
Meir Zarchi’s 1978 I Spit On Your Grave more or less acquired its cult status through pure shock value. You’d be hard-pressed to argue his rape-revenge exploitation movie was a masterpiece of film-making. Look no further than Zarchi’s belated follow-up, I Spit On Your Grave: Deja Vu, for proof of the lack of craftsmanship. In contrast, the I Spit On Your Grave, though totally unnecessary, at least benefited from improved production values and some basic movie-making. Of course, none of this made the remake any less necessary. But it obviously did well enough to justify this sequel. Even less necessary than the remake, I Spit On Your Grave 2 is lazy sequel-making at its finest (or, more accurately, worst).
…not only is I Spit On Your Grave 2 vile and unnecessary, it’s also boring.
Essentially, I Spit On Your Grave 2 is exactly the same movie as the first one. Attractive, naive young woman attracts the attention of sleazy two-dimensional villains. Following an unnecessarily long and brutal assault, the victim somehow survives and then extracts an equally brutal revenge. That’s it. Forget subtext or social commentary. No effort has been put into the sequel to distinguish it in any significant way. Oh, there’s a new actress, new setting, and new villains but that’s the extent of creative input on display. Yet director Steven R Monroe (who directed the remake) seems to think he has something in the sequel justifying a nearly two-hour runtime. As a result, not only is I Spit On Your Grave 2 vile and unnecessary, it’s also boring.
Vile, Ugly, and Pointless Violence Re-Affirms Why This Sub-Genre Needs to Go Away
Complain about Saw and Hostel all you want. At least James Wan and Eli Roth’s movies had some suspense and, in the latter’s case, a little dark humour to offset the gruesome violence. There was a method to their madness. In contrast, I Spit On Your Grave 2 is nearly two hours of mean-spirited, ugly violence. Like the original movie and its remake, the sequel’s rape sequence and torture is excessive – it goes on for a good 20 minutes or so. There’s no point to it other than to appeal to the lowest common denominator. This time around, Monroe manages to find even more debasing ways to humiliate his protagonist. Arguably, the justification for these protracted scenes is for the catharsis of the third act’s revenge pieces. Ultimately, it’s a weak rationalization for a sub-genre that needs to go away.
Generic, Interchangeable Villains Play on Xenophobic Fears
Monroe’s I Spit On Your Grave remake played on metropolitan fear and mistrust of rural folks. To up the xenophobic quotient for the sequel, Monroe took a page out of Eli Roth’s book. Hence, the sequel introduces us to its Eastern European villains, inevitably transporting the story to Bulgaria. Not that it matters. You’ll be hard-pressed to remember the names of any of the sequel’s depraved villains. They’re dull, interchangeable characters who are just there to do bad things and later serve as cannon fodder. If I Spit On Your Grave 2 has any positives, it’s probably Jemma Dallender. Though she’s not giving an Oscar-winning performance as Katie, she manages a likable, sympathetic performance.
I Spit On Your Grave 2 Defines ‘Unnecessary Sequel’
I Spit on Your Grave 2 is a bad movie. But it’s not just bad – it’s unimaginative, unnecessary, and ugly. Based on its limited theatrical run and poor box office, you’d assume that this would be the end of the series. Yet almost as an act of defiance, a straight-to-video sequel followed and then Zarchi himself made a direct sequel to his 1978 original movie. If watching someone rub fecal matter into a character’s wounds to start an infection is your thing, you may enjoy I Spit On Your Grave 2. Everyone else beware. You’ve been warned.