Most of the time the answer to the question “Why does this exist?” is very simple: money. Whether it be an adaptation of something that doesn’t need to be filmed, a sequel to a poorly received but financially successful movie, or a remake of a foreign film, the answer is the same. It’s all because the studios, producers, and filmmakers believe that they’ll have a better-than-not shot at making a profit. I open with this because I am honestly stumped when it comes to why I Spit on Your Grave 2 exists.
It can’t be because of money, can it? The first film, itself a remake of the 1978 film which is a cult film but not in the least bit respected anywhere else, barely got a theatrical release and didn’t make back its budget. DVD numbers are difficult to track down, but it can’t have sold that well, could it? How many people want to see a woman brutally beaten and raped for a half a film before then torturing her victims for the other half? Actually, you know what? I don’t want the answer to that question. If you like the original please don’t tell me.
I’ve basically just laid out the entire plot of almost all rape/revenge horror movies. This one is no different. A young aspiring model, Katie (Jemma Dallender), recently moved to New York in hopes of getting work. She sees a flier for free head shots, but disagrees that nudity should be required, and promptly leaves. One of the men winds up stalking her, eventually breaking into her apartment and proceeding to rape her. He’s the dumb one of the group, so he calls his brothers and asks what to do. They show up, kidnap her, and sneak her into Bulgaria. Seriously. I wager this was a financial decision. Maybe Bulgaria gives out some nice tax benefits.
In Bulgaria she’s raped and beaten some more, before eventually being buried alive. She eventually escapes, and after a brief period of healing, she tracks down anyone and everyone involved in her current circumstance and tortures them in ironic ways. One man used a Taser on her, so you can bet he’s getting that treatment back. One-liners that they said while performing these horrific acts are repeated, tauntingly, back at them during her revenge.
There’s quite literally nothing more to the film. That’s the entire plot. Bulgaria is not used as a setting so that the film can say something. Rape is not used as a metaphor for anything. The film exists because apparently there’s a market out there. A large enough amount of people get off to this sort of thing. This is a vile and disgusting film and I wish it was never made.
Getting past the film’s content is hard enough but if you do, you still have to sit through a predictable plot, a complete lack of anything resembling character or depth, lackluster acting, and … what else? I’ve already said there’s nothing to the film. It looks cheap, so there’s that, too. It was directed by Steven R. Monroe, the man who also directed the 2010 remake. What compels a film director to film something like this? What makes an actor think this is something worth appearing in? Right. Money. It always comes back to that, doesn’t it?
There’s lots of nastiness, and I suppose that’s what you come for, isn’t it? The rapes and beatings — both multiple, because tastefulness isn’t something that this film has going for it — are brutal and uncomfortable to watch. They should be. Don’t misunderstand: I’m not saying there should be rainbows and unicorns. But there’s nothing in the film that isn’t unpleasant. The revenge, I suppose, is supposed to be cathartic and justified but it’s just as nasty, just as unpleasant, and it’s impossible to feel anything other than that.
Is this because of the complete lack of characterization? Because our lead character is just this random model, and the villains are random Bulgarians, and nobody does anything that isn’t directly plot related? Perhaps, although these films are exploitation trash intended for a very specific audience who probably won’t care about silly things like strong characters, development, plot, acting, etc. I’m making an awful lot of assumptions, aren’t I?
Does the film have any merits? Jemma Dallender is decent when she’s playing the victim. She can scream with the best of them, I guess. As someone hell-bent on revenge, she’s less convincing. It’s cringe-worthy how unconvincing she is during this part of the film. I thought for a moment it was because of how emotionally scarred her character was supposed to be, but that’s not it. She just can’t play a vengeful character. But for the half the movie is good, although I doubt many people will notice.
Should you see I Spit on Your Grave 2? Did you like the first film (either the original or remake) and felt the desire to see essentially the exact same thing? Raise your hand in silence; I don’t want to hear from you. Go ahead and enjoy. This is a tasteless and pointless movie with less on its mind than that of a newt. It is disgusting and a terrible thing to watch. It looks cheap, it’s predictable, it has no “characters” to speak of, and I couldn’t find a single scene that is worth watching.