I Spit on Your Grave 3 review by Matt Fuerst


I've written numerous times over the years about my changing tastes in movies. When I was a younger man, I really expected my tastes were fairly set in stone, but as I've gotten older I've gotten far wimpier in my movie tastes. I remember a pre-teenaged Matt standing in a video store (back when those were real things) saying "I am going to watch all these taboo horror movies when I grow up!".

One memory probably common amongst any person that walked through the horror section of a video store in the late 80's or early 90's would be the cover of I Spit on Your Grave, also known by the less salacious name of Day of the Woman. The semi naked lady on the cover and big bold font assured me something completely terrible was captured on the tape inside the rental box, and I was eager to find out just what exactly that was.

Well, the opportunity presented itself, and I eventually saw the original 1978 film. Over the course of the past 2 decades, the Internet also happened, granting us websites such as Rotten.com and LiveLeak, the likes of which have dulled peoples senses to real atrocities. By the time I saw the original I Spit on Your Grave, my interest in darker fictional films was already trailing off, but I figured I needed to fulfill my childhood curiosity. It frankly was a pretty dirty experience; I found myself fast forwarding through most of the violence aimed at our female protagonist that sets the stage. I will argue until I am blue in the face about how pro-female the horror genre in (the women are consistently the smartest characters in the films, they generally survive and come out on top, exacting revenge against the perpetrators) but sometimes, getting to that reward is a painful experience. A bit too painful for me to put myself through on a regular basis.

Well, I think we can all agree that I Spit on Your Grave is, if nothing else, quite a provocative title. Why let sleeping dogs lie, and in 2010, the film was effectively remade. Meir Zarchi, the writer/director of the 1978 film, served as the executive producer of the 2010 reboot, and writer Stuart Morse used the same rough structure of the original film for the reboot. Jennifer Hills is a writer, who travels to the rural south to write the great American novel. Hillbillies kidnap and rape Jennifer. Jennifer decides to take action in her own hands, and viciously murders all of the assholes that assaulted her. The film, like the synopsis, keeps it simple, stupid.

The 2010 remake was successful enough to inspire a sequel, which was titled, you guessed it! I Spit on Your Grave 2. (Don't get too cocky, it was the obvious answer.) To be honest, I got a copy of the DVD, but I haven't even bothered to watch it yet. I understand the story is pretty much exactly the same, but they simply changed the locale around a little bit. But the structure is exactly the same. A bunch of dudes are assholes, and get what is coming to them.

So one might ask, "You actually skipped I Spit on Your Grave 2, but watched I Spit on Your Grave 3?". Yep. Why is that? Well, drugs. Drugs is the answer.

Ok, just kidding about the drugs part. Actually, the producers tried something novel with I Spit on Your Grave 3. Instead of telling the same story for just a 4th time (counting the 1978 original) they literally wrote a new script! Crazy talk!

So I Spit on Your Grave 3 actually picks up with Jennifer, the protagonist from I Spit on Your Grave (2010 remake), having changed her name to Angela, trying to deal with the fallout from her ordeal. Angela now has a "shitty" cubicle job, visits with a therapist regularly and is attending rape survivor group meetings. At group therapy, Angela quickly makes friends with Marla, a fellow rape survivor that is the "live wire" in group therapy sessions. At the risk of pointing out the obvious, it seems fair to say that our writer Daniel Gilboy started with a photocopy of the Marla group therapy scenes from Fight Club (all hail actress Helena Bonham Carter!) as the starting point for all the group therapy scenes in ISoYG3 (I immediately regret making that acronym, it's more of a pain than typing out the full title, but I'm committed now).

Marla immediately begins daydreaming aloud in group therapy that maybe healing together isn't enough, maybe it's time to finally start exacting some justice, or is it revenge, on the perpetrators of these crimes. Marla and Angela decide to scare the rapist/father of a fellow group victim, and are thrilled by the release it immediately gives them. Their exhilaration only grows when the victim returns to therapy to say her step dad has finally stopped his attacks.

Marla is officially "on tilt" however, she yearns for more justice and is determined to bring Angela along for the ride. Unfortunately, Marla finds herself drawn back in to the web of a former abuser, and ends up dead. Angela is immediately paralyzed in fear and anger, and ends up deciding to go whole hog in exacting vengeance for the many wrongs she sees around her.

With Marla's demise, the movie returns to the tried and true formula shared by the second half of all of the I Spit on Your Grace films. Marla dispatches with evil dudes in various appropriately terrible ways. Mens genitalia is mutilated, a guy gets a very large steel pipe deposited in his ass and Angela even manages to get a police office to shoot and kill a guy when her attack on him goes pear shaped. This is the sort of payoff we need after watching the "good guys and gals" suffer for too long.

The film tries a few twists and turns in the end, which I'll admit I appreciated. If nothing else, it provided one last fun punctuation mark of violence, though it wasn't probably wholly necessary to consider the film complete. I'll have to admit, in spite of my apprehensions, I Spit on Your Grace 3 is a pretty solid entry in the revenge horror genre. Bringing back Jennifer, nee Angela, from the first film is a fun idea, and I'm glad Sarah Butler decided to take another swing at the I Spit on Your Grave series. Ms. Butler does an excellent job here, her struggles with daily life seem palpable and when she goes in to Revenge Anglea mode she's fairly cunning and decisive.

ISoYG3 is a rape revenge movie where no actual rapes take place on camera in the film. I'll have to admit, your wimpy old reviewer didn't mind that much at all. Instead, we establish the story by watching the people trying to pick up the pieces after such an atrocity. Within the wrappings up a relatively gory horror movie and an establish series, I find that a pretty daring decision. And one that I was glad I got to experience.

8 out of 10 Jackasses
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