The closing film for Sunday night at Frightfest was met with disdain and distaste from much of the crowd. The rape revenge cult classic I Spit On Your Grave is bound to stir some strong and opinionated feelings thanks to its graphic and sexual violence –it’s a crowd divider hence its notoriety- however, this time round many were expressing cynicism and aversion towards not just the content but also Director Steven R Monroe and his reasoning for creating a sequel to his 2010 remake of the 1978 classic.

I Spit On Your Grave 2 was essentially the same plot as the first only reworked and given a little 2013-style update – instead of wanting to be a writer our leading lady is now looking for a shortcut into the world of modelling- but I’m not really sure a sequel was needed. Perhaps Monroe decided to cleverly cash in on the franchise knowing that the mere mention of the title creates huge reactions, and we all know the horror genre is filled with prequels, sequels and second parts of films that really need no more explanation.

I Spit On Your Grave 2, Set Photography - Day14Midwestern model Katie (British actress Jemma Dallender) is struggling in New York.  Needing a new portfolio, she answers a small ad, which offers her a free modelling session, but backs out mid-shoot when sleazeball photographer Ivan (Joe Absalom, from EastEnders) asks her to take her top off.  Georgy (Yavor Baharov), Ivan’s slightly simple brother, shows up at Katie’s apartment to give her the non-nudie photos, but ends up returning in the dead of night eventually raping her and killing an interfering neighbour.

This leads to Katie being drugged and dragged off to a basement. After more abuse she escapes to find she’s in Bulgaria, all seems great, until the seeking-help-from-the-wrong-person manoeuvre that’s been a genre cliché since The Texas Chain Saw Massacre rears its annoying head. A suspicious and unhelpful cop hands her over to a woman (Mary Stockley) who says she’s from a rape crisis centre but is actually one of the sex trafficking gang. Could Katie’s luck get any worse?

However, of course, there is no need for me to give a spoiler warning here as you can probably gather our heroine finally manages to escape, regroup and track down all the baddies and avenge herself in gory ways that mirror her own torturous experiences. Joe Absalom’s explicit vice to genitals scene is particularly eye watering.

Although this franchise process is kind of transparent, the film still delivers, if cheesy nods to the audience [Katie leaves a bible open on the page, ‘Vengeance shall be mine’] and mindless gore are what you’re after. With the Eastern European slant it kind of feels like the audience were getting to see what would have happened if Liam Neeson hadn’t found his daughter in sex-trafficking thriller, Taken and she somehow escaped and became a vindictive temptress reaping revenge across Bulgaria.

The thing is, as it’s a sequel we kind of know from the outset that she will indeed get her revenge, which for me kind of ruined any potential for suspense or sympathy for Katie. We knew she’d escape, we knew she’d get the baddies because its essentially the same as the original, and the remake – just with another set of loathsome guys and a badass girl winning against the odds. But I guess there is always some enjoyment in seeing revenge played out in the most brutal of ways- at least that way you don’t feel as bad for enjoying the gore.

 

About The Author

Emily Stockham

Emily is from South London and has a degree in English Literature. Emily is a marketing assistant who writes about films and music in her spare time. Horror and grindhouse are her thing - although she will happily watch anything if it means a trip to the cinema.