Utter the title, ‘I Spit On Your Grave’, and it will undoubtedly rouse polarising and vehemently placed opinions from the hypothetical room of film buffs that I’m imagining.  This year, the 1978 rape revenge cult-classic, and its 2010 remake were given a sequel in the form of I Spit On Your Grave 2 courtesy of director Steven R Monroe. With graphic sexual violence and arguably more brutality than the first two instalments, I Spit On Your Grave 2 offers an interesting tale for a female protagonist – something that is sadly lacking in today’s horror/thriller genre.

Movie Ramblings were lucky enough to catch up with the star of the sequel, Jemma Dallender,  to chat about her most challenging role to date.

 

MR: How did you end up working on I Spit On Your Grave 2 – what drew you to playing such a tough role?

Well, initially my agent mentioned that she had an audition for me, and as soon as she said the role contained full frontal nudity, I was like, ‘No way! Not for me at all’- but she persuaded me to head along to the audition anyway and as I got into the process I realised I loved the character and the controversy of the film. It was a role I could get my teeth into and as an actress I’m always looking for new challenges. Also, as you get to know the plot and the sentiment of the film, you realise why there are such graphic scenes, violence, nudity- it makes sense, it’s not in there just for pure shock factor. I of course watched the original film, and the 2010 remake and I loved the idea and the controversy surrounding this kind of role.

 

MR: So you think that the audience has to see the character, Katie, pushed to the brink – that it gives reasoning for her behaviour so that you’re rooting for her when she exacts her revenge?

Exactly. She’s made to feel so small, and treated so mercilessly. They [the male characters who kidnap Katie] reduce the character to nothing and she kind of loses her humanity in all ways possible- in order to get to that stage of the film you need to see the graphic and intense stuff she experiences.

I Spit On Your Grave 2, Set Photography - Day14

MR: Your character goes through a major ordeal to say the least, but she ends up being pretty badass by the end- Do you have a favourite revenge scene?

It has to be the way she gets Ivan [let’s just say it involves a vice certain parts of the male anatomy]. It was so disgusting, but ended up being quite funny to film too… The prosthetics were too big so it had to be changed, and refitted so we had a laugh at that. Although I think Joe [Absalom] was quite uncomfortable by the end, laying there strapped to a table, half naked all day. I felt kind of guilty to be honest so saying I enjoyed them is a bit mean, and an overstatement. The guys felt so bad during their rape and torture scenes, and I was like, ‘it’s fine, we’re only acting’, and they said, ‘wait ‘til you have to do the mean stuff’, and they were right I felt awful! But the vice scene…It’s just the ultimate revenge a female character can get and I’m sure probably the worst scene for any man to watch…

 

MR: I guess it was important to be able to have a laugh on set as the subject matter was so intense- did you have any other techniques to deal with the intensity of the role?

To be honest, most of the time I would avoid having a laugh and a chat on set so that I could stay in character. I had to be in a really deep and dark place and I find it hard to find that place and then switch between that and happy when the cameras aren’t rolling. I stayed pretty sombre whilst on set. But off-set of course we had a laugh and all got on really well.

 

MR: You mentioned you watched the original 1978 I Spit On Your Grave and the 2010 remake; did you feel under any pressure following up these infamous female leads with the sequel?

No, not pressure really. I don’t think it’s good to place too much pressure on yourself when tackling a role and this is an entirely new film in its own right so I wasn’t trying to recreate something. Of course I watched them, and they are great- they made me interested in the role. I just tried to make it my own and put my own spin on the character. This instalment in comparison with the other two is a lot more brutal and intense so I was ready for the controversy. People are always going to have an opinion about films like this but I think that’s good- weather they like it or not. It’s better to provoke a reaction, rather than making a film that nobody wants to talk about.

 

MR: Do you think the film could be described as a ‘feminist’ horror due to taking back control in an otherwise male dominated cast and wreaking rape-revenge?

I definitely think it’s a feminist film- strong female lead roles- lead roles in general are few and far between nowadays, particularly in horror. There is definitely a sense of empowerment. Katie is tough and pulls through, even physically and we don’t see that often in film so it was a really refreshing and challenging role to take on.

 

MR: Are you a horror film fan?

This may surprise you, but I’m actually quite squeamish- so the blood, guts and gore isn’t really my thing. It wouldn’t be my first choice to watch something like that. But I do like psychological thrillers, and horrors and supernatural stuff too- like, ‘The Conjuring’, I saw that recently. That’s the kind of horror that would keep me awake at night…

 

I Spit On Your Grave 2 is released on DVD/Blu-ray on October 7

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.

  • Edward Buchanan

    This is a great interview – Jemma Dallender is fantastic in I Spit On Your Grave 2. I laughed at what she said about the vice scene – ouch!