Sunday, October 9, 2016

Film Review: I Spit on Your Grave 2 (2013)

I Spit on Your Grave 2 (Review)
United States/2013
Format Viewed For Review: Starz
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No
*A 31 Days of Halloween Special Review

"The film is lacking in character, atmosphere, and suspense."

Katie (Jemma Dallender), an aspiring model, accepts an offer to have new photos taken for her portfolio for free, which leads her into a tailspin of violence...

I Spit on Your Grave 2 is a very formulaic film. By this, I mean: the film follows the exact same formula as the remake. In fact, I would argue this is a remake of a remake! The story follows Katie, a young woman with hopes of making it big as a model. She accepts an offer to have new photos taken for her portfolio, but it doesn't turn out great. Eventually, she's attacked, then she's kidnapped and shipped to Bulgaria. I don't think I'm spoiling anything by stating the obvious, so: she escapes her captors and exacts her revenge. That's it. That's all there is to say about the 'story.' It leads to a bloody climax, sure, but it doesn't leave an impression.

I Spit on Your Grave 2 fixes some of the issues from remake. It makes Katie a bit more competent than Jennifer Hills. She's still conveniently gullible, but she's not a klutz. In turn, this makes Katie's revenge a bit more believable. Unfortunately, the film still refuses to develop its characters. Worst of all, most of the suspense has miraculously vanished! The first film, despite its flaws, had some incredibly suspenseful and unnerving scenes thanks to its use of buildup. I Spit on Your Grave 2 has none of that. It doesn't take time to slowly weaken Katie through a meticulous confrontation. She's beaten and raped, then she's shipped off. Nothing more, nothing less.

Surprisingly, this film doesn't even leave an impression through its depictions of violence. You'd think the filmmakers would want to up the ante and outdo the previous movie. Sure, there are some very violent scenes here, but it never tops the original film. I know I sound insane saying this, but: give me more violence! But, really, there wasn't a single scene that made me feel uneasy or disturbed. Okay, maybe one scene towards the end, but the rest was really lackluster. And, without any suspense, it never truly hits you. Visuals can be frightening, but it needs more. And, finally, it's tiring to hear the same dialogue during the second half of these films. Katie sounds like an annoying kid repeating everything you say.

The acting was also disappointing. Jemma Dallender isn't bad, but she never really nails the performance – she's either a bit over or under. It's like someone told her screeching was the same as conviction and passion. The supporting cast isn't bad, but there really isn't any conviction them either. The film looks okay and the music was decent, at least. The film was written by Neil Elman and Thomas H. Fenton. Steven R. Monroe returns to direct. The writing was disappointing due to the lack of character and the constant retreading. Considering this is practically a remake of the remake, I'm surprised this film had two writers. Monroe is also disappointing. He crafted some very suspenseful scenes in the remake; here, we have an uninspired splatter horror film.

Overall, I Spit On Your Grave 2 is a medicore film. It's violent and it's disgusting, but it does not leave an impression. The film is lacking in character, atmosphere, and suspense. It even fails to match the first film's gory visuals, so, if you're a splatter fan, even you'll be disappointed. If it's available on one of your streaming services, catch it there. I wouldn't pay for it, though.

Score: 4/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and gore, nudity and sex.

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