The third entry in the I Spit On Your Grave franchise follows Angela, or as we know her, Jennifer Hills (Sarah Butler). Despite changing her name, moving to a new city and joining a support group, Jennifer is still haunted by her violent past. She soon meets a like-minded woman, Marla, who inspires a completely new revenge frenzy.
Ignoring the second film which followed a different woman and plot, I Spit On Your Grave 3 chooses to go back to Jennifer and her story from the first film. She is not raped or attacked in this one, however, and chooses to dish out justice on behalf of the women who refuse to do so themselves. This decision works well and gives the film an opportunity to be a little different and delve more in to the emotional core at the centre of the storyline. This time we hear the dreadful acts rather than witness them, so the film has to imply and describe the violence rather than explicitly show it. This, again, deviates the film from the ones that preceded it, showing that there can be more to rape-revenge than, well, rape-revenge. The initial story is as important as the savagery that comes after, and that is a bold decision that should be credited. Here, the literal brutality is saved solely for the men.
I Spit On Your Grave 3 is one of those rare films that starts terribly, but manages to gain a certain level of watchability as it goes on. The film begins in quite an infuriating manner as it paints the majority of men as sex-obsessed, selfish, violent assholes. They line the streets to gape and gawp at Jennifer, telling her she’s sexy and trying to get her in to bed. In one scene, Jennifer hands some cash to a homeless person and even he comments on her great ass. It is relentless and over-the-top in its negative presentation of men and, as a woman, even I found it quite ridiculous. All of this, of course, is supposed to make us understand why she goes on another manic killing spree; these guys deserve it, right? Of course they do, but the film would have benefited from a less harsh and more subtle display of male arrogance and misogyny.
At about the half hour mark I stopped hating the film and began to embrace its story. There’s a great shift in the narrative – which I didn’t see coming – which gives a few other characters a chance to escape their, until now, two-dimensional status. The group therapy sessions allow us to get to know these victims of abuse and help the audience get on-board with Jennifer’s imminent bloody trail of revenge. We are introduced to Detective McDylan who becomes Jennifer’s reluctant guardian angel and tries to prevent her from making too many mistakes – good luck with that, Detective. He is her voice of reason and someone who understands her plight, but urges her to take the high road. Many of the film’s scenes pit the two against each other, whether it be metaphorically at either end of the table or literally as they clash opinions.
You probably aren’t watching I Spit on Your Grave 3 for its emotional storyline, you just want to see a woman kick some ass in a gruesome, bloody and violent manner. In that respect, this delivers. There is a ton of violent cinema for you to get your teeth in to nowadays and I’m sure many of you will believe you’ve seen it all. However, I believe there is one particularly gross-out moment here that is unlike anything you’ve ever seen. It will make you gasp, especially if you’re a man. Jennifer is definitely not a woman to be reckoned with and there is a certain amount of enjoyment to be had as she wreaks havoc on the men who truly deserve it.
I Spit On Your Grave is far from a great film, but as a silly piece of violent escapism you could do far worse. It does not reach the levels of layered cinema it so desires to reach; it is far less effective from the original I Spit On Your Grave and even the remake. Yet, there is something about the film that deserves to be applauded as it attempts to be more than just simple revenge porn. It’s a vicious and entertaining roller-coaster ride, with one hell of an ending.
Words: Jessy Williams (@JessyCritical)