Sunday, 16 June 2019

I Spit on Your Grave: Deja Vu ☆☆☆☆☆

In 1978, one of the most controversial films of all-time was released. I Spit On Your Grave, or Day of the Woman was an exploitation film written, directed and produced by Meir Zarchi. The plot involved Jennifer Hills (Camille Keaton), a young woman on a summer vacation in a lakeside cabin when a group of men brutally sexually assault her and leave her for dead. Hills has her revenge, killing each of them in horrific ways. Noted for its depiction of extreme violence, the film was labelled by critic Roger Ebert as “a vile bag of garbage” and made Time magazine’s Top 10 Ridiculously Violent Movies list. The film spawned a remake trilogy, but now, 40 years since its original release, has spawned a sequel of its own. This is I Spit On Your Grave: Déjà Vu. And it’s every bit as shit as you can imagine.

Writer/director Meir Zarchi returns – along with original star Camille Keaton – for this bloated, overlong and generally abysmal piece of shit. Clocking in at 148 minutes, the film clearly wants to be epic in scope and hoped to be a historic release – the film’s marketing materials even label it “the most anticipated sequel of all time”. According to who? Nobody asked for this. Sure, the first film is a cult piece and it is definitely iconic – but for all the wrong reasons. I don’t think there is anybody out there who can defend the film, or consider themselves a fan of it. Sure, there are elements of the films having its heart in the right place – the original title has a clear feminist slant and the premise of the victim exacting brutal revenge on her attackers is certainly something to cheer about, but the execution is nasty and the on-screen violence is harrowing. It’s not a remotely pleasant watch and has absolutely nothing about it that is worth celebrating – so why the f**k would anybody want to revisit these characters?

This sequel’s plot is pretty simple. Forty years after a brutal attack for which she exacted her revenge, Jennifer Hills (Keaton) is hurtled back to where it all began to face the wrath of the families of those she murdered. Kidnapped along with her daughter, a game of hunt-or-be-hunted plays out against a lethal gang of degenerates overseen by the violently unhinged matriarch Maria Olsen, the widowed wife of one of Hills’ victims. Of course, buckets and buckets of fake blood are sprayed everywhere as we, the audience, must endure 2 and a half hours of self-indulgent violence and atrocious B-movie filmmaking that has no place in 2019. The film has that nasty low quality of a 70s exploitation film but it simply doesn’t work anymore – the polished and clean visuals alone make the abysmal quality all the more jarring. 

This horrendously low quality across the board never seemed quite so bad when it was shot on 16mm but now, on digital, it just goes to show that absolutely anybody can make a film now. The whole thing feels so cheap and poorly performed, written and edited that it’s a genuine embarrassment. It feels fan-made more than professional and made by fans that have never made a film before. But this wasn’t one of those so-bad-its-good efforts. I didn’t laugh once. I was just disgusted by this brutal and cheaply made film that so passionately celebrated the original disgusting film. The trailer of Déjà Vu alone is so filled with admiration for the original ‘classic’ that it’s hard to take it seriously. 

I am honestly disgusted by this. It’s everything that is wrong with the film. As if the original film and the remakes weren’t bad enough, this 148-minute sequel reeks of desperation and self-adulation and it is just a bloody embarrassing and uncomfortable watch. Absolutely nobody in it can act, the ‘special effects’ look like they costed pennies, the whole thing just feels so forced and cheap and self-indulgent. I absolutely hated this film and would put it right there at the #1 spot in my worst films of the year list. It would take a hell of a lot to beat this. Offensive, embarrassing trash. Avoid at all costs.

Sam Love

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