Whenever someone asks to me rattle off a list of my favorite horror films, it’s a rather difficult task. I can’t really pinpoint a ‘Top Five’ or even ‘Top 10’ films that I can say are better than any other five, 10, or even 100. Sure, there are films that I absolutely love, films that I can watch over and over again without losing interest in one bit. One of those films is Rob Zombie’s masterpiece, The Devil’s Rejects. Another one of the films that sticks out in my mind is Steven Monroe’s 2010 remake, I Spit on Your Grave. To me, that film is flawless and I get excited every time I have the opportunity to introduce it to a new, budding horror film fan.
When the announcement came for a sequel in 2013, I was ecstatic. I almost couldn’t contain myself at the thought of Monroe bringing another fantastic film into fruition. When the film was finally released, however, I was actually kind of disappointed. Overall, it was a good film, but a lot of the things I loved about the first installment were absent. I was heartbroken. How could Monroe and his team of writers, performers, etc. let me down like this!? Overly dramatic rants aside, I got used to just dismissing the sequel as a spin-off that I’d rather not compare to the original. Then 2015 happened. A new installment in the series was announced and this time, the powers that be decided to pretty much ignore ISoYG2 all together and bring back the ever-lovely Sarah Butler to the mix, returning to her role as Jennifer Hills… err ‘Angela.’
Jennifer Hills has taken up a new identity in a new hometown in hopes of starting a new life, one where she can forget her traumatic experience from years prior and move on. With some coaxing by her therapist, she is convinced to join a support group in order to better open up. In doing so, Jennifer, now known as Angela, meets Marla — another rape/assault victim who frequents the support meetings in hopes of getting some type of closure from her past. Marla, however, decides it’s best to take justice into her own hands and brings ‘Angela’ along for the ride. Even though Angela performed her own form of vengeance years earlier, she is against what Marla is trying to do. That is, until Marla is found assaulted and murdered by the very ex-boyfriend she was trying to stay away from. This sends Jennifer/Angela [back] over the edge and this time, there is no coming back…
I Spit on Your Grave 3: Vengeance is Mine is the sequel that I’ve been waiting for since the 2010 film was released. Everything that was offered by Monroe the first time around is presented here in a magnified state. Director R.D. Braunstein, who is new to the franchise, has taken the story from the original and the overall violence and upped the ante quite a bit.
Sarah Butler’s return to the series is a wonderful thing. I absolutely loved her in 2010 and this time around is no different. Her character has evolved, naturally, and it is easy to tell that she is much more unstable now, years after she brutally murdered the five men that attacked her. This is where some fans may have a hard time with the film. A lot of ISoYG3 focuses on Jennifer’s way of dealing with her haunting memories. She fantasizes quite often about savagely attacking almost every man who crosses her path. The fantasy scenes are quick and to the point, only lasting a few moments, but they are brutal as all Hell. The only problem, if you can call it that, is that they aren’t actually happening.
The kills that do actually occur, however, are outrageous! The entire franchise is known for its brutality and explicit kills, but Braunstein and co. really decided they had to step things up a notch. All horror fans, at this point, have seen a film or two that features some kind of genital mutilation. Whether your experiences are limited to Hostel II or even the original Day of the Woman, a penis being harmed in any way is always hard to watch. I Spit on Your Grave III takes ‘hard to watch’ and throws it out the window. The first ‘real’ kill of this film is one of the most brutal things I have ever seen in my 15 plus years of watching horror. I couldn’t believe it when I saw it, so I had to replay it multiple times… it is vile and disturbing and I loved it.
All of the kills are executed with practical effects, which makes this film that much better in my book. Every time a horror flick can pull off outrageous on-screen violence without CGI, I appreciate the Hell out of it. The effects and kills are magnificent, the writing is great, and the acting is outstanding. As much as I love Sarah Butler, I think I have to give the ‘best performance’ award to Jennifer Landon this time around. Her portrayal as the loud-mouth, don’t-give-a-sh*t Marla is one of the best performances I’ve seen in a long time. She had me laughing and flinching all at the same time.
While the writing may seem a bit out there at times, like writer Daniel Gilboy was trying to do a little too much, it’s all perfectly fitting, when I sit back and process the film in its entirety. If you’re a fan of the series like I am, you will definitely appreciate this entry. I highly recommend it to anyone who loves gory kills and beautiful effects. Be sure to purchase a copy on Blu-ray, DVD, or VOD, available October 20 from Anchor Bay Entertainment.
I give I Spit on Your Grave III: Vengeance is Mine 4.5 lead pipes out of 5.