Saturday, November 21, 2015

I Spit on Your Grave III: Vengeance is Mine - Review

I Spit on Your Grave III: Vengeance is Mine (2015) **
D: R.D. Braunstein
C: Sarah Butler, Jennifer Landon, Gabriel Hogan, Harley Jane Kozak, Michelle Hurd, Russell Charles Pitts, Megan Raich, Karen Strassman, Andrew Dits, Adam Dunnells, Christopher Hoffman

Plot Synopsis: After seeking out the help of a support group after her attack, a young woman decides to take the law into her own hands. She begins to dish out her own brand of justice to the people who abused her fellow group members.

Review: After spawning four films, it's obvious that the I Spit on Your Grave franchise has not only managed to gain a cult following, but that they've been successful from a financial standpoint as well. Otherwise, they wouldn't continue to make them, right? 

Despite being routinely dismissed by critics, every entry has stuck to the same formula. A female character is raped by a group of man who then attempt to kill her. Said female character survives the repeated rapes and attempts on her life so that she can dish out her own brand of violent justice. In terms of story & plot narrative, that's all there was to these films. Not only was this formula simplistic, it was downright reprehensible. 

This sequel, to the 2010 remake, adds a bit more context into the proceedings. We follow the heroine of the remake as she relocates to the city under an alias. She joins a support group in an attempt to go straight as she finds the line between fantasy & reality blurring in regards to her predisposition to violence. It's there that she finds a friend. The two of them bond not only because they've have been sexually traumatized, but because they share in these fantasies of dishing out violent justice. Soon enough, our heroine finds herself acting out the violence that she daydreams about after her friend is killed by an ex-boyfriend who walks away scot-free. 

To give credit where it's due, the film has moments. For example, after our heroine has killed everyone that's sexually traumatized those around her, she approaches a friendly co-worker in a sexually suggestive manner. This co-worker offers to take our leading lady home, saying that she's drunk. However, after embarking upon this path of violent justice, the heroine only sees men as rapist that deserved to be killed. It's a well observed moment.

Also thrown into the mix is Harley Jane Kozak as a psychologist. Kozak and Butler share some dialogue that has a ring of truth to it. In a clever bit of casting, Michelle Hurd stars as a police detective who investigates the various sexually related attacks instigated by our heroine. If you remember, Hurd was part of the original cast lineup for Law & Order: SUV. The scenes that Hurd shares with Sarah Butler have dramatic tension and provide for an unexpected way for this sequel to connect with the events that took place in the 2010 remake.

However, I Spit on your Grave III gets bogged down by trying to incorporate the formula film-making approach of the earlier films. There's the ending. It's obvious that the ending has something to say, yet that message will go over most people's heads as the violence of this scene is presented in a gratuitous way. Or, there's a scene in which a pipe is shoved into the nether regions of a rapist. Did we actually need to see this scenario unfold? Less is more, in terms of effectiveness, when it comes to violence.

I Spit on Your Grave III tries to have it both ways. It gives fans the graphic violence that they've come to expect, yet it tries to be something more then a exploitation pic in an effort to please critics. There's just one problem. This is bound to please no one. Critics are going to dismiss it, because of the unnecessary violence and fans aren't going to appreciate that this entry deviates away from the formula. I Spit on Your Grave III wants to be everything to everyone, instead of being something to someone. [R] 92 minutes.

AKA: I Spit on Your Grave 3
AKA: I Spit on Your Grave: Vengeance is Mine

Reviews for Additional Films in this Series:

I Spit on Your Grave (1978)
Savage Vengeance [AKA: I Spit on Your Grave 2 (1993)]
I Spit on Your Grave (2010)
I Spit on Your Grave 2 (2013)

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