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Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Review: I Spit On Your Grave Deja Vu

Director: Meir Zarchi
Screenplay: Meir Zarchi
Year: 2019

Synopsis: "I Spit On Your Grave: Deja Vu" sends the now successful writer Jennifer Hills back where it all began, and having to face the families of those she murdered. Kidnapped along with her daughter, a tense game of hunt or be hunted starts against a lethal gang of degenerates overseen by a violent and unstable matriarch.

The rape/revenge subgenre has never and will never be among my favorites. No matter where you live in the world, rape is a recurring topic and the long-term damage this type of act leaves on its victims is atrocious. Because of this, this is the subgenre that most affects and makes me feel uncomfortable in horror movies.

In this subgenre "The Last House On The Left" in 1972 and "I Spit On Your Grave" in 1978 are arguably the most recognized and controversial. “I Spit On Your Grave” was even banned in several countries because of its content. Even with this it still enjoyed vast popularity, which ended up in a remake in 2010 and two sequels to the remake. This time it is the own writer and director from the 1978 version Meir Zarchi who retakes these positions to create a direct sequel to this movie.

In this sequel, Jennifer Hills, interpreted by Camille Keaton, who also interpreted this character in the 1978 version, has become a successful writer. Among the books she has written, the most recent is about the events that took place about 40 years ago, where she was a victim of sexual assault and her subsequent revenge, Now, family members of the men that raped her and that she later killed kidnaps her and her daughter to have their revenge.

Maybe the most important plot hole is why do these people waited so long to have their revenge. Of course, earlier revenge would not have allowed to have Jennifer’s daughter in the story or use the Deja Vu premise, but this is the elephant in the room. Going back to the Deja Vu premise, this is the strategy that Zarchi uses to tell a story that is very similar to that of the 1978 version without it being a remake.

In "I Spit On Your Grave: Deja Vu" it is Jennifer’s daughter, Christy, who has to go through a Calvary similar to the one her mother endured. As it is expected, she also has her bloody vengeance. The premise is very similar to that of the 1978 version, and even the group of assailants have similarities, particularly one of the members being mentally handicapped, but being the one with the highest moral standards of all. The obligatory rape scene takes place, but in a way less uncomfortable way that in the previous version, as well as the castration of one of the attackers.

The main problem of this movie comes from the editing. First, it has a runtime of around two and a half hours, which will drive off plenty of people and is really not necessary. There are scenes that are desperately long, and they would have benefited from less runtime. Similarly, there are full scenes that could have been taken out without affecting the plot at all and could easily reduce about 30 minutes of its duration. Another problem is that, while the acting, especially that from Jamie Bernadette ("The 6th Friend") as Christy, are fairly good, others come as too exaggerated. In particular, the acting of Jonathan Peacy ("Purple Thoughts") as Kevin is so exaggerated that it is hard to bear.

"I Spit On Your Grave: Deja Vu" is a sequel that works more as a higher quality remake of the previous version. While it did not lose my interest or the tension, it is way too long. Even though it is entertaining, the acting from the protagonist and antagonist are good and it manages to be uncomfortable and graphic in a lot of parts. Fans from the rape/revenge subgenre will surely enjoy this movie, especially those that enjoyed the previous version.

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