Whenever the subject of Women In Horror comes to mind, Jennifer Hills is usually one of the first badasses I think about. She is a perfect example of a strong female protagonist in horror. The I Spit On Your Grave films provide a lot of controversy, even in the horror community. However, the films are some of the best revenge flicks the horror genre has to offer. So, which I Spit On Your Grave film is the superior version?
Let’s start with the main protagonists, Jennifer Hills. I personally love both of these portrayals, but for different reasons. Camille Keaton portrayed her character in a fun, charismatic light. Sarah Butler brought a shy, introverted writer trait to her role. When it comes to their revenge scenes, those personalities changed drastically! They really lost themselves in their characters, and their performances are impeccable! It’s impossible to choose a winner because they were so different, and they both are completely badass!
As for antagonists Andy, Stanley, Johnny Matthew, and (remake) sheriff Storch, it’s impossible to choose the most despicable of the bunch. They all treated Jennifer as an object that they could do whatever they wanted to, and they all deserved their comeuppance. In the remake, one big difference is the fact that each person had their own distinct personalities. You knew more about the characters and the way their specific traits and quirks were used against them. This made for much better storytelling.
Now we come to the controversial subject that steers people away from these films… the assault scenes. Many times, I’ve heard complaints that the I Spit On Your Grave movies “glorify” rape, and that these films are going to encourage men to go out and assault women. The only thing I’ll say is that films don’t make people do a damn thing. I’ve said it many times and I’ll say it again – MOVIES AREN’T RESPONSIBLE FOR OUR ACTIONS!
When it comes to these horrific scenes, the remake gets the edge for toning down the brutality of the scenes themselves.
Now that we have the controversial subject out of the way, it’s time to focus on the best parts of the films – the lead women’s revenge! It’s very interesting to note the different ways that these two exact their revenge. Camille Keaton’s Jennifer used seduction to lure the men into a false sense of security before killing each one. Sarah Butler’s Jennifer used a different approach. She manipulated the men and made them think someone else was messing with them, and used that misdirection to maneuver around her assaulters.
When it comes to revenge, a straight trade is the best way to go. For this reason, I have to say this is why the remake is superior. Simply put, Butler’s Jennifer turns each sin against the sinner! Everything her assaulters did to her, she did right back to them. Andy dunks her head in water repeatedly, so she dunks his head in a bathtub full of lye. Matthew choked her while he raped her, so she strangled him right back. Stanley liked to watch everything, so she had his eyes plucked out. The I Spit On Your Grave remake is the perfect revenge film, in my opinion.
Now, it’s time to talk about the impact. The original I Spit On Your Grave was released in 1978 and wasn’t well received in the slightest. It was garnered as nothing more than “vile garbage” or “torture porn with no merit.” The remake was released in 2010, when extreme horror and genre remakes were on the rise. Yet, this version of the film didn’t receive any better reviews. However, in the horror community, fans recognize what the films represent. When it comes to the overall statement that they made upon release, you just can’t beat the original. Although it didn’t show its all too real message in a way that audiences favored, the film definitely got its point across and opened people’s eyes. By execution, however, the remake actually improved upon the original. I personally love both films, but if I had to choose, I prefer the remake. It handled a touchy subject in somewhat more subtle way. I love the music and the more specific revenge plots. So, which film did you prefer? Let us know in the comments!