Horror, 108 Minutes, 2010
This is not a movie for a first date… or a third for that matter. Or, in fact, any week were you might want to actually have sex… on second thought make that any month. This is a remake of the controversial 1978 classic horror movie of the same name [IMDB]. Often mislabeled an exploitation film the original was anything but sexual. (While I’m sadly sure that some people must enjoy this kind of brutality it was clearly not the intention of the film to cater to that audience.)
This was not as rakingly raw as the original but attitudes have evolved (or least we hope they have) in the past thirty years and this remake delivers the same gut-wrenching belly-punch. Overall this is an extremely simple plot of revenge fantasy but for revenge this visceral to be accepted the violation suffered must be extreme.
Jennifer has rented a cabin in the woods to work on her novel. While there she is brutally gang-raped. The sheer degeneracy and graphicness of the attack is absolutely shocking and sitting through it takes a strong stomach. Absolutely no holds are barred and no quarter given either to Jennifer or the audience. There is no hint of qualification given; absolutely no way for even the most sexist troglodyte to justify the assault.
This is, of course, the point. As we witness the dark violence of Jennifer’s retribution on these men nothing she does, no matter how twisted, seems enough. They deserve everything and anything that she could inflict upon them and more. The cathartic release is only tempered by the fact that nothing can ever truly even the score. Much of modern horror (as epitomized by the “Saw” and “Final Destination” franchises) ends up being nothing more than poorly staged torture porn with, at best, weak motivation.
This ups the ante considerably by presenting a deeply human atrocity that’s not only possible, but a terrifying reality for many women. This is a deeply disturbing but also deeply effective movie. It’s going to very difficult, if not unwatchable, for some people but that speaks to how uncompromising it really is more than anything else.