Many and more years ago, I saw a screening of the original I Spit on Your Grave at the Alamo Drafthouse, hosted by my personal movie review hero, Joe Bob Briggs. It was one of the original 35mm prints that got passed from town to town because there wasn’t a budget to make enough for simultaneous wide release of most movies, in those days, and especially for drive-in features such as this. One historical artifact of this distribution method is that individual localities would decide to censor the print at various points of which they did not approve; I remember that his live commentary was thrown for a loop when an entire scene he intended to dissect was missing.
The problem, of course, is that I thought I had this as a review, but apparently it was from earlier days, and maybe exists on Livejournal or even Opendiary instead; in any event, it is to be considered unfindable for my sad purposes, and that is a pity because I intended my review of the 2010 remake to be largely comparative, instead of needing to stand on its own. Nevertheless, here we are, and I must persevere.
In short, then, a young woman on her own in a rural town (this time: to write a book; I don’t remember why in the original) is stalked by a group of men on the flimsiest of pretexts, raped repeatedly, and here the stories diverge: a) in 1978, left senseless in the woods, b) in 2010 accidentally escaped into a river before the men could kill her, criminal science (and not incidentally, rape prosecutions in general) having improved in the intervening 30 years. Then, after a little time has passed, she enacts her bloody revenge.
I’m not sure what the problem with the remake actually is. Maybe simply that it’s a remake, and this is a thing I’ve seen before? Maybe something fundamental was missing instead, I don’t know. The impetus for her revenge felt no less horrific, but the revenge itself was hollow and meaningless in a way I did not feel about the original movie: visceral and gut-wrenching, but also entirely earned and effective. This time, like I said, it felt like she was just going through the motions, doing what was expected of her. So maybe it’s just the remake part after all. Especially because the last 10 minutes, involving a new character with a family to fear for that did not exist in the original became immediately gripping and tense again.
In the unlikely event that you want to watch this movie, the first one is better, I guess is most of what I’m trying to say.
 Not to imply that a pretext is required; quite the opposite, in fact, and one thing I appreciate about the whole thing is how intentionally senseless it is.
 Original: four townies, one of them mentally deficient and almost sympathetic as a result; remake: ditto, plus an older man smart enough to leave fewer things to chance than the original four.