I Spit on Your Grave III: Vengeance Is Mine
Jennifer Hills is still tormented by the brutal sexual assault she endured years ago. She's changed identities and cities, reluctantly joining a support group where she begins to piece together a new life.
November 29, 2015
Sarah Butler as: Jennifer Hills/ Angela
Jennifer Landon as: Marla
Doug McKeon as: Oscar
Gabriel Hogan as: Detective McDylan
Harley Jane Kozak as: Therapist
Morgan Raich as: Cassie
Jennifer Hills (a returning Sarah Butler from the remake/ first installment in this trilogy) is tormented by the brutal rape that occurred to her some years ago. She distrusts men greatly and is in therapy. To help her escape her past she has changed her name to Angela and moved to a different city. She has a new office job and reluctantly joins a rape support group. In this group she befriends a beautiful, tough, and take no B.S. fellow rape victim named Marla (Jennifer Landon). Marla shares many of her views on that fact that rapists need to be punished to the fullest degree. In fact, she even takes “Angela” with her as she tries to scare a man to stop him from raping his fiancé’s daughter Cassie (Morgan Raich). Cassie is in the support group where she tells the horrible and heartbreaking story of this sicko who keeps sexually assaulting her while her mother does nothing to stop him.
As such, “Angela” and Marla end up connecting and forming a real friendship. One day, though, “Angela” returns to the group to find out that Marla has been raped and murdered. The suspect is her ex, who was the one who raped Marla in the first place. When the system fails; he is let go. “Angela” proceeds to confront Detective McDylan (Gabriel Hogan) who is investigating the case. She soon sees that the only way to teach Marla’s murder a lesson is to take just matters into her own hands. This eventually leads to her taking out other rapist scumbags who hurt her friends. The cops are closing in, but can she be stopped?
It’s very hard to believe that as notorious as it is I Spit on Your Grave has become a franchise. Regardless, I Spit on Your Grave III: Vengeance Is Mine is a rather entertaining. I like the way the movie opens up and starts. I love how we see Jen in therapy. I also enjoyed how she has to psychologically deal with the leering looks and sexist comments of men. It reminds me of Abel Ferrera’s rape revenge masterpiece Ms. 45, something that would be compounded even more in my mind as this movie leads towards its climax.
Another thing I’ve very much enjoyed was the editing. I liked how it cut from flashback to present and back or even how it cut from one scene to the next. It helps to build tension and is aided by solid camerawork.
In what is a first for this series, there is some humor. Most, if not, all of it, revolves around the character of Marla. Despite being something this series has never done before, the humor works quite well. It doesn’t seem to come off as forced or feel stupid. In fact, it adds lightheartedness, a bit of reality, and in the long run, levity when Marla gets killed. It helps us to like Marla a lot and thus miss her when she’s taken away from us.
Once this movie goes into its’ “revenge mode” it switches and becomes an unmercifully deep experience. This works well as the movie has clearly been building up to this point. What’s interesting is that for a franchise so very notorious for featuring savage and graphic rape scenes, its rape scene occurs off camera. In fact, is it never shown but only mentioned or talked about. The actual violence put upon the scum of this movie ranks as some of the most graphic in the entire series.
Another thing I enjoyed is the way the plot progresses and story unfolds. It’s done in a very entertaining and well-done manner that pulls you in, grabs, and maintains your interest. Unfortunately, not all of the storytelling devices work. The fantasy revenge scenes that play out in Angela/Jennifer’s head become quite annoying by about the third one. And by the end, they are unfortunately completely and utterly tiresome.
The gore is excellent and for the most part very realistic. The castration scene is the most graphic and horrific dick chopping scene that any I Spit on Your Grave movie has ever done. And that is saying a lot! Even this hardened and seasoned viewer was genuinely shocked by the depictions of violent revenge in this movie.
I honestly never would have expected this movie to be this good. After all, it is hard to maintain quality after the third, or fourth if you count the original, movie. Unfortunately, its quality is hurt by a rather ridiculous ending. It is one that feels like it was thrown in there for pointless shock value. On top of that it seems like writer Daniel Gilboy couldn’t come up with a satisfactory way to wrap it all up. It stems from a climax that while throwing me off a bit, does feel like it makes sense character and plot wise. Sadly, the ending, one of those did it happen or not, comes off as thoroughly annoying and feels worse the more you think about it.
A large plus for the film is the magnificent acting. Everyone, including the supporting cast, gives out great performances. As Marla, Jennifer Landon is great. She is the most fun character that this series has ever seen. Another excellent performance is given by Doug McKeon as Oscar, a father distraught by the death of his daughter. She committed suicide after her rapist was let go. There is a magnificent scene where Oscar confronts Detective McDylan. It’s a short moment, but an emotional, realistic, and so very excellently acted one that adds a lot of heart to the proceedings. McKeon is just so wonderful in his role that he adds a lot of gravitas and emotional weight. It’s impossible not to feel for his character.
Of course, Sarah Butler is phenomenal in her lead role in this film. I think she is given more to play with here than she was in the first movie. In terms of story and the range of emotions that she has to go through; it appears that was given lots of freedom. As such, Butler shines and gives what might be her breakthrough performance of her career, thus far.
I Spit on Your Grave III: Vengeance Is Mine is, for the most part, a very solid entry. It’s well-crafted and exceptionally acted. Sadly, the ending is an enormous and highly disappointing resolution to an otherwise excellent movie. As I watched this film, it almost felt like it would end up being great, but instead it is just merely good. In the end, this is the weakest entry in the series, thus far. Still, I still definitely recommend you view it. I just warn you to be prepared to be fully disappointed by the ending.