I Spit on Your Grave III

I was surprised as the film concluded I had more to think about than anticipated. This doesn't follow the basic rape revenge formula of the first or second films in the series which used Day of the Woman (1978) as a template starting in 2010. The third film reacquaints us with Sarah Paxton's Jennifer, going by a new identity, Angela. She works in an office setting, is frustrated by a co-worker who offers friendship and wants nothing at all to do with him, and battles memories of her horrible rape. The film alternates between Jennifer speaking with a therapist and attending rape counseling sessions, meeting a tough cookie with a lot of mouth on her, Marla.

I have to say that I think Marla's early exit was a missed opportunity and the film's best work is when she is with Jennifer. Marla's grit and rage is compelling and Jennifer is actually the voice of reason and calm when the two get together at a bar after the counseling sessions. A father named Oscar who lost his daughter to suicide when her rapist escaped on a technicality and a teenager languishing in her home with a pedo stepdad and mother that won't stop him are members of the support group which galvanize Marla and Jennifer, inspiring them into action, taking matters into their own hands.

But Marla's life is vague and her death not all that elaborated. It seems she exists in the movie to just spark Jennifer into becoming a man-hating, rapist-annihilating serial killer. I think Marla--acidic, seemingly fierce, and volatile--brings a middle finger fury that recognizes what could result from scumbags forcing themselves on others who just say no. Jennifer follows Marla to the sexually abusive father of Cassie and they wind up accosting him in a parking garage...well, Marla does while Jennifer stays her hand towards killing him. Once Marla is out of the picture, Jennifer becomes far worse.

Obviously this kind of film serves as a catharsis. There's a scene where a bum begging for change gets a few kind bucks from Jennifer with him responding by talking about how nice her tits and ass are. Another guy never says a word while parked on a bench but his eyes strip Jennifer naked and she unnervingly feels it. The aforementioned co-worker never officially asks her out or comments lewdly towards her about hooking up, but all the same she seems to reacts as if he makes her skin crawl just approaching and talking to her. A gang of foul droogs surround Jennifer while she jogs and posit sleazy remarks further enhancing the screaming disgust towards the male race already rotting her to the core. Even the police detective for SVU seems incapable of bringing rapists to justice as Jennifer takes him to task for failing every time. Someone on the IMDb message board for the film felt this was "anti-man". I can't remember one man in the entire film except Oscar (who was obsessed with the loss of his daughter and rapist escape of justice) and the SVU cop who doesn't come off as totally reprehensible or looking to sexually objectify the opposite sex. Jennifer is encouraged by every man she meets, justified to feel as she does, and her outrage through violence worthy of celebration.

Admittedly seeing rapists obliterated has a cathartic sense of justice to it. Rapists get off all the time and the courts seem neutered by technicalities, lack of evidence, and lawyer manipulation. The movies have a way of offering an audience harboring the fantasy of seeing revenge towards scum meted out in the worst possible ways. This film has a female therapist and somewhat later a homicide detective addressing the vengeance Jennifer has reaped on rapists which does her no favors. In an orange jumpsuit Jennifer doesn't shake from her dark place, unwavering in her stance that what she did was justified.

The film has Jennifer deteriorating until reality slips. Stabbing two inmates and her therapist at the end, not just men are imagined as victims worthy of destruction but her own. I wondered what the point was but I guess if you cross the lady, regardless of gender, dead to rites you are. Still the film kind of has Jennifer grappling with normalcy at the beginning, hoping to find therapy with the group, tasting the sweet thrill of frightening a predator with influence from another victim looking to satisfy a craving for getting even with what has caused her such pain, awakening the savage lurking inside which immobilizes her to carve a swath of rapist murder that brings the cops at her, and ultimately willing to slice and dice any man or woman she is bothered by. The end has her mind beholden to killing 'em all. She dresses in a tight-fitted red dress and packs a butcher knife, looking to kill guys who might have purposely or inadvertently offended her. Not rapists, just guys that erked her with the wrong comments or approach towards her. Do-gooders she imagines choking or stabbing in the throat with a scalpel. No help can exist it seems to rectify what those fucking monsters did to her and this Jennifer is totally jazzed with sharing her headspace with the dark passenger.

The violence includes sodomy through lubricated thick metal pipe, fellatio castrating, and taser to the crotch and neck. A stepdad pedo with the pipe sledgehammered up his ass, the muscled gym bruiser taking a stab to the throat and taser to the dick, and the blowjob from hell that leaves the victim crawling in anguish before being chopped into oblivion are tasty treats for rape revenge fans. Go crazy. But pervs expecting Sarah to face humiliation at the levels of Hess-ian Last House will be disappointed. She's almost always at advantage, only placing herself in harm's way once when the roid creep punches her, knocking her to the ground, and ripping away her clothes. Sarah does dress as a school girl to entice the stepdad pedo and squeezes her desirable frame into that hugging red dress to lure guys that repelled her towards their doom...so she is sexualized. So there's that dichotomy of a message quite schizo. It might be all over the place and could easily polarize, but this film is anything but afraid to go for the jugular!