A writer is brutally raped by four men in a remote cabin. She escapes and seeks revenge.
Directed by – Steven R. Monroe
Written by – Stuart Morse, Jeffrey Reddick
Starring – Sarah Butler, Daniel Franzese, Chad Lindberg, Tracey Walter, Jeff Branson, Rodney Eastman, Andrew Howard, Saxon Sharbino, Mollie Milligan
This is a very, very hard film to review. First off, I didn’t like it. Now, it’s not that the film is stupid (although it has a few moments) or boring or badly done. In fact the film is actually well done. The acting is very good, the effects are very realistic and the movie delivers on all the hype that may be going around about it. There’s the precise reason that I didn’t like it. What’s the point to making a film like this? The rape scene is brutal, extremely hard to watch, and the torment of the men is equally as brutal although somehow justified by their previous actions. I just can’t find the point behind it all. I actually feel the same about the original as well so it has nothing to do with the fact that it’s a remake. Before I go into a long post about my feelings towards it, check out the intro with director Steven R. Monroe.
Let me try to cover the film and its high and low points first before I get into any personal opinions. Obviously, it’s brutal. I don’t think anyone was expecting anything else. If you aren’t interested in watching rape in films than just skip this one. The fact that it’s so disturbing says a lot about the actors in the film. Sarah Butler does such a convincing job during her brutal attack that it’s almost unbearable to watch at one point. The men of the film are disgusting. There’s no question that these guys are the sickest of sick individuals. Even the character of Matthew (Chad Lindberg), a mentally challenged man, gets no sympathy. Now it’s been a while since I watched the original film but I remember the character of Matthew being a little less brutal. He’s still kind of forced into the attack by his friends but here it seems like it takes less to get him to do it.
There’s also a cop introduced, Sheriff Storch (Andrew Howard) who takes part in the attack. I don’t recall there being a cop involved in the original but I could be mistaken. The sheriff winds up being the most vile of the group because we’re shown his wife and daughter as he comes home from the attack to kiss them on the head and play the happy dad. It instantly makes him that much more disgusting.
Now the performances are well done but I can’t say the same for the storyline. There’s very little set-up at the beginning. Jennifer rolls into town, picks up the keys to her cabin, meets the group of men at a gas station and blows one of them off. Then there’s some shots of her at the cabin and a conversation between the men when one of them shows a video he took of her through her window in her underwear. It’s maybe 15 minutes or so and then the men show up at her cabin and begin tormenting her. After what seems like forever she manages to escape. There’s another 15 minutes or so of the men trying to locate her body, destroying the evidence and just going on with their lives. That’s when Jennifer begins to show up again, giving the men some obvious clues that she’s still out there. We’re then treated (if you could say that) to her acts of revenge against the men for the rest of the film.
The biggest problem there is that it’s a month later when she returns to get revenge. That means she survived completely naked in the woods for a month. Of course when she shows up again she’s managed to find clothes that fit her perfectly and I guess she’s become a great hunter since she hasn’t died of starvation. I don’t know where she got the clothes from and obviously the filmmaker doesn’t care either because there’s never a clear answer as to where they came from. Maybe the guys didn’t destroy all her luggage or something, I don’t know. The film is all about the kills and brutality anyway right? There’s another moment at the end of the film involving the sheriff’s family that really bothered me but I won’t reveal it. It was something that someone asked about in the Q&A so if you don’t want to know I suggest skipping the videos below.
There you have it for the film. It’s very brutal and lives up to its hype. The kills are gruesome and creative but the plot is spotty and it seems like the focus was obviously on the violence in the film. It’s very hard to watch but I’m sure that’s what people are expecting. The acting is well done and the film will make you squirm. One of my friends was sitting towards the back of the theater and told me after that a woman sitting near here was crying through the rape scene so my friend asked if she’d like to leave the theater and they waited outside until that scene was over. You could tell that this part of the film was affecting people. Someone may or may not have passed out during the movie as well. I’m not sure if they actually passed out from the movie or had tripped and fell on the stairs but at some point during the film people were calling for a doctor and people had to rush to the balcony to help someone. The hype is there and it’s all true.
This all leads to my thoughts on the film. To me, the film seems like a giant cash grab. Someone buys the rights to a very controversial film and remakes it to be even more brutal. The recent onslaught of films that are trying to ride the wave of extreme violence surely had a role in this film being made. Business is business I guess and I’m pretty sure everyone will be making money off this film. I don’t like it and I don’t think people should watch it but I can’t deny that it is a well made film even if I almost walked out on it. I don’t want to personally ruin the film for anyone and I warn you that it is spoiled in the Q&A but there was a moment at the end of the film where there is a very strong suggestion that something will happen that would have been truly despicable. I was expecting it to happen actually because the logical line of thinking leads to it. All I could think was that this would be the defining moment of the film. If what I was expecting had happened I would have trashed this film, thankfully it didn’t turn out that way. I can’t help but think that it was deliberate on the filmmakers part though and even the thought of it happening pushed the film over the edge for me.
Personally I think the film is disgusting. I see no point in making a film about a woman who gets raped and then commits brutal attacks on the men who assaulted her. There’s no message to the movie, no serious point to be made. The film is strictly an attempt to shock and disturb and in that it’s successful. I will probably not see the film again unless someone I know is really interested in watching it. I wouldn’t get people to watch it and I’m pretty sure I won’t be spending what little cash I have for movies on this one. By the end of the film it’s hard to decide who the bad guy is. Rape is disgusting and to portray it on the screen is something I would never do. Does it justify the very, very graphic torture that the men receive in the film though? I find it very hard to feel bad for Jennifer in the film when what she does to the men is equally as bad as what they did to her. The only difference is that her acts are powered by a motive while the men are just sick bastards to begin with.
In the end this is not a movie I would recommend. It’s a well made film but I don’t personally think that its a film that should even be out there. People are going to see it though because of all the hype surrounding it. This is probably the hardest review I’ve ever had on The Film Reel. It really pushed my ability to its limit. I wasn’t sure I could separate my personal feelings from the film and give it an honest review based on the film itself but I think I managed to do just that. If you can get through the subject matter I think you’ll enjoy the film. It has it’s problems but I think that the films purpose is to take part in the torture porn genre that has become so popular and any problems with plot are forgiven in exchange for its violence. Just know that if you think the film is going to be hard to watch, I can almost assure you that it actually winds up being harder than that. Everybody that I spoke to after the film had been affected by it. It made them uncomfortable or they just hated it. The people I was with all needed a stiff drink after sitting through the film. It’s a rough one to get through but if you’re prepared for that then check it out. I won’t be watching this one again anytime soon.
I had to break the Q&A up into 3 parts and it’s the third part that contains the spoiler about the end of the film. I think that’s the only real spoiler about the movie in the Q&A and it’s the very last question of the evening so it should be safe to watch all the rest of the videos without spoiling anything about the film. It speaks about a part of the film that wasn’t part of the original so even if you’ve seen the film be warned that the last video will have information that is new to the film.
Under the marquee – Will