The original I Spit On Your Grave was one of the most controversial horror films of the late 70s and early 80s. Originally shot and released with no success as Day Of The Woman, Meir Zarchi’s film was retitled, given a sensational ad campaign and the rest is history. It spawned a host of imitators, an “unofficial” sequel, Savage Vengeance and a remake with two sequels of its own. But the original didn’t have a sequel. Now I Spit On Your Grave: Deja Vu corrects that. Writer/director Zarchi and star Camille Keaton re-unite and update the story to the present.
Jennifer Hills (Camille Keaton, What Have You Done to Solange? Raw Force) survived her ordeal in the first film and is now a best selling author. She also has a daughter Christy (Jamie Bernadette, 4/20 Massacre, Killing Joan).
The past comes back to haunt her when they’re kidnapped by Becky (Maria Olsen, Marrtown, Krampus Origins), the widow of one of her attackers and her two sons. It seems several of attackers blame her for what happened. After nearly being hung by Herman (Jim Tavaré, Tales of Frankenstein) the equally handicapped father of Mathew Jennifer gets free. But she and Christy have been separated and they’re in very hostile territory.
I Spit On Your Grave: Deja Vu was actually finished several years ago and is only now finally getting released. I’m not sure what the hold up was but I do have a couple of theories. One is the length, the film clocks in at two and a half hours. Very few films need that kind of running time, and this isn’t one of them. It never gets boring, but there’s plenty of scenes that should have been shorter. And a few that could have been cut entirely.
Secondly, the villains here frequently lack the believable menace of the original. At times they’re so over the top it really kills the mood. Jonathan Peacy as Kevin is particularly bad with his overacting. Not getting a handle on this hurts the film badly.
There’s considerably less rape in I Spit On Your Grave: Deja Vu than in the original, but it’s still nasty and unpleasant. Jamie Bernadette deserves a lot of credit for her performance here. Maria Olsen also deserves mention as Becky. She really commits to it and is frightening even when given less than stellar support from the script. There is plenty of revenge including, of course, a castration. There’s also a shooting that’s wince-inducing for a different reason.
Despite its faults, I Spit On Your Grave: Deja Vu is still worth a watch for fans of the original or those into the rape/revenge subgenre. Despite the length and inconsistent writing it still delivers a fair few shocks. But, after waiting forty years I certainly expected better.