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I Spit On Your Grave: Deja vu
Directed by Meir Zarchi, the same man who created the original I Spit On Your Grave all the way back in 1978, I Spit On Your Grave Déjà vu catches up with Jennifer Hills (Camille Keaton, reprising her role from the first film) more than forty years after the events in that original picture. Jennifer has just finished working on her book and, in the years that have passed since the brutal sexual assault she went through years back, she's raised her daughter, Christina Hills (Jamie Bernadette), who works as a model.
The attention that the book release brings to Jennifer isn't necessarily positive, as soon she and Christy are abducted by a woman named Becky (Maria Olsen), Herman (Jim Tavare) and Kevin (Jonathan Peacy). Becky was, years ago, married to Johnny, one of the men who raped Jennifer and who she killed when she exacted her revenge. Herman and Kevin also have ties to those that Jennifer did away with way back when. Christy is brutally raped and, once that's over with, the movie turns into a revenge film similar to the original picture.
I Spit On Your Gave Déjà vu has some problems, not the least of which is the fact that this thing is literally two-hours-and-twenty-eight minutes long. There's no need for the running time on this film to be this bloated. The character development isn't deep enough to require this and the plot isn't dense enough to complex enough to need the amount of exposition that we wind up getting here. It winds up being a chore to get through the film simply because of the amount of bloat crammed into its arduous running time.
And that isn't the only issue. There are plot holes aplenty here that are hard to swallow, and the entire premise of the widow of one of Jennifer's victims (even going so far as to wear his outfit from the original movie!) trying to get revenge on the revenger is just odd. The film also can't be bothered to give us much of Jennifer's back story. We're just supposed to assume that there was no police involvement or criminal case surrounding what happened after the first movie? Instead she writes a bestselling tell all book about her ordeal? It's odd.
As the movie plays out, Bernadette's character goes about getting revenge while Keaton's character goes about getting revenge as well. They work independently of one another for the most part, which is interesting at first as we get to see two very different, and admittedly decent, performative takes on the whole rape/revenge motif that Zarchi is obviously exploring here. Ultimately, however, it just winds up adding more bulk to the aforementioned running time.
But yeah, Keaton and Bernadette are pretty decent in their respective roles. There's just enough chemistry between them that we can buy them as mother and daughter. The rest of the cast doesn't fare as well, the villains all too often chewing the scenery to the point where it's hard to take them seriously even while the camera captures them committing some atrocious acts. They're a bit too cartoonish for their own good.
Production values are middling at best. This was obviously made without a massive budget and while you don't always need a massive budget to make an effective film (Zarchi himself proved this with the first movie), the gore effects in the revenge scene feel cheap and fake, even if some of those kills are admittedly creative enough. On top of that, the cinematography is bland, making this one a less than impressive effort overall.
I Spit On Your Grave Deja Vu arrives on Blu-ray from Ronin Flix with the two and a half hour feature taking up 41.6GBs of space on the dual-layered 50GB disc. Presented in AVC encoded 1080p high definition and framed at 2.39.1 widescreen, the picture, which was shot digitally, looks quite good. Obviously there's no print damage, dirt or debris here but detail is quite strong and the colors are nicely reproduced. We get good black levels and accurate skin tones and the strong bit rate keeps compression artifacts at bay.
English language 24-bit DTS-HD tracks are provided in 2.0 Stereo and 5.1 with subtitles provided in English SDH only. The 5.1 mix spreads out the score and effects throughout the various channels while the stereo mix obviously spreads things out between the left and right channels. Both tracks are clean, clear and properly balanced, free of any noticeable hiss or distortion.
Extra features start off with an audio commentary from Joe Bob Briggs that is insightful and amusing the way that Briggs' tracks tend to be. He talks about some of the quirks noticeable in the movie, getting Keaton back to this only actual sequel to the original film, details on the different characters in the picture and their relationships to some of the characters from the first movie, the use of flashbacks in the picture, how many times Becky spits in the movie (ha!), Bernadette's bold performance in the picture, whether or not the movie exploits or empowers women, critical response to the original film, some of the confusing theological elements Zarchi puts into the film and loads more.
The Cast Interviews section runs eleven minutes and features Camille Keaton talking about her character, Jamie Berdnadette and Jeremy Ferdman talking about the original 1978 film, Jim Tavare, Maria Olsen and Jonathan Peacy talking about Deja Vu and what it was like auditioning for the movie. This also goes over the themes that the movie explores, the characters and working with Keaton and Zarchi.
The Making Of I Spit On Your Grave Deja Vu is a lengthy forty-four minute piece made up of a wealth of behind the scenes footage. This was all shot fly on the wall style and is presented without much context save for some very quick snippets that explain what's going on, but it gives you a look at what it was like on set and how the cast and crew got along during the shoot.
Behind The Scenes Footage With Director Meir Zarchi And Cast is a quick three minute piece that show Zarchi interacting with his cast while directing a couple of key scenes from the movie.
Finishing up the extras are a theatrical trailer, menus and chapter selection options.
I Spit On Your Grave Deja Vu is way too long for its own good, and the pacing issues unfortunately outweigh some interesting ideas at play and decent work from Bernadette and Keaton. Ronin Flix's Blu-ray looks and sounds pretty solid and features a nice array of extras, but sadly the movie itself just isn't very good. Skip it.
Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.