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I Spit on Your Grave ’10 (Blu-ray / DVD)



I Spit on Your Grave ‘10 on Blu-rayReviewed by MattFini

Starring Sarah Butler, Daniel Franzese, Chad Lindberg, Jeff Branson, Andrew Howard, Tracey Walter

Directed by Steven R. Monroe

Distributed by Anchor Bay Entertainment

Contrary to popular belief, there’s no secret formula for producing a good remake. One argument is that the most successful ones are those that take the base idea of the source material and go in a different direction. But for every reinvented Dawn of the Dead there’s a new Day of the Dead limping along in its wake. Other remakes (The Hills Have Eyes, Last House on the Left) stay faithful to the original versions and remain among the strongest examples of modern rehashes.

2010’s I Spit on Your Grave falls somewhere in between the two schools. Beginning as a modernized retelling of Meir Zarchi’s original film, it soon deviates from the familiar course in favor of forging a new story. In this version, the ill-fated Jennifer Hills (Sarah Butler) heads for the seclusion of the Deep South to work on her next novel. She’s raped and humiliated by a group of local sleazebags and eventually sets about on a path of vengeance to murder those that wronged her.

The subject matter is brutal and unpleasant, making I Spit on Your Grave an unlikely candidate for a remake in the first place. Perhaps not so much once this version reveals its modernized take on Jennifer’s bloodlust, but considering the original is built around one long a very long and disturbing rape set-piece, it didn’t seem likely that anyone would be dusting the story off for another go ‘round. Surprisingly, director Steven Monroe doesn’t flinch when it comes to the brutalization of our heroine, understanding that the harder she falls, the sweeter the revenge. This version sees a far more suspenseful build-up to the inevitable rape as our villains subject Jennifer to a psychological torment that’s every bit as brutal as the physical harm that follows. One of the complaints leveled against Monroe’s film is that the actual rape has been toned down considerably from Meir Zarchi’s original, but the mental anguish these good ol’ boys put Jennifer through is every bit as harrowing and, in some ways, perhaps even more disturbing. The actual rape itself may be a bit shorter but these filmmakers don’t exactly shy away from it.

I Spit on Your Grave ‘10None of this would’ve succeeded without a capable actress on deck. Sarah Butler does phenomenal work here; her Jennifer goes from vulnerable to psychopathic with ease, and it’s disappointing that the movie ultimately fails to match her performance. The biggest mistake being that the girl is missing from the most of the film’s second act. After she’s raped and left for dead we don’t see her again until she’s claiming her first victim. We’re completely denied her transition from victim to killer, making it harder to remain invested in her character. Some of the best stuff in the original was watching Camille Keaton, post rape, pull herself together and become the avenging angel. Because Butler demonstrates she has the chops, it’s a shame the movie doesn’t let her use them in this case.

Instead, the narrative unwisely shifts direction to focus on the rapists. They’re not terribly interesting characters and it’s here the story begins to lose its way. It feels less like a rape/revenge story and more like some ridiculous post-heist thriller where the criminals crumble under the pressure of whether or not they’ll get away with their crime. While we don’t actually see Jennifer throughout this long stretch, her presence is intended to be felt in a way that’s akin to the psychological torment she incurred at the start. Mysterious video tapes show up in their mail, dead birds on their doorsteps, etc. Instead of getting right to the chopping, Jennifer chips away at their already unstable psyches. It’s an interesting premise and credit should be given to the filmmakers for injecting a slightly different spin on the story – it’s just an unsuitable replacement for witnessing the girl’s evolution from victim to killer.

It’s a misstep that the film never quite recovers from. The third act is a bit better but, in some ways, it feels even more ludicrous than the vengeance in the 1978 version. This Jennifer is all about an eye for an eye. Whatever was done to her, she pays back in spades. Part of the problem is the aforementioned refusal to watch our supposed main character make the appropriate conversion. She re-appears looking like something out of a J-horror movie and it’s somewhat of a baffling choice. The idea is to make her look like an unhinged, feral creature and the methods by which she takes revenge seem a bit overcomplicated for a girl with murder on the mind. This Jennifer would be right at home alongside the inhabitants of Eli Roth’s Hostel, and these protracted bits of torture don’t reach the levels of satisfaction seen in the original. There’s some great stuff sprinkled throughout (especially that bit with the garden shears – you GO girl!) but this I Spit on Your Grave takes too deep a dip in the torture porn pool, making it look and feel a lot like everything else that’s out there right now.

I Spit on Your Grave ‘10The creative team behind this remake should be lauded for their un-PC approach to the material. All guilty parties are punished (and, yes, the resident retard makes an appearance in this version) and Jennifer remains delightfully unsympathetic to her attackers. In that regard Monroe and this team remain faithful to the source material. There’s nothing particularly wrong with 2010’s I Spit: it’s well shot, well acted and equipped with several many moments of genuine discomfort. It also blends in alongside its contemporaries so well it manages to avoid the distinction that has made the original a 30-year-old household name.

Anchor Bay’s high definition transfer looks excellent on Blu-ray. The intentionally drab look manages to include lots of rich textures and loads of impressive detail. The surrounding forest is lush and foreboding while the interiors bring the environment to life with eye-popping clarity. There’s marginal banding found within the transfer which, to be honest, I didn’t notice until I went back through the disc to inspect the picture quality. Overall, I Spit on Your Grave looks quite good in its Blu-ray debut and the occasional flaws won’t detract from your viewing experience.

The TrueHD 5.1 surround track also satisfies. Sound effects pack the intended wallops while dialogue is front-loaded and always well-separated. No complaints with this one. It’s not the busiest audio track but it appears to be a faithful representation of the technical design.

There’s a small handful of supplements here: an audio commentary with director Monroe and producer Lisa Hansen. Ranging from the inherent challenges in making this type of film, to providing some interesting cast/crew anecdotes, it’s a worthwhile listen for fans of the movie. They’re also very respectful of the original I Spit and discuss the desire to pay tribute to it while creating a new, stand-alone version. The sixteen minute featurette titled The Revenge of Jennifer Hills: Remaking a Cult Icon is largely worthless EPK-style nightmare in which everyone drones on and on about how great this movie is. A collection of deleted scenes play out more like extended clips of what we see in the final product. Nothing special here save for a brief snip of Jennifer holding a bible and asking God for forgiveness for what she’s about to do. Three trailers, a radio spot and a worthless digital copy round out the set.

I Spit on Your Grave is a decent little movie that should’ve been a lot better. The filmmakers had the framework to make something really special and unforgettable and instead opted to make another entry in the endless array of torture porn entries that have marred the last half-decade. The only difference being that the audience is on the torturer’s side this time. It takes the generic way out after an incredibly strong build-up and the end result feels more like a cash-in and less of a bold reinvention.

Special Features
Audio commentary with director Steven R. Monroe and producer Lisa Hansen.
The Revenge of Jennifer Hills: Remaking a Cult Icon featurette
Deleted Scenes
Theatrical Trailers
Radio Spot
Digital Copy

3 out of 5

Special Features
2 1/2 out of 5

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Through the Cracks – Trick or Treat (1986) Review



Starring Marc Price, Tony Fields, Lisa Orgolini, Glen Morgan, Gene Simmons, and Ozzy Osbourne

Directed by Charles Martin Smith

I have been a horror fan for more than half of my life at this point. Meaning I have seen most of the quality horror offerings under the sun. But that said, every once in awhile a classic sneaks past so we wanted to create this “Through the Cracks” review section for such films.

Case in point, I had never seen the Halloween horror flick Trick or Treat until last night. I know, right? How the hell did that happen? But these things do happen and so for everyone that has seen the flick a million times, this will be a review of the movie from a super horror fan that – at the age of 33 – is seeing Trick or Treat for the very first time.

Now let’s get to it.

First off you have to love the movie’s plot. Mixing horror and heavy metal seems like a given, yet preciously few films Frankenstein these two great tastes together.

Like many of you out there, I am a big metal fan as well as a big horror fan. The two seem to go together like chocolate and peanut butter. Or Jason and horny campers.

I dig bands like Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, and even those hair metal bands (Dokken forever!) and I’m well aware of the legends surrounding playing these records backward.

Off the top of my head, the only other flick that combines the two to this degree is the (relatively) recent horror-comedy Deathgasm. I say more horror-metal flicks! Or should we call it Metal-Horror? Yeah, that’s a much more metal title.

It only makes sense that someone, somewhere would take the idea of “What if Ozzy Osbourne really was evil and came back from the dead (you know, if he had passed away during his heyday) to torment a loner fan?” Great premise for a movie!

And Trick or Treat delivers on the promise of this premise in spades. Sammi Curr is an epic hybrid of the best of the best metal frontmen and his resurrection via speaker is one of the great horror birthing scenes I have seen in all my years.

Add to that the film feels like a lost entry in the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise. More specifically the film feels like it would fit snugly in between two of my favorite entries in that series, Dream Warriors and The Dream Master.

This movie is 80’s as all f*ck and I loved every minute of it.

And speaking of how this film brought other minor classics to the forefront of my brain, let’s talk about the film’s central villain, Sammi Curr. This guy looks like he could share an epic horror band with the likes of Mary Lou from Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II and the Drill Killer rocker from Slumber Party Massacre Part II.

Picture that band for a moment and tell me they aren’t currently playing the most epic set in Hell as we speak. I say let’s see an Avengers-style series of films based on these minor horror icons sharing the stage and touring the country’s high school proms!

In the end Trick or Treat has more than it’s fair share of issues. Sammi Curr doesn’t enter the film until much too late and is dispatched way too easily. Water? Really? That’s it?

That said, the film is still a blast as director Charles Martin Smith keeps the movie rocking like an 80’s music video with highlights being Sammi’s rock show massacre at the prom and his final assault on our hero teens in the family bathroom.

Rockstar lighting for days.

Even though the film has issues (zero blood, a rushed ending) none of that mattered much to this horror hound as the film was filled to the brim with striking horror/metal imagery and a killer soundtrack via Fastway and composer Christopher Young.

Plus you’ve got to love the cameos by Gene Simmons (boy, his character just dropped right out of the movie, huh?) and Ozzy Osbourne as a mad-as-hell Preacher that isn’t going to take any more of this devil music. P.S. Watch for the post-credits tag.

More than a few of my closest horror buddies have this film placed high on their annual Halloween must-watch lists. And after (finally) viewing the film for myself, I think I just may have to add the film to mine as well. Preferably on VHS.

Trick or Treat is an 80’s horror classic. If you dig films like Popcornand if you put the film off like I did, remedy that tonight and slap a copy in the old VHS/DVD player.

Just don’t play it backward… God knows what could happen.

All said and done, I enjoyed the hell out of my first viewing of Trick or Treat. But what do YOU think of the film? Make sure to hit us up and let us know below or on social media!

Now bring on Trick or Treat 2: The Prom Band from Hell, featuring Sammi Curr, Mary Lou Maloney, and Atanas Ilitch’s Driller Killer from Slumber Party Massacre Part II!

  • Trick or Treat (1986) 3.5


Charles Martin Smith’s Trick or Treat is a sure-fire Halloween treat for fans of 80’s horror flicks, as well as fans of heavy metal music.

User Rating 3.62 (21 votes)
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AHS: Cult Review – Clowns, Cults, Politics, and Peters



Starring Evan Peters, Sarah Paulson, Billie Lourd, Cheyenne Jackson, Frances Conroy, Mare Winningham, and Allison Pill

Created by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk


It’s here. We’ve reached the end. The newest season of “American Horror Story” has ended and now we are here to provide you guys with our season review of AHS: Cult.

Spoiler free.

To start things off let me say I’m not the world’s biggest fan of “American Horror Story”. It breaks down like this: I enjoyed the absolute hell out of the first season of the series (“Murder House”), couldn’t get through “Asylum” (I know, I know, I’ve tried), dug “Coven” for what it was, really enjoyed “Freak Show”, and again I couldn’t get into “Hotel” or “Roanoke”.

That’s the story of me and “American Horror Story”. Plain And simple. But what did I think of the new seventh season of the notorious horror anthology series? Let’s find out.

Back when the seventh season of AHS was first announced (then going by the title “AHS: Election”) I was immediately intrigued by the new season because I heard it would not include any supernatural elements. Like the fourth season, “Freak Show”.

Now I’m a fan of ghosts and weird creature-men with drills for d*cks, don’t get me wrong. But the series has thus far relied almost exclusively on horrors of the supernatural variety (other than “Freak Show”) so this major change of pace was again welcomed by this guy.

Instead of vampires, aliens, and witches this season relied on terrors of the mind. Psychological fears and anxieties. The horrors man does to man. Deep issues.

Oh, and clowns. Like a lot of clowns.

But just because this new season didn’t include anything supernatural, that doesn’t mean the 11-episode season wasn’t filled with twisted visuals and horrifically disturbing acts. No, sir. This season boasted some showstoppers including S&M, gimps, and a house of horrors that wouldn’t be out of place in a Rob Zombie flick. It was all good.

But let’s backtrack a bit here.

Allow me to rundown the season’s plot for those who may be unaware. “AHS: Cult” tells the tale of a world post-election night. The literal dawn of Trump’s America. In one corner we have Sarah Paulson’s soccer mom, trying to fight through life with a series of crippling phobias (including clowns, holes, blood, and being a good person).

And in the other corner, we have Evan Peter’s angry, white (blue-haired) male, looking to seize Trump’s new position of power to bring about the end of… Actually, I want this to be a spoiler-free season review, so I’m just going to say the dude’s got big plans.

Like Manson-size plans. Let’s leave it at that.

With these two characters established, the new season then proceeds to send them spiraling into a collision course of political sabotage, intrigue, and clown-based nope, nope, nope-ing that can only end with one – or both – of them dead as Dillinger.

Overall “AHS: Cult” belonged end-to-end to Mr. Evan Peters. The young actor has continued to show his striking range from season to season of Ryan Murphy’s horror show and this season was no different. Peters’ turn as not only Kai, the blue-haired leader of the titular cult, but as infamous leaders such as David Koresh, Jim Jones, and Charles Manson – to name a few – owed this season.

I can only hope he doesn’t pull a Jessica Lange and opt-out of more AHS next year.

Speaking of top performances, “AHS: Cult ” showcases some other chilling and memorable turns with Alison Pill’s strangely vulnerable, put-upon wife character being the best next to Peters in my eyes. This actress needs to be in more films/TV!

Along with Pill, actress Billie Lourd killed it time and time again. The “Scream Queens” breakout star and Carrie Fisher spawn was yet again a highlight in her second Ryan Murphy series. Bet she has the starring role in next season. Mark my words.

Add to that, the season also boasts a handful of fun cameos, including John Carroll Lynch’s return as Twisty the Clown, Emma Roberts as a bitchy reporter that will do anything to end up on top, and Lena Dunham as SCUM Manifesto writer Valerie Solanas. The cameo cast killed it and I wish they would have been present for more episodes. What are you gonna do?

On the sour side of the season, I didn’t dig Sarah Paulson’s character. At all. But I’m sure that was the point. Right? I’m still not sure. But, boy, I wouldn’t even want to be stuck in line behind her at a Starbucks for three minutes, let alone spend the better part of this season’s 11-hours with her and her whiny bullshite. Urgh.

That said, she pulled it out by the finale. That’s all I’ll say.

In the end, I enjoyed this season as much as – if not more – than any other of the series. “Murder House” will still no doubt go on as my favorite season of the series, but “AHS: Cult” will rank third after season one and “Freak Show”.

While I was on the fence about the season after three episodes, the show ended up ditching Paulson’s character (and/or shifting her arch) after a lull so the episodes picked up quickly. Whenever the season turned its focus back towards Peters (in whichever incarnation he was playing at the time) the show got better and better. Every time.

Not a bad way to spend my Tuesday night for the past 11 weeks.

Bring on season 12.

  • American Horror Story: Cult (2018)


The seventh season of Ryan Murphy’s American Horror Story was Evan Peters’ show all the way through. The young actor pulled out all the stops time and time again to make what may have been a lackluster supernatural-free season a winner.

User Rating 4.14 (22 votes)
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The Axiom Review – A Stylish and Clever Slice of Independent Horror




Starring Hattie Smith, Zac Titus, Nicole Dambro

Directed by Nicholas Woods

The Axiom is an ambitious, well directed, impressively acted and stunningly shot independent horror film that has just a few, teensy little flaws holding it back from greatness (and therefore will have to settle for just being really, really good, instead).

The first thing you realize when watching The Axiom is that this is a beautiful film. Everything is framed and shot in a lush and stylish manner, but one which is always tonally appropriate for the scene.

The second thing you’ll notice, and keep noticing as the film plays out, is that the movie really struck gold with this cast. Not only is there a total lack of the sort of stilted and unnatural acting seen in countless other microbudget horror affairs, but the performances are genuinely fantastic across the board. The main characters are believably chill and relatably normal in the early scenes, and the acting remains just as impressive once things start getting a bit more… intense. It’s not often that an independent horror film has so many good performances that it makes it hard to pick the movie’s acting VIP, but that is undeniably the case here. Taylor Flowers delivers what is probably the showiest performance (and does it very well, indeed), but the entire cast really is quite good.

The central premise of the film is both interesting and original, and touches upon the real life fact (given some recent attention in the ‘Missing 411’ books and documentary) that a lot more people sure seem to go missing out in the woods than seems reasonable, while simultaneously weaving all sorts of folklore, fairy tales and urban legends into the mix. It’s also clever in the way that it very naturally reveals aspects to the relationships between characters that serve to later – or sometimes retroactively – explain some of the more questionable decisions they make or attitudes they display. While that may sound like screenwriting 101, it’s surprising how many films fail to do this. The Axiom rewards the viewer’s attention in other ways as well, with many aspects of the movie that initially feel odd or unnatural receiving reasonable explanations (within the context of the movie) by the end. It’s not quite as challenging (or as rewarding) in this regard as, say, something like Session 9, but it does add a nice layer of complexity to the storytelling.

The film’s score, by Leo Kaliski, is also quite good. There may be a moment here or there where the music hits an overly familiar beat, but overall it not only fits the movie’s tone, but does quite a bit to help set that tone as well.

The only thing that I don’t feel the movie quite pulls off – and I’m trying to be vague here, because I feel like the less you know going into this film, the better – is some of the makeup effects work. The gore stuff is very well executed, but some of the other stuff feels like it was crafted with the intention of shooting it in a more… stylized manner. Instead, filmed as it is here, the result is sometimes less than impressive and can fail to make the impact that the movie seems to be implying that it should. And while some of what the makeup effects lack in execution is made up for with the ingenuity and creativity of their design, it’s still a bit of a shame when they don’t quite pull them off because, aside from a few niggles that I have with the writing, the effects are the only aspect of the film that occasionally fails to live up to the high level of technical proficiency that The Axiom otherwise demonstrates.


  • Man, the acting in this movie is really good. The dialogue may stumble once or twice, but these actors always sell it anyway.
  • Give back Mia Sara’s DNA, Hattie Smith!
  • If you’re going to put your female lead in shorts this small, I hope you’re not sensitive to viewers unleashing a nonstop parade of “Has anyone seen my pants / OH GOD WHERE ARE MY PANTS!” jokes.
  • “You just pop this here ‘Blair Witch Stick Person / Anarchy sign’ sticker up on that there windshield of yours, and them park rangers? Well – heh heh – they won’t bother you none, no sir.” Hmmmmm…
  • The film really is shot amazingly well – better than a lot of mainstream releases. Cinematographer Sten Olson has a real future ahead of him.
  • As does writer / director Nicholas Woods, for that matter. Any director who can get this level of quality out of their cast and crew on their first ever film is someone to keep an eye on.
  • “I’ll make a run for it and get help,” says the female lead, and I’m like “Yeah, let her go – she has no pants to weigh her down.”
  • The gore effects in the movie are both realized and utilized very well.
  • Welcome back to horror movies, “I’ll be right back” dialogue spoken unironically by and/or to ill-fated characters.
  • The Axiom


In the end, The Axiom is a solid and entertaining flick that manages to wring a level of quality and originality out of the somewhat tired “Don’t Go in the Woods” horror subgenre not seen since 2012’s Cabin in the Woods. The cinematography and acting are hugely impressive, it features a nice, unnerving score, the premise is original and captivating, and the whole thing moves at a nice pace that helps keep the film’s flaws from dragging it down.

User Rating 3.95 (20 votes)
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