So this is the first time I’m hearing about a REMAKE of I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE, the exceedingly visceral rape/revenge thriller directed by Meir Zarchi in 1978. Also known as DAY OF THE WOMAN, the film follows a woman who has come to the country to work on her novel in peace and quiet, only to be violently assaulted and raped by a group of local yokels. After healing a bit, she launches into a campaign of vicious revenge against her attackers (including cutting off one guy’s dong!).
As hard as the original film is for me to watch (because of the rape/assault part that seems to last FOREVER), I’m certain that I’ll be having a more difficult time trying to watch the remake (because, obviously, it’s going to suck). This version is directed by Steven R. Monroe and stars Sarah Butler, Daniel Franzese, Chad Lindberg, Rodney Eastman and Andrew Howard. I’m guessing the financing came through after the somewhat successful LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT remake happened as I really can’t see how a remake of a film such as I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE could get produced. Of course we all know that this flick is going to FAIL. The original was made at a specific time, when exploitation flicks were synonymous with independent filmmaking.
On top of that, Anchor Bay has agreed to put the remake out this fall in a targeted (read: limited) theatrical release!? To be followed by DVD release early 2011. Really Anchor Bay? Really? I remember the days when I worshiped at the DVD alter of Anchor Bay, in the early days of DVD releases when they were putting out all the great horror classics. Now I have THIS. Ah well, it’s business, but a remake of I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE will not only suck balls, but it’s really something more apt for a Brain Damage release.
STOCKHOLM SYNDROME Produced/Directed by Ryan Cavalline Story by Ryan Cavalline and Jason Senior
Well…let’s begin with a summary of this flick from what will probably be the back of the DVD (coming from Brain Damage Films on 05/05/2009):
“Somewhere, in a sleepy rural area, an underground organization is operating. People are being kidnapped, beaten, and tortured beyond comprehension. They are then reprogrammed to succumb to the will of their vile captors for their sick games and sold for the highest price. Along with his accomplice, a member of this evil group is having second thoughts about his role in this field and will do whatever it takes to leave the horror behind. Meanwhile, a young man and his pregnant wife take shelter in a run-down motel while on a road trip, unaware of the sheer terror that will soon befall them. All three will soon come to realize that in this kind of business….NO ONE ESCAPES”
Colorful, I’m aware. That is the kind of writing that your Joe Blow movie guy would read on the back of a dvd in your local movie-rental-plex…well, those that actually take the time to read the back of a Brain Damage “film”.
Let me talk about Ryan Cavalline. I have to give him…what do the kids say these days?…Mad…Props? Yeah, that’s it, I have to give him Mad F-Ing Props for forming his own production team at the ripe old age of eight-freakin’-teen and proceeded to push ahead, churning out movies like a b-flick factory. That’s tough work, and I respect that.
Stockholm Syndrome is a mess. A bloody, afterbirth of a mess. Terrible is too haughty a word for the thing. I have to be honest, I just couldn’t make it through the entirety of the movie; 3/4 is about as far as it went. Normally, I never do this, but I just could NOT, BY ANY MEANS GO ON. There was nothing even remotely redeeming about this one. I’ve read some good reviews of the flick, and I’m happy that there’s a market out there for STOCKHOLM SYNDROME, but we (by that, I mean ME) just don’t dig it at Backwoods Horror.
First of all, it’s not even remotely MY kind of horror flick. In fact, it’s a matter of symantics as to whether or not the film could be categorized as horror at all. More or less, what you have here is the dreaded “psychological thriller” with a shit ton of “torture porn” thrown in for good kicks. If that were all the problems related to STOCKHOLM SYNDROME, I’d be willing to let it slide…but I digress.
The effects were terrible, beginning with the “preggers” chick at the beginning with a very obvious Basketball under her skirt. Ok, if you listen carefully (I had to rewind to make sure what I was hearing was, indeed, what I was hearing) when the woman pats her “pregnant” belly, you can hear, quite audibly, that “thump” one gets when slapping or flicking a basketball. That sort of hollowed out thump. COME ON, SERIOUSLY? Then there’s the makeup effects. Not too terribly bad if made by retarded monkeys throwing blood spattered poo at people. Unfortunately, however, this doesn’t seem the case…unless chimps are taking credit. And what about that cabbage patch doll baby? How over the top does it get? Was this meant as a joke? You couldn’t create a synthetic laytex or foam rubber baby mold so that it at least has that squishy element to it? I mean…a plastic doll? COME ON. Then we have all other types of zaniness. Fake puke that didn’t look like puke, a chick pissin’ herself that was a poorly done riff from Last House On The Left, the list goes on and on.
Then there’s the sound design. The levels were OUT OF FUCKING CONTROL. I’d have to turn my receiver up and then BAM, VOLUME’S BACK UP TO 11. What the hell? So the time I DID waste watching this film was spent mostly with the remote, vainly attempting to manually equalize the audio.
For the final nails in the coffin, let’s look at the “acting,” the “cinematography,” and the overall “direction.” Let’s look at the acting first. I couldn’t find any. I found a bunch of people stumbling through their lines as if they were, in some way, constipated and just trying to make it through to the cut so they could eventually drop a giant load (an apt metaphor for this “film” I think). It was atrocious. I’ve seen bums on fire act more convincingly (of course…you know…when they’re on fire). I didn’t give two shits about any of these characters. Then there’s that horrific of cinematography…or lack thereof. Ok, it was shot on tape, miniDV from the quality. That’s ok. 28 Days later (though shot with some nice Cannon Pro-Sumers) was still just miniDV, proving in a way that miniDV has it’s time and place. Not here. It just accentuated the overall cheap-ass feeling of the film with more artifacting than an antique shop. The film was dark (c-stands, clamps and lighting aren’t all that expensive, nor are filters and gels), so at times you couldn’t very well see what was going on. And the feeling of “in your face reality captured by talented miniDV (or digital in general) users was less than applicable here and one finds oneself wondering why all of the terrible Raimi-wannabe camera angles and extreme, obscuringly so, unnecessary close ups. This was due in no small part to the directorial mind behind it.
The…plot…was a veritable clusterfuck of cliches, bad dialogue (and bad carrythrough from the actors), and overall story. Because I can only guess that much of the original story was thrown out, we have, for our viewing displeasure, a series of torture porn riffs that never live up to whomever they were trying to emulate. Heaven forbid, I even saw a bit of Eli-fuckwad-Roth’s school of “COVER A SHITTY MOVIE UP WITH GORE GALORE and TITTIES AND YOU’LL BE FINE” school of chicanary. Oh, this flick had gore…bad, atrocious, terrible gore. A girl (after exposing us to some barely-theres) pisses herself and is made to lick it up. And what about this mafioso boss that looks like Ron Jeremy? …I can’t go on, I really can’t.
This flick made me, in all actuality…angry. I became literally pissed off that I was wasting my time with STOCKHOLM SYNDROME (a word, by the way, not even used corretly within the context of the film, so, they have butchered an English word to boot. I…
No…that’s it. I can’t go on any longer. To Mr. Cavalline, I’m sorry, but if I were you, I’d take whatever negative or final product you have (be it tape or whatever) and destroy it. I know it won’t stop this film from being released onto an unexpected audiance but, for your own sake, DESTROY IT. That said, I would be interested to see some of your other films just to see if STOCKHOLM SYNDROME was just some horrible drunken mistake you made this time. Perhaps this was just the bad bunch in that slowly rotting basket of film apples.
So would I be willing to give Ryan Cavalline another shot to show me that he’s more than this sordid, horrible mixup of piss-poor storyline, poor lighting, editing camera and sound work. Anyone with the brass balls enough to strike out and work towards doing what they love best I have all the respect in the world for. I just cannont recommend STOCKHOLM SYNDROME to anyone unless they are into really bad torture porn, horrendous acting and writing, and less than par direction.