New York City novelist Jennifer Hills (Sarah Butler) is driving to a cabin in the woods she had rented, in order to write her next book in privacy. Lost and low on fuel, she pulls into a gas station to fill up and receive information. Operator Johnny (Jeff Branson) gives her the information and tries to flirt with her, to no avail. Jennifer accidentally hits the panic button on her car, causing Johnny to stumble backward into a bucket of water and his nearby friends Andy (Rodney Eastman) and Stanley (Daniel Franzese) to laugh at him uncontrollably.
Around the cabin, Jennifer spends the following days tanning, hiking, smoking marijuana, and drinking alcohol, which she had brought in large amounts. One day, the plumbing of the cabin's bathroom becomes clogged, and a stuttering plumber named Matthew (Chad Lindberg), who has social interaction disability, is sent at her request to fix the problem, which he successfully does. Awarding him with an abrupt kiss of gratitude, Jennifer states that he saved her from having to bathe in the swampy lake.
The three men from before, revealed to be brash, reckless, and sadistic, are seen again beating a fish with a bat when Matthew, arrives and tells about his experience and boasts that she likes him. Instigated by Johnny, who's ego was bruised after the incident with Jennifer at the gas station, the friends conclude that she is snobbish and needs to be "taught a lesson".
That night, the four men sneak into Jennifer's cabin, with the intent of forcing Matthew to lose his virginity. Matthew refuses to assault her out of sympathy. The other three relentlessly taunt Jennifer, making her perform fellatio on a pistol and a bottle. She escapes into the woods and bumps into Sheriff Storch (Andrew Howard) and Earl (Tracey Walter), the old man from whom she rented the cabin. Storch takes Jennifer back to the cabin, to assist her. He finds her alcohol and marijuana and starts frisking her gradually getting sexual. The other men come through the door and it becomes obvious they are in cahoots. They hold her down while roughly forcing Matthew on her with taunts of "faggot" and Matthew, initially refusing to assault her, seizes the opportunity. After Matthew rapes her, Jennifer stumbles from the cabin into the woods naked. The men catch up to her, and Andy holds her head underwater while Storch anally rapes her. The others rape her as well and Stanley records everything on his video camera. Afterward, Jennifer walks to a bridge and just as Storch is about to shoot her she falls in the water and doesn't surface. Storch tells the other three men to search for Jennifer in the river, but they can't find any clues to her whereabouts. A furious Storch then destroys the tape containing the footage Stanley recorded with his camera and orders the others to get rid of all the evidence.
It is gradually suggested that Jennifer is alive and stalking her rapists to learn details of their lives. After visiting Earl to give him the key of the cabin where Jennifer stayed, Storch receives a call from Earl in his home; Earl tells him someone left a message for Jennifer in the cabin's answering machine and complains about the fact that Jennifer is absent since a month ago. Concomitantly, a desperate Stanley realizes his camera has been stolen and tells the incident to Andy and Johnny. Stanley reveals that the tape containing the footage was in his camera and the one Storch destroyed actually contained nothing, making Johnny angry to the point of strangling Stanley. Later that night, Johnny hears noises outside his house and finds a dead bird in his balcony. Realizing someone is out there, he threatens the trespasser with gunshots, but is answered with nothing but one of Jennifer's slippers and a set of rubber band bracelets Matthew used to wear, suggesting it was Matthew hiding in the yard.
Mrs. Storch receives a tape in the family mail, but is not able to watch the contents of it (it's a smaller, video camera format tape), and tells her husband. Angry and suspecting the tape is the one containing Stanley's footage, Storch hurries to meet Stanley, Andy, and Johnny and ask them who was responsible for the tape's delivery. Johnny and Andy suspect Matthew did so, due to his obsession with Jennifer, but they don't know where he is. Afterwards, Storch and Earl go to the forest to hunt quails. Storch seizes the opportunity to kill Earl with his shotgun, saying that he is taking care of "loose ends".
When Matthew is in the cabin, he hears Jennifer's voice saying she knows he's there, which lures him up the stairs. He becomes frantic and slips down the stairs. Regaining consciousness, he finds Jennifer, finally revealed to be alive, on a couch in a dilapidated house, watching him. Matthew attempts to sympathize with her and when Jennifer accepts his apology and comforts him stating that it wasn't his fault that he raped her, she slips a noose around his neck and strangles him, stating that "it's not good enough" before dragging him offscreen. She then captures Stanley in a bear trap, sets up his camera, and then ties his eyes open with fish hooks. She guts a fish and spreads its organs in his eyes and face. Crows arrive and rip out his eyes and tear apart his face, leading to him bleeding to death. Jennifer knocks Andy out with a baseball bat and ties him up over a bathtub which is filling with water. She puts lye in the water and when his strength gives, he collapses into the water and the lye burns his face and throat until he chokes to death. She later poses as a gas station customer and knocks Johnny unconscious, leading him to wake up naked and tethered standing up with his arms bound together. After she uses pliers to graphically tear out several of his teeth, he snarls that he loved raping her, and she uses a pair of shears to emasculate him, leading him to scream as blood pours from his severed genitals until he bleeds to death.
After killing Johnny, Jennifer visits Storch's family. Storch receives a call from his wife, saying that his daughter's teacher is there and they want him to meet her. When his daughter hands the phone to Jennifer, Storch realizes it's her as she taunts him about how "it's a pleasure to meet your family". Storch races home and learns Jennifer has taken his daughter to the park. Storch goes to the park but no one is there. He gets back in his car and Jennifer, who was waiting in the backseat, knocks him unconscious. When he wakes, Jennifer rapes him with his shotgun and reminds him that she was just as innocent as his own daughter as he tries to plea for his life. She has attached one end of a string to the trigger and the other end to Matthew's wrist. Matthew is alive but unconscious, and Jennifer tells Storch, "If I were you, I'd tell him not to move". When Matthew wakes up, he is confused and begins agitating when he sees Storch, and Storch's scream for Matthew to stop moving goes unheeded as Matthew triggers the shotgun, which fires a round that tears through Storch's anus and blows apart his face before hitting Matthew in the chest, leaving both men dead. Jennifer sits outside, hears the gunshot, and smiles.Sarah Butler as Jennifer Hills
Rodney Eastman as Andy
Daniel Franzese as Stanley
Jeff Branson as John "Johnny" Miller
Andrew Howard as Sheriff Storch
Chad Lindberg as Matthew, the plumber with social disorders
Tracey Walter as Earl
Mollie Milligan as Mrs. Storch, the sheriff's wife
Saxon Sharbino as Chastity Storch, the sheriff's daughter
Amber Dawn Landrum as Girl at Gas Station
Principal photography began on November 2, 2009, under Steven R. Monroe's direction. It was distributed by CineTel, and produced by the company's president and CEO Paul Hertzberg. Lisa Hansen, Jeff Klein, Alan Ostroff, Gary Needle, and Meir Zarchi (director of the original) served as executive producers. Location filming took place in Louisiana. The film was written by Stuart Morse, based on Zarchi's screenplay.
CineTel Films planned a 2010 worldwide theatrical release. The film was part of the Texas Frightmare Weekend on May 1, 2010 in the Sheraton Grand Hotel in Irving, Texas, and part of the Film4 Frightfest on August 29, 2010. The Canadian unrated version premiered at the Fantasia Festival on July 20, 2010. The complete cast and Meir Zarchi, director of the original, were present. An unrated version was followed in limited release on October 8, 2010, in the United States. Coincidentally, another unrated horror film, Hatchet II, opened a week beforehand.
The film is distributed in the United States, Canada, Australia and the UK by Anchor Bay Entertainment. The DVD and Blu-ray were released in the United States on February 8, 2011. The DVD includes an audio commentary by director Steven R. Monroe and producer Lisa Hansen, 11 deleted scenes, teasers and trailers.
The DVD was banned in New Zealand, just before its April release.
Critical reaction to the film has been generally negative, with a 34% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. On Metacritic the film was assigned a rating of 27% based on reviews from 14 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews". Roger Ebert gave the film a zero-star rating (the same one he'd given the original) and described it as the "despicable remake of the despicable 1978 film". He claimed that it added "a phony sense of moral equivalency", stating "If I rape you, I have committed a crime. If you kill me, you have committed another one. The ideal outcome would be two people unharmed in the first place." While he allowed that the movie was made "professionally," as opposed to the original version that was devoid of any kind of skills or artistry, he considered this largely in the service of the truly offensive material, the rape scenes, later summarizing "this [version] is more offensive, because it lingers lovingly and at greater length on realistic verbal, psychological and physical violence against the woman, and then reduces her 'revenge' to cartoonish horror-flick impossibilities."
Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle wrote, "In addition to all the obvious things that are disgusting about this movie, I Spit on Your Grave is trying to get us to hate each other. Hate it instead. It makes more sense and the hatred is much more deserved." Critic Andrew O'Hehir also denounced the notion that the film has a message, writing that it "just piles imaginary atrocities on top of real ones, and then halfheartedly claims that it means something. Well, it doesn't."
Some support for the film in mainstream press came from The New York Times, which wrote, "Female-empowerment fantasy or just plain prurience, 'Grave' is extremely efficient grindhouse." V.A. Musetto, from the New York Post, also offered some support for the film, stating, "If you can handle it, see it."
Like the original, the film did find limited cult support. Fangoria magazine wrote that I Spit on Your Grave "...is just as raw and upsetting in its onscreen brutality as the original. Perhaps more so, since the acting is significantly better this time around".
A sequel, I Spit on Your Grave 2, directed by Steven R. Monroe, was produced and was given a limited theatrical release on September 20, 2013. The film's plot concerns a young aspiring model named Katie (Jemma Dallender) who accepts an offer to have photos taken for her modeling portfolio. Unfortunately for Katie, little does she know the event turns into a nightmare of torture, rape, and kidnapping. The story has a rape-revenge plot similar to the first film.
In March 2015 Anchor Bay Entertainment announced with I Spit on Your Grave III: Vengeance Is Mine, the third installment of the franchise. Sarah Butler returned to her role as Jennifer Hills and R.D. Braunstein as the director of the film.