A female writer rents a log cabin for a few weeks in a remote part of a Louisiana forest, only to be violently assaulted, raped and thought to be left for dead by a group of local rednecks and lowlifes. She returns several weeks later to seek revenge on her abusers, in even more violent fashion.
I've seen the original and this is better in most departments. The cinematography is the most obvious benefit in the remake, as well as the production design, direction and overall screenplay. It's just better, simple as that. I think the director and filmmakers were right to focus more on the violent aspects of the story this time around and minimise the sexual explicitness, because this is more about brutal violence and humiliation than anything remotely sexual. Another improvement was a more in-depth study of the psychology before and during the gang rape, and the differing emotions for the group's individuals in the aftermath. That's not to suggest that the character development is worthy of much more than a mention, it's just that it has been put together with a lot more thought and preparation than the 1970s original.
It should not be mistaken for a horror film however, because it simply isn't. A woman takes vengeance for being raped and assaulted and humiliated, so she goes several steps further in making sure the guilty party get their just desserts. It was mentioned in the extras, when one of the cast is being interviewed, that it can be called an iconic film for fetishists, but again it's nothing of the sort. It's simply a very violent drama, with the drama being necessarily graphic to satisfy that desire for retribution that is a natural and intuitive response in many of us. This film may actually be more rewarding for female viewers than male, particularly those who, directly or indirectly, have had any experience of sexual assault, because this could even be regarded as therapeutic, especially for those who have no interest in conventional legal justice or in forgiving or forgetting. Most people lacking that hunger for revenge will find little else of reward here, because it is really a very simple story, with a first half that sets up a rather predictable second. Despite the lack of surprises, though, it is actually quite good as a fantasy-revenge tale, and I have no doubt that more than a few will take sadistic pleasure in seeing how some of the abusers meet their fates. In many ways, some of the retributory acts are exactly what real-life victims - and their friends and family - would like to do to such perpetrators. Not exactly 'eye-for-an-eye', but along that line of thinking.
I can fully understand why anyone would find the concept and experience utterly repellent, but it has to be said that sexual abuse and assault is an everyday part of real life, something that many have strong emotions about even if they are outsiders looking in, and again for those who want abusers to meet the perfect justice this film could just make for a satisfactory experience. It's even blackly funny in places, for all the right reasons and just as many wrong ones. The fact that it's a remake is of little significance as I would guess that few have seen the original anyway, and for the majority seeing it for the first time, it's not at all bad provided you have a reasonable idea what to expect.
The only DVD options were 2.0 stereo and 5.1 Dolby - nothing else at all, not even subtitles.