For the sequel to a rape-revenge fantasy, "I Spit on Your Grave 2" begins promisingly enough. Our heroine Katie (Jemma Dallender), an aspiring model living in New York, is poised, hard-working and, above all, resourceful. She does go to a "free" photo shoot by herself, but otherwise she makes smart decisions — high-tailing it out of there when the photographer (Joe Absolom) suggests she pose nude as some kind of repayment.
A sense of dread hangs over these early scenes, but it's not until later that the shutterbug's brother Georgy (Yavor Baharoff) slips into her apartment and attacks her there. In the ensuing cleanup, she gets shipped off to Bulgaria.
Katie's rape and torture are horrible, and horrible to watch — all the more so given her confusion conveyed by camera work emulating her point of view. The payoff is supposed to be when she wreaks vengeance on her assailants, but unlike in 2010's "I Spit on Your Grave," also directed by Steven R. Monroe, her retributions aren't particularly elaborate or creative, with sometimes specious relationships to what they did to her. (Everyone has vices, one of them tells her, so — spoiler alert! — she puts his genitalia in a vice.)
There are glimmers of thoughtfulness here in the initial characterization of Katie and in her long, slow recovery before she can exact her revenge, but they're ultimately snuffed out by this mound of toxic trash.
"I Spit on Your Grave 2." MPAA rating: R for strong sadistic violence, torture and rape, graphic nudity, language and some drug content. Running time: 1 hour, 40 minutes. At Laemmle NoHo 7, North Hollywood.Copyright © 2015, CT Now