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I just watched both of these back to back, and I can safely say that I've had enough genital mutilation for one day. Anyways, I found the original version to be the better version of the two. The Jennifer in the remake seemed more like a ghostly serial killer and ended up turning out to be just that. The difference between the two Jennifers is that the remake one suddenly disappears and (somehow) survives in the wild for a month. The Jennifer in the original goes back to casually living after the rape and decides to take revenge on her attackers about a week after. The remake also bothered me in a way because Jen's kills were too much, well...Jigsaw-like. She strung her attackers up in weird death traps and I wouldn't have been surprised if she was revealed to be one of Jigsaw's secret apprentices later on in the film. Given that, the traps were actually pretty interesting and creative. The big problem I had with the remake, aside from it seeming like a ripoff of the Saw series, was that it acted too much like a modern horror film. The rape scenes in the original were far more traumatizing and it seemed that the remake wasn't as ballsy enough to show more in that respect; all of this didn't cause me to care enough for Jen's plan like I did with the original. With all this being said, the original takes the battered up, dirty, and beaten cake. It's less unflinching and was more impacting than the remake for me. I also prefer the Jen in the original, although the new Jen is almost just as good. Oh, and the remake takes the term 'shotgun up the ass' to a whole other level.
I haven't seen either of these films, and I'm pretty sure I don't want to. The original got the infamous NO STARS rating from Roger Ebert; as an acolyte of The Ebert since I was 9, I know about all the major horror films of the 70's even though I've seen, like, none. "Shotgun up the ass", you say? This reminds me of the French film "Baise-Moi" which is in the same genre, and has to be the WORST film I have ever seen.
I haven't read enough Ebert to form a secure opinion, but thus far I lean towards the opinion that he's a sanctimonious ass-crack and a formulaic writer. Dinosaurs like him might not be extinct yet, but hopefully that kind of ponderous, holy repression will eat its last dick in my lifetime. These films essentially rest at opposite ends of my list. The original is tiresome and ugly to look at. It's too boring to make any impact, which is something common to retro horrors. I know I'm more desensitized that most, but that old-school atmospheric crap really is a struggle to live with. Although I evaluated the remake in an almost identical fashion to Reelz, I'm an advocate of modern slickness and torture porn ingenuity. Big fun, yo. If they bother making a loosely associated sequel I'll be there. Don't blink.
Heh, the way you put it, you make it sound like Roger Ebert is the Newt Gingrich of film critics.
I don't really like Ebert, but I don't think he's that easy to pigeonhole. He's not really a prude (see his confusing and awkward Gigli review), he just wants everything to either be purposeful, or fun. But this stuff is after his time, so he doesn't really see its purpose, or its fun. Oh well.
I was suprised by the remake it was good but didnt have the overall feeling and thought provoking context like the original! The Original had a moral compass and than at times twisted it a bit so controversial and might still be one of the most jaw dropping and prothetic Horror films ever! so much more than a rape fantasy or exploitive film! like Ebert once said! he often made big judges and leaps without fully understanding the films! The Original is still one of the best 70s horror films!