Film Review: I Spit on Your Grave (1978)

SYNOPSIS:

Director Meir Zarchi’s revenge movie has the dubious honor of containing one of the longest and most violent gang-rape scenes on film. When writer Jenny Hill (Camille Keaton) rents a remote cabin, she’s surprised to find that the local townsfolk are friendly — too friendly, in fact. What follows is decidedly unpleasant: After being brutalized, violated and left for dead, Jenny goes on her own spree of killing, mutilation and castration.

REVIEW:

Written by: Meir Zarci
Directed by: Meir Zarci
Starring: Eron Tabor, Richard Pace, Anthony Nichols, Gunter Kleemann and Camille Keaton

Hell-o, everyone, especially the ladies. This one’s for you. If you have seen the film, then you know that I mean that in a good way. This is the pioneering rape/ revenge film that pissed off critics throughout the United States. Honestly, if you are a woman and can make it past the brutality of the first half of the film, the second half is your redeeming moment of bloody vengeance… That’s right everyone, it’s “I Spit… On Your Grave,” also known as Day of the Woman.

This is the classic that caused outrage wherever it played throughout nineteen – seventy – eight. This film stands alone as one of the most controversial films ever made. The film starts out kind of slow. The first twenty minutes are practically dead, making way for characterization of our lovely main character, Jennifer (Camille Keaton) Hill. She is a Writer that has left New York City to write her first novel after a series of articles in Woman’s magazines. She is brutally assaulted and left for dead by four animal-like hillbillies. Their biggest mistake was not checking to see if they finished the job, after letting the wrong member of the group complete it. They have just signed their own death warrants. Jennifer makes herself right with her lord, asks for forgiveness and returns to the cabin in which she was terrorized to shed some rapist blood… and what a good job she does.

On the original one sheet for the film (upon release), it read… This woman has just CUT, CHOPPED, BROKEN, and BURNED five men beyond recognition… but no jury in America would ever convict her. This statement is not quite true. Not a single person is burned, and there were only four men. The new edition (with the alternate title, Day of the Woman) reads… This woman has just CHOPPED, CRIPPLED and MUTILATED four men beyond recognition… but no jury in America would ever convict her. This description is a bit more accurate. Personally, I think two of the murders should have been switched. It would have been symbolic to the plot. You’ll know when you see it.

The film itself is not filmed like it’s a movie, but more like a documentary. There is absolutely no soundtrack. The camera shots are long and drawn out to a voyeuristic view. This film has what Joe Bob Briggs calls “the long shot of long shots.” Everything and every shot is drawn out in this film. The torture, the rape and the deaths. There is one jump scare that I will not mention. It will surprise you. The camera work captures the serene surroundings of our heroin as well as the abuse that she endures and the punishment that she dishes out in return. Her plate of revenge is served very cold, and well deserved. These four men get what they truly deserve in the end. As they die off, one cannot help but hate them more and more, until their brutally painful demise. These guys really show how uneducated they are throughout the duration of their now self shortened lives. Also, it shows the families of the rapists, to show how f*cked up they truly are to do this to a woman with a wife and kids of their own.

The relentlessly unflinching camera makes the viewer feel like you are there. It does make you feel dirty, and at the end, redeems the filth with showers (and a bath) of blood. The Gore Score is about at a medium seven and a half, as far as graphic violence goes. Don’t let this fool you, viewer… This film is f*cking graphic. During the rape scenes (unless you are just pure heartless), you feel Jennifer’s pain. She has one of the most painful screams one has ever heard. This has been proclaimed by someone that has heard plenty, Joe Bob Briggs.

The reason I have brought him up twice now is because he is a big part of the re-issue as Day of the Woman. I have both issues and one DVD has no Special Features. The Millennium Edition, on the other hand, is full of extras. There is a commentary by The Writer and director, Meir Zarchi. He explains how he got the idea for the film by actually witnessing a woman after she was raped that was nude and screaming for help. There are theatrical trailers and foreign and domestic poster art. There are reviews with Meir Zarchi that go further into the making and his relationship with Camille Keaton. The two got together for a short period of time. The best feature in my opinion is the second, alternate commentary with the one and only, Joe Bob Briggs. He rips other critics apart (such as Roger Ebert, who wanted to ban it throughout Chicago) that have raped this film in their reviews. He explains why I spit on Your Grave (or …”I spit… on your grave,” as he imitates the preview) is NOT an exploitation film. He points out that if it were, it would show every bead of water on her body. This film does not. It does not even get close. Yes the rapes are graphic, but that gives the audience as much sympathy for Jennifer as possible before she gets her violent, one woman justice. In return, you feel less sympathy for the bastards that assaulted her as she sends each of them to their graves. Also (another bonus), each of her victims/ former attackers beg her for their lives as much as she begged them to stop. They pulled every pathetic reason to live out of their asses and she shoved them right back down their throats.

The reviews for this film are varied from “The most repulsive film ever made”… to “Truly a masterpiece of cinema.” The final opinion is up to you. This is a piece of cinematic history to witness for yourself and make your own decisions. I don’t see why any woman would dislike this film, if you can make it past the first half (it is brutal and only gets worse). It is made for you. The woman is the violently abused victim, the stalking avenger and the bloodthirsty heroin. With this being said… I give this film, I Spit On Your Grave, FOUR HORNS (OF VIOLENT FEMALE VENGEANCE) UP. 

Until next time, this was Jay… Keep one foot in the grave, one fist in the guts and your eyes out for gore… Later.

Disc 1 (Blu-ray): Feature Film – new cut

Extras:

UK Exclusive video interview with Director Meir Zarchi • Trailers • TV Spots • Radio Spots • Sleeve and poster Image Gallery • Image Gallery from Director’s Personal Collection • Reviews & Articles from Around the World • In-Depth Essay -What Do People Think & Say About ISOYG • DVD Monthly Interview • Filmographies • Audio commentary by Director Meir Zarchi & Film Critic Joe Bob Briggs

Disc 2 (DVD): Feature Film – new cut

Extras:

UK Exclusive video interview with Director Meir Zarchi • Trailers • TV Spots • Radio Spots • Sleeve and poster Image Gallery • Image Gallery from Director’s Personal Collection • Reviews & Articles from Around the World • In-Depth Essay -What Do People Think & Say About ISOYG • DVD Monthly Interview • Filmographies • Audio commentary by Director Meir Zarchi & Film Critic Joe Bob Briggs

Extras:  • UK Exclusive video interview with Director Meir Zarchi• Trailers  

• TV Spots• Radio Spots  

• Sleeve and poster Image Gallery• Image Gallery from Director’s Personal Collection  

• Reviews & Articles from Around the World• In-Depth Essay -What Do People Think & Say About ISOYG  

• DVD Monthly Interview • Filmographies  

• Audio commentary by Director Meir Zarchi & Film Critic Joe Bob Briggs.

I Spit on Your Grave (1978)

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