Tuesday, August 17, 2010

my thoughts on.... 'I Spit On Your Grave aka Day Of The Woman'

first off, i just have to clarify one stupid point.... the cover of the DVD used here is NOWHERE to be seen in the movie....! it's a stock shot to sell the movie based on a sexy half naked woman.... which actually kind of defeats the purpose of what the director was trying so hard to make the focus of the movie.... the power of a woman bent on revenge.... not how sexy she looks with a knife.... but that's marketing for you.

Roger Ebert and the late Gene Siskel both felt that this was the worst kind of garbage to be ever put on the screen.... and the extra features boast their entire reviews for you to read.... i guess in a way it's kind of a badge of honor.... it also shows a list of the cast, producer and director's filmographies and for most of them, this was the only movie they ever made.... it ruined some careers.... have i peaked your interest yet....? and i haven't even scratched the surface.... this movie also has the dubious honor of having the longest gang rape sequence in movie history.... granted, it's not over 30 minutes of the poor woman being raped over and over again by the 4 evil men.... it's more of a chase, rape, chase, rape situation.... which makes it no less abhorrent.... it actually makes it that much worse in my opinion.... because every time you think that our heroine is safe, the men re-appear and do more horrific things to her.... and Camille Keaton (great grand daughter of of Buster Keaton) makes it so believable that you almost feel like you're watching a snuff film in the making.... the only other rape scene that ever bothered me more was the 9 minute unflinching rape scene in 'Irreversible'.... that one still wins the prize for most disgusting and hard to watch.... (i dare you to watch that film and not feel sick by the end.... it's purposely designed to make you ill.)

now let's take a short break from everything and talk about the plot.... a woman from New York heads out to a cabin on a lake to write her first novel.... the townsfolk all seem extremely nice.... too nice.... and over time they become increasingly more and more involved in her life and she soon realizes that perhaps it's not kindness on their minds.... one day while sunning herself in her canoe, two of the men drag her and the canoe to a remote location where they meet up with the other two men who proceed to chase, taunt, rape and brutalize her.... once it's finally over, they leave her for dead.... but what they didn't realize is that she survived the attack and for the next two weeks begins to plot her revenge.... and boy does she exact an eye for an eye.... okay.... so we've covered some of the major points of this movie, but what we haven't discussed was the director's intentions and why he made the movie in the first place.... Meir Zarchi set out to make a movie about the power of a woman.... he even called it 'Day Of The Woman' because of this.... but the studio felt that it wasn't punchy enough.... they wanted something that would sell tickets, thus 'I Spit On Your Grave'.... and as far as this movie goes.... i have to admit, despite my sickness with the subject matter of rape, i understand the point he was trying to make.... perhaps he didn't go about it in the right way....? who's to say....? ultimately the woman did hold all the power.... and she knew how to weild it.... her biggest weapon being the power of sex itself.... (and some choice weapons, including a gun a knife, some rope and a speedboat).... she used her own body and lure to get the men to trust her so she could in turn destroy them.... why didn't she call the police....? why didn't she just leave after it happened so it didn't possibly happen again....? it seems that she felt like the only real justice had to be carried out by herself and no one else.... this was her way of regaining her power as a woman.... and to prove that no man had control over her or her body....

as a movie, it is 100% 70's low budget horror/thriller.... the production values are fairly low and the film itself doesn't have too difficult of a plot.... however, it was so influencial that it started a wave of rape/revenge movies.... yet another way for Hollywood to cash in on something over the top and that caught the media's eye and pervert it into a cash cow.... it's slow in some places, but never dull.... the acting is above par.... especially Camille Keaton.... i can't say that i hated it.... but i find rape disgusting and very difficult to watch, even if it's just pretend on a movie screen.... so all in all it earned 3 out of 5 stars for me.... however, i knew a lot about it going into it, so i knew what to expect.... that's part of the reason i'd been putting it off for years.... i'd seen some of it's offspring in my youth and just never found them too appealing.... granted, i enjoy a good revenge movie as much as the next guy.... but let's leave the rape out of it.... however, i'll make an exception in the case of this movie and 'Irreversible'.... as it served a purpose and there was an end to the means.... does that make it right or does that make the actions of the women in the film right....? no.... but it gives the power back to those who've lived through something like this and never had the chance to exact their pound of flesh.

if you enjoy this: just throw a rock at a wall of 70's movies and you'll hit two more movies that are very similar to this one.


  1. Your assessment is amazingly hard to argue with Joel. It seems to me like every movie about female empowerment, rising above rape, etc., pales in comparison to "The Last House on the Left" but "I Spit on Your Grave" is really only good for blood and the vengeful spirit. The sad thing is they are remaking this for later this year. More proof the there is no original material anymore in Hollywood.

  2. Well said. The movie is a basic revenge flick with no pretenses, and no surprises. A better story is Lady Lawbreaker by G,J. Fuller [it's at amazon.com]. In that story, the an insane beauty with dark humor and lethal skills gives two murderers a night they'll never forget. And it's based on a true story!