Friday, July 6, 2012

I Spit On Your Grave (1978) Review

A young beautiful New York writer, Jennifer Hills,  rents a cottage in the country in order to finish her first novel.   She stops at a Gas Station on the way to her Cottage to fill up and stretch her legs after a long drive from the city.  The Gas Station Attendant, Johnny,  finds her very attractive and flirts with her while he pumps her gas.  After she arrives at the Cottage on the lake,  Jennifer has some groceries delivered by Mathew,  a slightly mentally challenged boy that works at the local grocery store.  Matthew delivers the groceries, and then goes to tell his friends about the beautiful woman that he met by the lake.
Johnny, Matthew, and two other friends decide that Matthew needs to get laid. They conspire to attack Jennifer and hold her down so that Matthew can lose his virginity.   Jennifer fights with all her strength, but she is quickly over powered by the four men.  The men each take their turn raping and beating Jennifer until she can no longer stand or fight back.

I Spit On Your Grave AKA Day of the Woman  is infamous for the 25 minute long rape scene in the middle of the movie,  and for being on the Video Nasties list made in the UK.   Some films age gracefully and lose their shock value over the years.  After all, morals and values are quite different today than they were 34 years ago.  This is one of those rare films that are just as shocking and thought provoking as the day it was made.  The rape scene is truly disturbing to watch and will shock even the most seasoned viewers.  It shows the gang rape of a young woman in a very realistic and believable way.  Just when you think the rape is over and she will make her way back to the safety of her Cottage, she is attacked again and again.
I Spit On Your Grave does not use any type of music score to warn the viewer that something bad is about to happen.  Instead, the film is minimal and basic in telling the sad story, which makes it seem even more brutal somehow.  The only sounds during the rape are shrill screams from Jennifer and maniacal laughter from her attackers.

I remember watching I Spit On Your Grave when I was very young because it used to play on late night Cable TV.   I certainly remember it more vividly than most films I watched a long time ago, so it left a huge impression on my young mind.   Although the during the second viewing,  I found it wasn't as gory as I remembered all those years ago.  In fact most of the gory scenes don't even take place on camera.   The most disturbing scenes are during the rape not the revenge scenes.   The only revenge scene that is hard to watch is the bathtub scene, but it is mostly done with suspense and no real gore.

It might seem strange for a woman to say, but I actually enjoy a good rape/revenge movie.  It allows for the female character to be as evil and ruthless as she wants to be, but the audience still feels sympathy for her because of what happened to her.  A few of my favourites are Thriller A Cruel Picture, Ms. 45, Last House on the Left, and Sudden Impact I Spit On Your Grave is certainly one of the better exploitation films of the 70s.

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