Writer-director Meir Zarchi's controversial story of rape and revenge has lost none of its ability to shock viewers since it first gained notoriety in the late '70s. Camille Keaton (grand-niece of Buster Keaton and, later,... more » Zarchi's wife) stars as a young woman who is terrorized and then brutally assaulted by four men while on vacation. After slowly pulling herself together, she methodically tracks down and butchers each of the perpetrators. Zarchi's film has been consistently accused of celebrating violence against women, and while the rape scenes are graphic, they also lack the voyeuristic qualities that earmark other similarly plotted exploitation films. If anything, Zarchi is guilty of awkward scripting; the dialogue is leaden, and Keaton's transformation from victim to avenger is too swift. But to label him a pornographer is wrong, and while the film is challenging--perhaps more than most audiences can bear--its depiction of the psychology of violence is undeniably powerful. --Paul Gaita« less
Jill P. (zoby) from ABILENE, TX Reviewed on 3/19/2009...
B-movie garbage. Don't waste your credit on this
2 of 3 member(s) found this review helpful.
Not a movie you watch in the presence of other people
PSM/Bokor | United States | 07/27/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I remember first seeing " I Spit on Your Grave" twenty plus years ago when I was fifteen or sixteen years old. The video store should have never allowed me to rent it; this film deserves a stronger rating than R.
Certainly, over the years my memory had embellished the film; nonetheless, it still shocked me, today.
It is easy to forget that there are actors following a script. The film is evenly paced and unrelenting. Unlike " The Last House on the Left," there is no comic relief to remind the viewer that there is a director. One is forced to confront the brutality of rape and violence.
The actress is quite convincing and deserves recognition. The rape scenes are borderline snuff quality except for the fact the editing and directing have moments of brilliance. The men are sickening and easily hated; they are just vicious animals without any redeeming qualities, yet they are believable. Let us not forget, there are men who commit these attrocities. One can appreciate why she seeks revenge.
Without question, the rape scenes are some of the most disturbing moments in cinematic history. The castration scene is unparalleled. The special effects are just that, effective.
The DVD is an excellent package. " I Spit on Your Grave" isn't presented as a low budget film. It is art; it's not a slasher flick; it's not meant for entertainment.
One of the most infamous exploitation movies ever made
Lawrance M. Bernabo | The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota | 07/06/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"When movies first came out on video there were two legendary exploitation films I had to track down. One was "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" and the other was "I Spit on Your Grave," which is actually the more memorable film of the pair overall (although I do grant the highest place to the "hook" scene in TCM). Director Meir Zarchi's 1978 film has become rather infamous, since critics hated it, audiences were outraged, and the film was banned in Germany and Great Britain. The story, such as it is, finds Jennifer Hill (Camille Keaton, Buster's grand-niece) out in the woods of Connecticut to work on a novel when she crosses the path of some local boys who decide she should be the first sexual partner for their mentally-disabled friend. When he cannot complete the rape, his friends do it for him. Then they decide that they are not done with Jennifer.At issue are not Jennifer's specific acts of revenge, including the infamous bathroom scene, but rather the series of brutal rapes that precede them. I do not want to meet anyone who is not disturbed by these rape scenes and I think it is fairly obvious that Zarchi intended to make audiences uncomfortable. In retrospect you have to wonder about all those movies with rape scenes that do NOT upset the audience (the current obvious exception that proves the rule would be what happens in "Monster" right before the first murder). But Zarchi certainly pours it on thick, absolutely assuring that things go beyond the tolerance level of anyone who watches this film. So the bottom line is that this film will upset you and it is therefore effective at doing exactly what it wants to do. I have always considered this an "X" rated movie although I would not consider it pornographic in the traditional sense. But it is a very disturbing film and I do not think I would want my kids to see it until after they graduate college (if ever). Anyone renting this film for cheap thrills is in for a shock.As I now understand it, this 1978 film was originally released as "Day of the Woman," but that rather innocuous title was replaced by the well known "I Spit on Your Grave," although the film was also screened as "I Hate Your Guts" and "The Rape and Revenge of Jennifer Hill." All of this is interesting since it seems the producers were trying to pass off this film with both higher and lover levels of pretention. The cult status here is more for the shock value than any cheap artistic pretentions, that is for sure."
At last Meir Zarchi explains himself
David H. Downing | Psoli, PA | 11/06/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Well, now all the folks who wish writer/director Meir Zarchi would explain his controversial, infamous, and disturbing rape and revenge film can get their wish for the price of this Millennium edition DVD, which includes a feature-length commentary by Zarchi. In this commentary, Zarchi confirms what this film's defenders (including me) have been claiming all along -- that his intention was definitely not to promote rape to his male viewers, but rather to expose the true ugliness of the crime. He talks at length about the real-life encounter with a rape victim that inspired the film, and about the people he worked with in making it. He also discusses the technical aspects in enough detail to prove this is not the shoddy, haphazard production some folks want to claim it is. I also learned a few interesting facts about the film business in general. For example, when you submit a movie to the MPAA, they'll tell you it has to be cut to get an R rating, but they won't tell you WHAT to cut.Besides answering your questions about the film, Zarchi's commentary also provides a clue as to what sort of person he is. Overall, he comes across as intelligent, articulate, and even compassionate.However, he also comes across as a bit egotistical, which is why the second feature-length commentary by Joe Bob Briggs is useful for its more balanced perspective. Although Briggs defends the movie, pointing out specific scenes that exemplify its anti-rape viewpoint, he's objective enough to point out flaws where he sees them. For example, why on earth did Johnny send the mentally-challenged Matthew back to the house to kill Jennifer, when Matthew was almost certain to bungle the job? Briggs also addresses two ethical questions that have always bothered me. The first is whether Matthew deserves to die, and the second is whether Johnny's wife and children deserve to have their husband/father respectively taken away from them.This DVD also includes various trailers, TV spots, and posters, including some promoting the movie under its original title, DAY OF THE WOMAN. There are also posted from a wide assortment of countries, in a wide assortment of languages. I wish the extras had also included the original version of the opening, with the title DAY OF THE WOMAN in the credits, but maybe there are no prints in existence.So, if you want to own this movie on DVD, this is the edition to buy. If you own an earlier edition, you might consider selling it to raise part of the price of this one."
A vicious assault on the senses - but then, shouldn't it be?
David H. Downing | 04/07/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"In the UK, this film was on the very top of the 'video nasties' list of 1984, along with 'New York Ripper' and 'Cannibal Holocaust'. However, having finally watched it, I cannot see what all the fuss was about. True - it is a disturbing film which does feature pro-longed rape scenes and sadistic levels of revenge (very understandable too!), but comes across as exactly what it is - a 'rape/revenge shocker'.The film itself is alittle twisted, Meir Zarchi spending almost too long showing scenes of brutal rape (however, never in a pornographic fashion - this is realistic violence and well acted). The lack of music is also very clever, adding to the realism. The plot is thin, but the acting holds it up and overall, I would suggest that if you are curious, as I was, then watch it atleast once, before jumping on the bandwagon and condemning it before even seeing it (as many others have). This version is both uncut and fully re-mastered, another fantastic job by 'Anchor Bay' who seem to transfer most notorious classics extremely well to both VHS and DVD - forcing me to add another star to the review.Hate this film or like it - it is well made and does have a message; the way that the message is delivered is so full on, that most viewers could be upset by it, but then, isn't this the intention anyway - do you really want to watch a film about rape that is both comfortable and enjoyable?"
Why most people who hate this movie just don't get it...
Kablamo! | New York City | 06/15/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I am so tired of reading posts about how somebody "can't believe that anyone would watch this trash," "this movie is a waste of time," etc. I am equally tired of reading the obligatory disclaimers that every supporter of this movie seems to include in posts about how watching a rape scene is so difficult, and implying that a rape scene is the most horrible thing that can possibly be filmed.
I think it's interesting that rape is so taboo, but just about any other form of violence is not at all. Look at Silence of the Lambs, for instance. That is a critically acclaimed movie that is aired on network TV at least twice a year, and it seems to be the sort of gruesome torture movie that the whole family can love! How is Buffalo Bill's serial-killing of women, and torturing of women by keeping them in a well in his basement, less disturbing than a woman being raped?
That movie not graphic enough for the argument to be valid? How about the new (and thoroughly crappy) movie, Hostel. Aside from the fact that the movie is just not a good film in the genre, look at its content: in one scene, a young girl is tortured so that her eye is removed from its socket and her face is severely burned. Now I have to ask... how is ISOYG's Jennifer's ordeal even remotely comparable to that girl's? At least Jennifer has a full physical recovery and even gets to exact revenge on all of her perpetrators!
And yet ISOYG exists only in a sort of underground world where most people who watch it and find it to be a satisfying film would be quite hesitant to admit so in mixed company. All because of the rape.
Personally, I thought this movie was fantastic because I am driven toward and satisfied by movies that strike me as being very real and generate a strong emotional response from me. I found the characters and plot to be quite believable, and the film aesthetic to be thoroughly creepy. Like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, the documentary feel and the horror-juxtaposed-with-beautiful-scenery was very effective, and it reminds me of how often, in real life, there is crazy stuff going on beneath a picturesque veneer. There were so many intelligent, small details in this movie that contribute to its realness. Most Steven Spielberg flicks do not achieve that.
ISOYG has to be one of my favorite films of all time because I was utterly transfixed throughout the entire viewing, emotionally connected to it. I will never forget several of the scenes. How many films do that? I can count those that I've seen on two hands, and I have seen a LOT of movies. Further, I can't help but feel like I learned something by watching this film and all of the thinking that it stimulates about our world. These kinds of scenes play out in life every day (just watch the news) and perhaps you ignore them at your peril.
The world I live in is mostly civilized and happy. I watch a lot of movies, and few of them are horror. I would never in a million years intentionally hurt another person except in defense (or maybe in revenge, in the moment, who knows). So I don't feel guilty about watching this or enjoying it. I'm glad I can watch it from the comfort and safety of my sofa, and I hope that's the only place I'll ever see it. But if I should ever find myself the victim of something like this, perhaps I will handle it a little better without having the naivete of those who would refuse to watch such "garbage." "