A pretty young writer from NYC takes a vacation in a remote rural area with the intention of writing a novel. Her avocational activities are interrupted by a small group of bored hicks who viciously gang rape her. This doesn't sit too well with our heroine; revenge ensues.
Meir Zarchi's infamous exploitation movie has aged pretty well, still possessing enough gory surprises to shock all but the most hardened viewers. The first half of the film is predictable enough, and it moves at a leisurely pace, even during the notorious extended rape sequence. While Zarchi possesses a talent for developing tension, quite a lot of the film's first hour consists of filler. However, the film's second half is quite the opposite; in its most violent scenes, this movie generates an ambiance of atavistic vengeance that's very, very rare in any contemporary medium, especially the motion picture. While this film is comparable to its peers (Death Wish, Ms. 45), Zarchi's take on the subject of revenge is more primal, deliberate and satisfying than most others.
The quality of this feature's production values are mixed. While Zarchi is a director of slight invention, his editing is clumsy, sometimes embarrassingly so. The cinematography is a cut above that of most B-movies, but the sound is awful; much of the dubbed dialogue sounds as though it were recorded in a bathroom.
The performances of the supporting cast range from mediocre to uncomfortably bad. But in the lead, Camille Keaton isn't just gorgeous eye candy; she plays her role with a conviction that's alternately compelling and disturbing. Keaton conveys the trauma and menace of her character with such impassive realism that the audacity of the plot doesn't seem as absurd as it is.
After a failed theatrical run, Day of the Woman was re-released a few years later with the more famous title of I Spit on Your Grave to greater success and widespread attention. Much of the movie's publicity was generated by Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel, whose moronic campaign against it only produced greater profits for Zarchi and his financiers. I Spit on Your Grave was also banned in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, West Germany, Ireland, Finland, Norway, Iceland, Singapore, the Philippines, Malaysia, China and Thailand, and heavily cut for theatrical showings in many other countries. Considering that the film's promotional materials focus on the story's element of revenge and the protagonist's femininity, the popular misconception of it as a glorification of violence against women seems baffling.
I couldn't make it through the disturbing rape scenes in the flick without fast forwarding. Granted, that traumatic and horrific experience is supposed to be shared with the victim so that we'll completely be with her on her vengeance trip, but I thought it went too far...
I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE is one of the most notorious pictures ever released during the seventies. Along with LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT and Thriller: A cruel picture, it's one of the greatest revenge flicks of that era. A feminist writer goes out to the country so she could have some peace and quiet whilst working on her first novel. Instead she runs into a group of male locals who decide to have some fun with her. Things get out of hand as the poor writer suffers a day of horror that no one … more
Jennifer is a writer who heads out to a country cabin to spend time writing her novel. What she didn't count on was the small town local yokels, a group of savage .... rednecks who see her as an easy target. Which she is. They all set upon her and rape her one by one, in a fairly drawn out part of the movie. She is raped, then let go, then caught and raped again, then let go, then caught and raped again, and so forth. Finally, the "boys" convince the dim-witted grocery deliver boy to go back in … more
Starring Camille Keaton, Eron Tabor, Richard Pace, Anthony Nichols Directed by Meir Zarchi Writer: Meir Zarchi 1978
Also Known As:I Hate Your Guts I Spit on Your Grave The Rape and Revenge of Jennifer Hill (USA) (poster title)
DVD features Elite Entertainment's Millennium Edition DVD presents I Spit on Your Grave in anamorphic widescreen and with optional audio tracks (Dolby Digital Mono, Dolby Digital 5.1, and DTS 5.1, the last of which best highlights the film's lonely soundscape). Fans will undoubtedly want to hear Meir Zarchi's commentary track, given that he's remained mostly silent about the film since its release. Zarchi provides a great deal of background information (including the events that inspired the film) and technical detail, as well as a bit of self-aggrandizement about its place in cinema history. His accent is difficult to understand at times, and less devoted viewers may enjoy cult critic Joe Bob Briggs's more lighthearted commentary as an alternative. The extras are rounded out by a wealth of international promotional art and trailers, as well as a collection of reviews, including Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel's damning write-ups, which helped to fan the flames of controversy surrounding the film. --Paul Gaita