I must warn you right away, that today's review will be about a movie that deals with multiple graphic rape scenes. So if this is a trigger for you, please use caution while reading this review and also if you chose to watch this movie and trailer (provided below).
Today's movie is the 1978 original I Spit on Your Grave directed by Meir Zarchi. It stars Camille Keaton as Jennifer Hills, the main protagonist. The story follows Jennifer who is a writer and rents a cabin in upstate New York in order to finish her novel. After a few days, she gets raped by a group of boys rapes and then eventually takes her revenge. I shit you not, that is the basic story arc of this film. Nothing deep to this film. Although I must say, it got me thinking of a lot of "what would you do" scenarios.
One of the first things that stood out to me about this movie was that there is no soundtrack. Nothing to tip you off about something lurking in the shadows about to jump. I would venture that this was a strategic move made by Zarchi, it makes what you are seeing all the more real and harder to watch.
Don't believe me? Just try watching this trailer:
According to IMDB trivia, this movie is often sited by movie critic Roger Ebert as the worst movie ever made. I have also heard that this movie was banned in Australia for quite a while, so if that doesn't spike your interest than I don't know what will!
For someone who read, directed, and participated in the show The Vagina Monologues, this movie was pretty hard to watch. The rape scenes are very brutal. I felt bad for the Keaton, who had to spend a majority of her time on screen naked. [I guess a "plus" to this is knowing that all the male actors asked to appear naked on film to show solidarity for Keaton] Ironically Keaton stated that she was fine with the nudity, but was more worried about walking around barefoot in the woods. She was eventually taken to the hospital due to all the mosquito bites that she had acquired over filming. Could you even begin to imagine having to walk around a movie set naked, let alone in the woods, in the summer, with all the bugs and mosquitoes? Keaton should have won an Academy Award just for having to do that!
I will say this though, this movie does not glorify rape at all. If anything it shows you what can actually happen to people who are raped. However, when the actress begins her killing spree, she uses her body as revenge. Not 100% sure how I feel about that tactic, but I suppose since she seems to lack superior strength and intelligence she just uses what she has: her body.
Once I got to the bathroom scene, I began to wonder if perhaps Lorena Bobbitt had taken a note from this movie when she did her little ditty on her husband John.
Now, I know that they made a remake of this movie in 2010, I haven't seen it. And honestly I'm not sure if I would want to (the remake is not currently streaming on Netflix). There is a sequel to the remake that is due to be released next month, I'm sure it is of the "Direct to DVD" variety.
If by the end of the film you feel like you've just had deja vu, it will be most likely due to the face that Friday the 13th Part 2 was filmed using the same location.
For a movie that is just barely over 90 minutes long, this one seemed to drag on forever. The revenge scenes left me feeling only partially satisfied and the ending was very lacking.
IMDB gives I Spit On Your Grave 5.5 out of 10 stars. Rotten Tomatoes gives it a 55% with a 43% audience approval rating. I would give this one and a half skulls...with a few teeth missing...
Again, I caution you to watch this film.
Sleep tight and don't let the zombies bite!