on October 30, 2003
I really have to question the intelligence of anyone who would rate this movie five stars. But i think i got my answer when i read one of the five-star reviews: "There were sum really kewl scenes in it, like when the lady was naked and screaming".Yeah, that guy probably watched the movie instead of studying for his grade eight finals. I'm a HUGE fan of horror movies and have seen tons of them. But this one is totally pointless and tedious. If you took out the rape scene you would end up taking out about 40 minutes of the movie. The rape scene is extended way too long in this movie and it's unnecessary to have it dragged out this much. We get the point!! She gets raped and now she wants revenge. The other scenes after the rape and leading up to her revenge are boring and stupid. I hate how people are analyzing this movie as if they were writing some kind of thesis for film school or psychology class. And the fact that this is in widescreen and given more dvd features than most Warner Bros. and Paramount Pictures dvds is a sin of the biggest kind. I mean do we really care if this crap is in widescreen or not?? There is nothing enjoyable about this film and no redeeming value to this whatsoever. This is exploitational garbage of the worst kind. It's not even a B film. It's a grade Z film. Anyone who feels the burning need to own this dvd and to watch an extended rape scene needs serious life reflection time. There are about 200 other horror movies out there that are more important than wasting your time on this stupid turd.Figures that a foreign director who's not even from North American would come up with an idea for a film like this. Every American actor associated with this movie should be ashamed. I hope their careers all went down the toilet after doing this. If you still want to see this movie, i'd recommend keeping fresh battieries in your remote so you can fast-forward through most of it.
on October 1, 2003
This flick has what so many other great flicks have; nudity and blood. I think this is a great movie, perfect 70's drive-in camp if you will. Camille Keaton plays her role wonderfully. She played both the victim and the avenger perfectly.
This movie is most famous for it's bathroom scene when Camille kills one of her perpetrators. I also like when the idiot gets hung by his neck and gets dumped in the lake. The only complaint I would have with this movie is that while the first two kills were fabulous, the last two seemed rushed. While the first two were killed separately, the last two were killed together, I admit the ax in the back was great, but the boat motor's slicing and dicing was not that realistic. I mean who would climb into a boat on top of the motor?
You would almost think that this film was written and directed by a militant feminist. I mean the four men are just so dumb. Would they really expect a rape victim to suddenly come on to them and want their company? And why would the four men discuss rape, murder, and body decomposition in a tiny and crowded ice cream parlor at a volume where everyone can hear?
People can say what they want about this film, it's trash, it has no value, etc. But how many of the thousands of movies over the last thirty or forty years can claim the same? I believe it's the majority. This story could really happen I think, not in the exact way of course, but a story like this is entirely possible, and it wouldn't be pretty.
on September 24, 2003
Apart from that, a work of genius. I love it. A see once movie really, as it does not and cannot have the same impact twice. Very Andrea Dworkin, even the humour. Looked Scandinavian and reminded me of Bergman (Virgin Spring?) Has a memorable Boudica like climax only missing the Ride of the Valkyries on the soundtrack. Just great stuff.
A writer at the time related the polarized reactions in the theatre. "Kill the b***h!" Reposted on the distaff side with "right on, sister!" Unfortunately, certain parties didn't want things out in the open and the film suffered censure. There's a book to be written on the moral questions raised by the retarded guy alone, but I'll focus on a couple of things. The pivotal moment when Jennifer lowers her gun when she has her tormentor at her mercy. Does he have a point? Yes and no. At that moment it's like she reaches an understanding with nature and Keaton's enigmatic performance nails it. Is Jennifer's transformation too sudden or was she like that from the start? Another unexpected aspect is the ridiculing of her writing. In an odd way this really gets to you more than the rape. In a stroke of genius that makes the film, Jennifer seems to become 'Mary', a fictional character or characters in her own writing, descending upon the men like some incubus and getting poetic revenge for that particular sleight. In fact, I can't make up my mind if the film is merely (?) didactic, or a poetic lament. What it has to say about sexual politics is true.
Director's commentary: Unsurprisingly, Zarchi appeared to be European, and eccentric to boot. "Listen to the bird, she is saying: Peace on earth....peace on earth." He constantly quotes critics but is frustratingly parsimonious with his own impressions. He distastefully describes a real life rape while the fictional one is playing out but if this tragedy motivated him to make the picture then he should elaborate. We are left hanging as to his real motives. When he quoted 'hell hath no fury', he drew unflattering comparisons with Criswell in 'Plan 9'. There is an enigmatic moment when Jennifer types after the rape. Not a peep from the director on this. Zarchi's observations of male attitudes in the film are perceptive. The guy with the axe almost hiding in fear of Jennifer at the climax. The constant references to their mothers and calling on them in crisis. Many men will recognise themselves in these attitudes and excuses so I'm not surprised to see such fervent condemnation of 'Grave', but from the director, we get less than the dicky bird he is so fond of quoting. He appears to side with the poetic aspect, but he left me feeling puzzled and uncomfortable.
Briggs: Appears puzzled by the plot. Why didn't the men go in the house with matthew? Not difficult, if they want Matthew to be the fall guy, then they can't be in the same room when he's committing murder. Briggs considers the wife by the pumps scene superfluous. Surely this is one of the most telling moments in the film? I don't agree with his assertion that men shouting mysogynistic comments during theatrical performances of 'Grave' don't really mean it. It just proves to me the film was accurate in it's observations. Get it out in the open, I say. Perhaps Biggs sees the film as a lampoon, four burly men never really standing a chance against a smart cosmopolitan women from New York. Either way, I found his commentary to be largely superfluous.
on July 21, 2003
This is not a pullpit. This is not a soundoff for people with issues telling me to be horrified for being a part of the male species that commits the crimes depicted in this movie. Yes, sadly, some poor maligned soul actually wrote as much in one of the reviews here. This is a review of a horror movie. On to the review then shall we?
This is a somewhat disturbing film in that rape, for most, is a disturbing subject. As a graphic,. bloody horror movie, its pretty ordinary. The personal violence inflicted upon the main character, however, elevates the terror. A female writer decides to finish a book in a secluded cottage. Only its not so secluded. Close by is a small town inhabited by a bunch of red neck good old boys. They decide to savage the woman one day while she enjoys some time out boating. The scenes that follow are overly long and graphic. I'm sure the audience could have got the message with shorter and less revealing clips. Alas, the makers of this wanted to deliberatly create a stir. And so they have. They leave the woman for dead but she comes back and plots her revenge. The kill scenes are pretty lame. Nothing to creative here. A hanging. A stabbing. Creative use of boat propellers. but not enough of the red stuff. The killings are implied more than shown. Sometimes this works. In a movie like this, it doesnt. This is the kind of film that should run red in rivers. The movie spends to much time on the sodomy of the woman and doesnt know if its a horror pic or a drama. It tries to be both and fails.
on July 17, 2003
Surely you've heard the hype, but does this film live up to its reputation? Well that depends on whether you are expecting a sleazy trashy exploitation flick or a shocking cult classic.
Is it a good movie? By conventional standards like budget, dramatic acting, star power ect, this film is a dismal failure, a cheap exploitation flick nothing more many will tell you. Most people would read the title and just assume it's bad. But really this film is brilliantly directed, does it matter how much it cost to make? Is it still an exploitation flick when the director married the actress who is being 'exploited'? Why is it that films like this which use more naturalistic acting as opposed to dramatic acting are automatically classed as being poorly acted? Weren't the cast convincingly real especially Camille Keaton with her brave and harrowing performance? So what if everyone involved never went on to bigger projects or never appeared in any other films, this film will live in infamy forever and the stunningly beautiful Camille Keaton is already an immortal icon in cult horror. If it was better known under the more noble title "Day of the Woman" and not "I Spit on Your Grave" (which is about as campy as titles "Surf Nazis Must Die" and "Nude for Satan") would it be treated more seriously.
The real question isn't whether this is a good moive, but is this good cinema? Love it or hate it, how can you deny the power of a film that has such an effect on it's audience. The realism in the rape scenes, the lack of any musical score and voyeuristic yet artistic camera work deliver the kind of shear visceral power that big budget movies these days can only dream of possessing. So yes, this is undeniably spectacular cinema.
Why do people hate it? Roger Ebert would have you believe it's sick and pure garbage. However read his initial review and you will find he largely justifies his views by reactions from nonthinking audience members which he found appalling and not what was happening on screen. Still there is no shortage of people who call this film sick. Even more sad is how some people out there want to censor or ban this film (book burning religious zealots no doubt) just check, theres like two yahoo groups dedicated to this childish cause (pathetic though as they only have about a dozen members between them). This film is not made to be an enjoyable viewing experience, it pulls no punches, just because you don't like it does that mean it must be sick? Rape is a horrible crime, would it be more acceptable to portray it any other way?
What would posses someone to make such a film? Meir Zarchi wrote and directed the film after a real life encounter with a rape victim who he took to a police station (in retrospect he admits she should have gone to the hospital) and the cops were unsympathetic. This genuine horror he saw which existed in the real world which doesn't require werewolves or zombies, is the inspiration for the film. The revenge half of the film obviously an expression of the rage he felt at how the victim was treated, in the real world justice is rarely served. He uses in your face realism to get his message across. Just because his story is simple doesn't mean it's unintelligent. He dodges the one dimensional rapist stereotypes seen in other movies early on by humanising them with crude but still humorous personalities, one even has a family, the message: villains are real people too not comic book characters. One rapist while pleading pathetically tells Jennifer she asked for it by he way she walks and dresses, a damning criticism of some real life attitudes which state women are themselves to blame if they are attacked. The sequence of Jennifer after the attack is brilliant in displaying the traumatic detachment and loss of self suffered by real victims. It's the inclusion and excellent handling of the small details that elevate this movie beyond its low budget limits.
Why would anybody like this film? I personally admire powerful films, films that are unique whether they are shocking or thought provoking. One reviewer complained that the violence wasn't disturbing in comparison to some other films, hey if you have seen Dead/Alive like you claim (although I own and prefer the uncut version called Braindead) then you must know that the most goriest movie ever is a comedy. The gore isn't the real focus of this film anyway. I own uncut copies of Cannibal Holocaust, Men Behind the Sun, Cannibal Ferox, Anthropophagous, Flowers of Flesh and Blood and just about every notorious gore film out there. The only gore films more disturbing than ISOYG are Cannibal Holocaust and Men Behind the Sun, simply because like ISOYG these films are made by talented directors. Besides how could any amount of gore be disturbing when you want Jennifer to carry out her vendetta?
So does it live up to the hype? This film is something you experience not just another movie. It's definitely a well deserved cult classic and one of the original cornerstones of the video nasties. While the more jaded viewer might not find it as disturbing as some, this is still a film you won't soon forget. The Millennium Edition DVD is outstanding, the film has never looked better and you get two excellent commentary tracks. It's a shame they didn't get any input from Camille Keaton when putting the extras together on this DVD, but you can't have it all I guess. I wish I lived in the USA so I could go to a horror convention and ask Camille Keaton for her autograph.
Final thoughts? This is a challenging and outstanding cult masterpiece, it's a shame that this genuinely great piece of cinema is so universally misunderstood and under-rated.
on March 19, 2003
I get a chuckle out of many people's reaction to this movie, as opposed to Deliverance. While Deliverance had a higher budget and better acting, the plot is roughly the same - out of towner is raped by some yocals, who then pay for their crime with their lives through an act of revenge.
In this movie, viewers are more shocked that a woman is raped instead of a man. Anyone who has seen Deliverance will forever remember the words, "Squeal like a pig." Viewers of I Spit On Your Grave are not treated to the same physiological thrills; only, raw and brutal images.
I found the low-budget flick very refreshing from the usual Hollywood glitz and horror film cookie-cutter format. The plot was no worse off than, say, Friday the 13th for example. And, it was so unusual to see an abundance of gratuitous sex and violence in an American film.
Worthy of note - this film has been banned in several countries, including the UK, while Deliverance received no more than an R (18) Rating. I take this to mean that it's more socially acceptable to rape a man than a woman.
Aside from all the controversy, sex, and violence, I put it on par with Pink Flamingos. You don't need a billion dollar budget to tell a story or make a good shocker film.
on March 2, 2003
First off I do consider 'I Spit On Your Grave' aka-'Day Of The Woman' which I do actually prefere as the title, a cult classic. Some may just happen to hire and view the film by chance and laugh through it at some of the rapes and especially Jennifer's revenge on each rapist, but what I see and understand with each viewing is that as I interpret it, that it has an important message throughout out it, and in each scene. I really like this film, and I know in saying that, that it can be confusing for other people to understand that especially if they don't like or deeply understand the film as I do. I think it's a important film out there in the world and that it really says something if analised and watching each performance carefully. The beautiful Camille Keaton did a wonderful,honest,brave, spellbinding, mesmerising job as Jennifer Hills.The other actors who played the rapists were very good in their roles and pulled it off convincinly. One day while watching 'I Spit', my brother watched some of it and commented that the actors who were the rapists were crap. I believe that, that wasn't the case, it was just that they did such a convincing job that it somehow does affect the viewer. 'I Spit': Millennium Edition is worth the buy, the 2 commentaries are very informative. The Joe Bob Briggs one is excellent and I learnt quiet a lot, The Meir Zarchi one is good and more informative about some of the behind the scenes stuff, and it's very interesting to hear Meir tell his sad tale about a real rape that happened which in spired him to write 'I Spit'. The only thing I was disappointed about was that there wasn't any cast interviews. But all in all a great buy.
on January 8, 2003
i won't review the actual film I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE here because so many others have done a great job. what i'll do instead is rate the "millenium edition" disc itself because, after all, the only people buying it will be those who truly understand what an incredible piece of work this film is. feminist horror! who'd have ever thought it?
*Commentary by writer/director Meir Zachi...finally we get to hear from the man who started all the controversy. he has a thick accent and it's hard to understand him at times, but you really feel bad for the guy. this movie got slammed so hard by critics that theater chains pulled it from their screens! he only directed one other movie. poor guy, so talented. critics are the worst.
*Commentary by Featuring Cult Film Guru Joe Bob Briggs...the #1 reason to buy this disc! joe bob rules, this is up there with the best commentary tracks ever done. not only does he keep the discussion lively and informative, he balances it between joking about what's onscreen and giving numerous facts about the film. he proves that his knowledge of cult film (and film in general) is expansive, and his appreciation for this movie runs deep. every movie needs a joe bob commentary track if you ask me. well worth the $$$ just for this feature alone.
*Theatrical trailer(s), TV Spots...lots of these, and there's radio commercials too. cool.
*Animated Menu Screens...all incredible, just like the EVIL DEAD collectors edition. the scene index also has clips from each scene so you really know what's what.
*Still Photo Gallery...this is actually an easter egg, it's not labeled on the menu screens. to access it, go to the main menu and press up till the word GRAVE is highlighted in yellow. hit OK and you'll see some neato stills.
*Reviews...great stuff, allows you to read the scathingly awful reviews the film got from some really famous critics. joe bob references these reviews several times in his commentary.
*Interviews...there are none. i'd have given this disc 5 stars if it had interviews like the LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT disc has (cast reunion, director) none here.
*Foreign and Domestic Art...you can scroll through and look at video and dvd box art from around the world. in the menu screen it says you can look at posters for the film, but none are included.
*Full-screen and widescreen letterbox formats...widescreen only (that's fine. full screen has no place being on any dvd release of anything ever).
picture and sound are exceptional too, i should add. this disc is definitely worth getting.
on November 23, 2003
i could almost say this movie is bad all around, with the terrible acting and 20 mintute rape scene. however i guess if you like a lot of 70's gore, this one might be right up your alley. my problem with this movie isnt so much about the violence, its that all the characters were kinda flat. the four of the rapists didnt have much personality, you have the lead rapist, matthew the dimwhitted one, then two other guys who bearly even talked in the movie. jennifer was also a dull character, although she did a better acting job then the 4 goons did.
the rape scene was like 20 mintutes long, and violent and explicit, but the revenge scenes were quick, the only interesting revenge scene was the one in the bathtub, it was something you couldnt seem to look away from. and the guy getting hung was ok, but the last 2 kills were hurried at the end. so that was a gripe with me, and i dont think the rape scene needed to be that long, for one to get the idea how awful rape is.
on August 6, 2003
The attackers -- the so-called attackers -- in this film could have avoided all subsequent revenge (or even problems with police, courts etc) if each had said to the woman, "You better get some ice on that" after completing the act. That admonition (some might call it counselling) renders inoperative all suggestions of rape or assault, allowing the perpetrator to skate away free -- and even, in some instances, glean widespread support from society, as happened in one particular Arkansas rape case. In this film, however, the perpetrators did not skate away scott free. Rather, they experienced justice.
It was startling to find this film cast in DVD format, as it would normally be considered one of those old cheap throwaways, but obviously the producers thought otherwise. Enjoy -- and always remember the magic everything-is-okay, no-problem-at-all phrase following such an assault: You better get some ice on that.