Monday, November 17, 2008

I Spit on Your Grave (1978)

This movie sure had a hard time getting out there. It was originally released in 1978 as "Day of the Woman." It did terribly in the box office and was re-released in 1981 as "I Spit on Your Grave." It was also shown at one point as "The Rape and Revenge of Jennifer Hill".

This movie is quite infamous for being banned in several countries, and having to cut 17 minutes from it just to get an R rating. Roger Ebert called this movie the "worst in history."
I actually recommend watching this movie twice (although not necessarily in a row) I initially watched this movie a couple of years ago in it's original state. Then I recently re-viewed it with Joe Bob Briggs' commentary. I love JBB (Bring back Monster Vision!) and he actually softens the difficult-to-watch parts of the movie with his commentary. Not to mention providing a bunch of historical info on the flick.
I Spit on Your Grave is about a young Manhattan professional who moves to the woods of Connecticut for the summer to write a novel. Unfortunately, she's quickly noticed by the locals, who become quite interested in her. These guys scope her out for a while, and then wait until she's sunbathing alone in a canoe, and stage their attack. They drag her into the woods and brutally rape her. But that's not enough. They let her think she's escaping, track her down, and rape her again. They drag her back to her summer house, and repeatedly rape, torture, and humilate her. If you count from the time they drag her from the boat, this constitutes the longest rape scene in cinematic history.
There's a token mentally challenged friend among the bunch, and they send him back into the house to make sure she's good and dead. But he can't bring himself to kill her, and instead wipes some blood on the knife, and exictedly shows his friends what he accomplished. Unfortunately for them, Jennifer is healing up and plotting her revenge.
Some time later (it's not clear how long) Jennifer calls for groceries, and Matthew (token slow guy) has to go deliver them. She seduces him, a process that ends in his death. The ringleader of this little group follows, with the infamous castration scene, which I don't believe was matched until Hard Candy, and more recently, Teeth. The death of the other two dipshits inevitably follows.
One of the major arguments with this movie is whether or not it is a feminist movie. I have to side with the camp that it is a feminist story. She fights against her attackers during the rape, and is only unable to fend them off due to the 4:1 ratio. And then instead of crawling into a corner and being a victim, she uses her sexual wiles to execute an awesome and bloody revenge.
Grade: A (Ellen Page in Hard Candy: Revenge on perverts gone oh-so-good)