Saturday, February 19, 2011

I Spit On Your Grave - Torture Accompanied with Sweet Revenge


Many movies have those moments that make you tense up, but there are only a few that make you cringe throughout its entirety. Some of my cringe-worthy movies include Blue Velvet, Requiem for a Dream, and Meet the Parents. I can now add another movie to the list: Meir Zarchi's 1978 exploitation film I Spit On Your Grave.

Gaining interest in exploitation films after the release of Tarantino's and Rodriguez's Grindhouse, this is a movie I've been trying to get my hands on for quite some time. Ebay and Amazon are filled with region free copies and the overpriced Millennium Edition, but I never felt like dishing out the money. But when I recently stopped by my local Movie Stop, I was able to obtain the new blu-ray transfer that coincides with the release of the 2010 re-make. However, when I finally had it in my hands, it took some time and nerves to finally open it up and watch it.

The story is about Jennifer Hills (played by Camille Keaton) as she escapes from the big city to a country cabin for solitude to write her new novel. After four local men see her sunbathing by the lake, they drag her out to the woods and horrifically rape her. When thought for dead, she gets her revenge on each of them using vicious forms of torture.

This movie is extremely hard to watch. I didn't time the length of the rape scene (or should I say sequences), but it never seemed to end. I can't imagine viewing it with someone else, but you really want to show it to others so you can discuss it. After witnessing this unforgiving torture, you cannot disagree with the movie's clever tagline : "This woman has just cut, chopped, broken, and burned five men beyond recognition... But no jury in America would ever convict her!" Just look at movies like Kill Bill, Last House on the Left, Law Abiding Citizen, and the Godfather - Revenge is a sweet thing, and movie-goers can't get enough of it. The revenge is the audience's reward after suffering with the protagonist. In this film, Jennifer's revenge is brutal because before she puts them through agony, she seduces them with her bodacious body. From the pictures below, you get an idea of how the four guys ended up with what they deserved:


In addition to the subject matter, the score makes this movie terrifying- There is none. Only the ambient sounds of moving water or wind in the trees can be heard. Occasionally you hear a record playing or church bells ringing, otherwise this movie is totally absent of music. This shows the true isolation of Jennifer as she suffers and fights back on her own. Also, the blu-ray transfer brilliantly displays the richness of the surrounding outdoors. Even though Mother Nature is beautiful, it is humanity that is cruel.

In today's cinema, there may be some images that surpass the torture in I Spit On Your Grave. But you cannot discount the pain displayed and how people revolted against it during its time. I don't plan on watching this movie anytime soon, but when I do, it will be with the commentaries so I gain more insight on the film (and so I don't feel so alone). It's not very re-watchable and isn't for everyone, but it will definitely go down in exploitation history.

So on Death List Five, I Spit On Your Grave ranks #3.

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