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Overall Rating

Awesome: 19.78%
Worth A Look: 24.18%
Pretty Bad: 13.19%
Total Crap: 14.29%

5 reviews, 61 user ratings

I Spit On Your Grave (1978)
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by The Ultimate Dancing Machine

"Some girls...."
3 stars

The film poster bears one of those gasping taglines you could only get away with in the '70s: "This woman has just cut, chopped, broken and burned five men beyond recognition... but no jury in America would ever convict her!" Actually, she whacks FOUR men, and I don't remember anybody getting "burned," but who's counting?

It is, from beginning to end, a strange case: a bloody, disgusting movie that dares to turn its sex-and-violence palette into something resembling a feminist statement. The movie leaves a noxious taste in the mouth. It has just enough of a serious undertone that you can't dismiss it as only another exploitation film, but the female-empowerment angle is hard to take. I Spit on Your Grave has the air of one of those "educational" nudie films of the '60s: it pretends to carry an important message, but you know damn well why they really made it.

The skeletal plot has a young writer (Camille Keaton, who's related to a certain silent-film star) moving into a cottage in the woods to begin her novel. Instead, she's raped by four local rednecks. She survives the attack, and later kills them off one by one. The End.

The dialogue is minimal, the soundtrack almost nonexistent, and subplots are absent. The film's bare-bones simplicity gives it the feel, almost, of a primitive myth: nurturing Woman encounters brutish Man deep in the forest. That's not as pretentious as it sounds; after all, Bergman turned a simple rape-revenge story into The Virgin Spring, and it's beside the point to argue that Meir Zarchi is no Bergman. In its relentlessly straight-ahead manner, the film is at times crudely effective, with nice suspenseful touches, particularly early on.

I'm pretty sure the film's gender politics is intentional. The original title was Day of the Woman; the four rapists make a point of belittling their victim's literary aspirations; and the main sleazeball even gets a stock-misogynist speech in which he insists that some girls deserve to get raped. But it's never really convincing as a feminist statement. It's not even clear what the statement is-that men are animals, maybe? That women can become empowered by braining them with axes?

What you remember about I Spit on Your Grave is, above all, sheer unpleasantness: for one, the epic-length rape sequence, which is even longer than the one in The Accused; for another, the castration-in-the-bathtub scene. Also, Keaton gets nude on camera twice after she's raped, and we get several closeups of her ass for no particular reason. So much for feminism. By the time I Spit degenerates into serial-killer cliche, with petite Keaton effortlessly dispatching her tormentors left and right, you realize the "message" was merely an excuse to break out a couple barrels of fake blood.

Though not badly made, and in fact strangely compelling, it is a disturbing movie--though not a way anyone intended.

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originally posted: 11/25/02 21:40:02
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User Comments

8/26/18 Marianne Whyte Camille Keaton's rape scene made me want to try anal sex with my HS boyfriend. 5 stars
2/13/17 morris campbell another sleazy rape and revenge flick 1 stars
4/20/15 stanley welles a powerful bit of revenge cinema 4 stars
7/08/11 moose rapper Monster A Go-Go thinks this movie is "Ho-Hum" lol 5 stars
4/18/11 action movie fan decent very graphic rape revenge film predictable but worth it 3 stars
2/28/11 art a DRIVE-IN CLASSIC! 5 stars
1/08/11 mr.mike Works for genre fans. 4 stars
11/14/10 Yo I never ever want to see this film again. 2 stars
4/17/10 Durwood Weak, fakey rip-off of Deliverance. In real life, country folk have high moral values. 1 stars
10/20/08 Monster A Go-Go The title is the best thing about this notorious but ho-hum revenge flick 3 stars
7/23/08 DM Issues of morality aside, objectively considered, this is a uniformly terrible movie. 1 stars
6/29/08 BNorm Greatest last line of dialougue in film history: "Suck it Bitch!" that's classic 5 stars
3/04/08 Jen Cherry Pretty sad 2 stars
2/17/08 ravindra its just too hot 5 stars
12/20/07 Kirk Must see list for trailer park trash folk!! 1 stars
11/29/07 art AN EXCELLENT slasher movie superb 4 stars
7/11/07 Total Crap I love revenge movies. just like Last House, but with better killings. 4 stars
11/29/06 David Pollastrini good gore with a little irony. 4 stars
6/11/06 jj The move let you that after something bad happon to you you can recover. 4 stars
4/18/06 Dave Vicious unbelievable film. 1 stars
3/27/06 ALBERT love that axe! 2 stars
2/06/06 dupadoit it blows 1 stars
6/21/05 Bruce Lee good 4 stars
3/17/05 Mark Smith Extremely Scary 4 stars
11/09/04 Naomi Great revenge!!!!! Payback is hell !!!!!!! 5 stars
10/16/04 sdsd good 4 stars
7/03/04 Camille Keaton is very sexually erotic in this movie. 5 stars
6/07/04 Ryan Clark Disturbing rape sequences, but Camille Keaton's performance makes it all worthwhile. 4 stars
5/17/04 intelligent single woman this really affected me years ago when I first viewed it--great movie for revenge on men! 5 stars
5/04/04 Joseph Cicala A movie you hate to love... but you can't help it 4 stars
1/26/04 Eric The best porno ever!!!!!! 5 stars
10/17/03 Sugarfoot I spit on this shit! 1 stars
7/24/03 Max Totally repulsive, the worst movie ever made!!! 1 stars
4/13/03 Zargo great fun, but i don't see it as anything feminist or shit like that 5 stars
3/02/03 STG3 Christopher Norman Kulik Watch Millenium Edition on DVD, listen to the commentaries; Ebert doesnt know shit!!! 5 stars
3/01/03 becky The bathtub scene is one of the best in movie girlfriends and I went nuts!!! 5 stars
12/29/02 Jack Sommersby Surprisingly involving; great full-frnotal nudity!!!! 4 stars
12/22/02 Pigwidgeon A servicable antidote to right-wing fratboy whining about "feminazis" 3 stars
11/23/02 Charles Tatum Ebert is right- the absolute worst film ever made 1 stars
8/02/02 artemishia hey, Horrorluver, robert ebert doesnt know shit! this movie kicks ass! 4 stars
4/29/02 Sugarfoot A perverse pleasure to watch the woman get revenge on the guys 3 stars
4/03/02 Edfink Lombardo Disturbing to the point of discomfort...This film never should have been made...Total shit 1 stars
2/06/02 twh repulsively interesting 3 stars
6/13/01 King Jackass The first 70 minutes or though suck, but once she gets her revenge it gets better. 2 stars
2/27/01 Mike Many cult classics are poorly directed, and acted, but as far as one of the BEST this rates 5 stars
2/25/01 Jacob Myers I watched this with my mother 5 stars
2/21/01 Rocket Boy So good... 3 stars
2/14/01 Bully very good 5 stars
2/07/01 m Violent? Of course. Exploitation? Nah! 4 stars
12/29/00 Maggie it was so disturbing! why the hell would someone make a movie like this? i had nightmares!! 2 stars
11/21/00 Arthur A film that kicks ass, a very insperational film 5 stars
11/15/00 MiS^DeMeAnOr bad bad acting, slow movies, but i halfway enjoyed watching her get her revenge! 3 stars
6/16/00 DAVID This may of been bad film making but i still enjoyed the movie and didnt take it seriously! 3 stars
4/17/00 Bob Bobson this movie sucked ass!!! 1 stars
1/06/00 william christiansen this is one unforgettable movie that rates closely with Caligula....YYYYYeck!!!!!!!!!!! 2 stars
12/10/99 Hutson Olsen I Spit on Your Grave is an imperative watch for all those who enjoy scum in filmdom. 5 stars
11/22/98 little jerry Has the peculiar effect of being a trash film that turns on you.Impressively directed. 5 stars
10/28/98 Silent Rob Both from a historical and social perspective, this trash-a-thon still holds up! 4 stars
10/15/98 {{{OZ}}} As an adrenaline revenge fest, it certainly get's you going. It's awful, but trashy fun. 4 stars
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  02-Feb-1978 (R)
  DVD: 08-Feb-2011


  02-Jul-1978 (X)

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