I Spit On Your Grave (1978)

DVD Cover (Elite Entertainment)
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Overall Rating 62%
Overall Rating
Ranked #2,962
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Connections: I Spit On Your Grave

The film follows Jennifer, a writer who is working on a new novel and needs to get out of the city to finish it. She rents a riverside cabin in upstate New York to work on her novel, attracting the attention of a number of rowdy male locals. They catch Jennifer one day and strip her naked for the village idiot and rape her. Jennifer is later attacked and raped a further two times by the four degenerates, and her novel is also destroyed. But Jennifer recovers, and in her now-twisted, psychotic state, she begins to seek revenge on the men. --IMDb
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Review by Chad
Added: January 1, 2005
"The worst movie ever made!" - Roger Ebert

Jennifer (Camille Keaton) is an aspiring novelist from New York who decides to spend her summer out in the Connecticut country at a cabin that she owns. Her plan is to use the summer to finish writing her first full-length book, but things don't quite go as planned. After a few days of work and relaxation, she starts to get harassed by some local rednecks in the way of Johnny (Eron Tabor), Stanley (Anthony Nicholls), Andy (Gunter Kleeman), and their mentally challenged sidekick Matthew (Richard Pace). It starts out innocently enough; some catcalls, peeking, and teasing... but it quickly grows to be much more when the four men take turns beating and raping her. After all four men have had their turn, they order Matthew to kill her off... however, being the weenie that he is, Matthew merely wipes some blood from Jennifer's face onto his knife and claims to have killed her, when in fact, he left her lying on her living room floor. Naked, beaten halfway to death, and semi-coherent... but still alive. Some time passes, and Jennifer decides to get her revenge on each of the four men involved.

Taking into consideration all of the controversy surrounding this film and the fact that it's been banned in at least eight countries, I was expecting some seriously fucked up shit to transpire. Sadly, this was not the case, and not by a long shot. Yes, the rape scenes found here carry on for quite a while, and the lady does receive a few slaps and punches throughout it; however, there's not much to be found that's any more shocking than any other number of rape scenes found in any other number of movies. As far as the sex and nudity goes, we don't see anything more than a few pube shots and a heaping helping of breasts... that sure is grounds for controversy, I suppose. The sex scenes themselves are very far from controversial as well... in each scene, the male in question will get on top of poor Jenny, grind up and down for a few seconds, and then hop off covered in sweat and smiles. Also, as a bit of a side note... the claims that the rape scene lasts for over a half hour (the time varies depending on what you read) are wildly exaggerated. This number may be roughly accurate if all of the cut-scenes are figured in, along with the running through the woods, the harmonica playing, the guys standing around talking, and everything else that transpires between the time the hooligans set their sights on Jenny and the moment the last guy finishes up. If all this is figured in, then the half hour claim could be correct. However, if you were to figure up how much time the characters are actually having simulated sex on screen, you'd wind up with a much lower number... somewhere in the ballpark of three or four minutes (and yes, I watched the uncut version). I'm not trying to belittle the act of rape or the real victims of said crime, but the things in this film that people have claimed to be so vile and shocking have been done many, many times before... in that respect, this movie is nothing special.

With all of the debates about the controversy aside, the movie itself was decent enough. We've got a simple enough plot, an adequate cast to run through it, and a few genuinely memorable scenes sprinkled (the bathroom scene comes to mind) throughout to keep things interesting. While the storyline itself was nothing horribly original during the time of its release (after all, there's a whole genre filled with rape-revenge films), it also didn't come off as being too terribly recycled. However, there was one running flaw to this movie that, in my eyes, drug things down time and time again throughout the running time... there's too many shots of one scene, one scene only, with nothing going on. I'm not of the mindset that there should be action in every frame of a movie, but there's only so much one can take of watching Jenny swing in the hammock, or the ripples moving throughout the lake, or Jenny reading her book, or... the list just keeps growing as the movie progresses. With some tighter editing on these scenes, the flow of the movie would have been much better, and the end result would have been a more entertaining movie.

On a technical note, if you do decide to check this movie out, avoid the Elite Entertainment DVD release. The picture quality looks great, but the sound is absolutely horrendous. Due to the quality of the sound transfer, you have to turn the volume up near the maximum level in order to make out the muffled speech... however, the screams are deafening at this level, which results in a constant battle with the volume level. You're either going to have half the block thinking you're watching some hardcore porn, or miss out on all of the dialog. I can't say whether or not the other DVD releases suffer from this (I'd hope not), but I can't say for certain... though I will say that the VHS release did not have these problems.

Overall, this was an interesting enough movie, though as I've said, it's been done before. Wes Craven did an almost identical storyline in The Last House On The Left, Ruggero Deodato did a (much better) job with it in House On The Edge Of The Park, and countless other directors have taken a stab at it. If you just can't get enough of the rape-revenge genre, then this would be a movie to pick up. Otherwise, it may be worth a rental, but don't go out of your way... and definitely avoid those pesky, unfounded rumors of how shocking and demented this film is. 6/10.
Ginose #1: Ginose - added September 9, 2005 at 5:30pm
This movie... kinda made me nausiaus...
Edd #2: Edd - added January 26, 2006 at 7:30pm
I don't agree with Roger Ebert often, but he's right about this one.
Cryptorchild #3: Cryptorchild - added February 28, 2007 at 11:46am
I watched this for the first time the other night. After everything I'd heard I thought it was a decent movie. You pretty much hit the nail on the head with your review. The kill scenes I thought were cool. I'd definately say it's worth a watch though.
bradbunson #4: bradbunson - added March 3, 2008 at 9:09pm
I watched this movie for the first time with I was like 9. I watched it again around 2 years ago, and it still blew me away.
Crispy #5: Crispy - added August 5, 2009 at 4:27am
Meh, boring as hell. And like the review alluded to, I spent a lot of time bouncing the volume up and down.
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