Friday, July 23, 2010

Friday Flashbacks: I Spit On Your Grave

I Spit On Your Grave 1978
Director: Meir Zarchi
Writer: Meir Zarchi
Starring Camille Keaton, Eron Tabor, Richard Pace, Anthony Nichols, Gunter Kleemann and Alexis Magnetti
There are many revenge films of the 70’s and there are few that are more sadistic and brutal than I Spit On Your Grave. The only one that comes close is Last House On the Left. This film throws as many atrocities as it can into your eyes and hopes if they throw enough of them that they will stick. If that was the filmmaker’s vision I really think they have succeeded with this cult film. This is not a film for everyone, but if you enjoy brutal and perverse horror, this really is your cup of tea. This film really works because there is not a hint of sensuous in the entire film. The rape scene is interminably long and very difficult to watch. There has not been a worse Rape enacted in film until Irreversible. The rape is not sexual and you feel nothing but pity and sympathy for the girl who is ravished in this way and when she recovers and hatches her plan for revenge you really root for her and relish the malevolent wys she devises to kill her tormentors. This is not a easy film to watch but one that is well worth seeing.
The plot basics are this, Jennifer (Keaton) is a writer who decides to take some time off in a secluded area of the woods to work on her writing. All seems to be going well until she draws the attention of 4 men who keep ogling her and trying to proposition her. One day these 4 men capture and rape her and leave her for dead after they are done. Somehow, she survives and as she nurses herself back to health she concocts a plan to seek revenge on these men who have violated her. One by one she hunts them down and seduces them and then lays out her traps with deadly efficiency. When all is said and done these men will rue the day they ever messed with this woman.
This is a excellent film. Zarchi’s direction is very tight. The way he just leers on the interminably long rape scene will wear the viewer out and that is what really makes the film work. The way he shoots the climactic final scene is splendidly shot too; it gives you goose bumps as you watch Jennifer wield her hatchet at the last 2 tormentors. The script is very economical. There really isn’t much to it other than the basic plot and that simple premise carries the film and you do not need more than that. The cast is quite good, Keaton gives a bravura performance as a woman who is wronged and enacts bloody vengeance for those wrongs. During the rape scene you really feel her anguish. Pace also does an excellent job as Matthew, the village idiot. He is really the only male you feel any sympathy for through out the entire movie, though that does not last long. The SFX and effects are nominal; in the film, but what is there really works like the castration scene. You do not see much but what you do see makes you groan. One of the best aspects of this film is how there is no music in the film at all; it really plays up the utter starkness of the film. It is especially fitting at the very end. This is one of the best Revenge films and well worth seeing. But, be warned you need a strong constitution to sit through this film.
This one gets 5 out of 5

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