I Spit on Your Grave (Meir Zarchi, 1978)

What's it about? A city girl decamps to an isolated rural retreat to write a book, only to get brutally attacked, raped and left for dead by a bunch of country yokels. A couple of weeks later, she recovers and exacts her bloody revenge.

Warning! The following review features me on my soapbox.
Is it any good? God, no. It's fucking awful. Awful in every aspect and in every sense of the word. I'm loathe to even waste time writing about it, but I feel I must warn others off, like a crazy old character in a horror film who's seen terrible things and who now warns unwary travellers not to suffer a similar fate. Viewed purely as a film, the structure, direction, acting, sound and script is as bad as I've seen, and the retarded character Matthew might just be the worst character in a film ever. That's before we get the deeply problematic and offensive content. If I was being charitable, then I could maybe, maybe, make a case for the first hour being so unpleasant because it is depicting wholly unpleasant events. In other words, it's meant to be hard to watch, although I doubt that was the film-maker's intent. But the second hour, in which the girl takes her revenge, but not before seductively entrapping the very men who assaulted her, doesn't so much stretch credibility as mangle it with a whizzing outboard motor. Worst of all, one scene in particular not only suggests 'she was asking for it', but implies she actually agrees with that assessment. And people apparently defend it as a female empowerment film, a viewpoint which is almost as indefensible as the film. A strong contender for the worst film I've ever seen.

I don't trust you. What do others think? Oh, you should trust me, this is a deeply unpopular film. When it was released in the US in 1980, Roger Ebert's review labelled it "sick, reprehensible and contemptible..... one of the most depressing experiences of my life". Many other reviews were similarly scathing and even horror aficionados admit it is not exactly the most lovable film in the exploitation genre. Unsurprisingly, it fell foul of the censors, with the UK listing it as one of the infamous video nasties, a tag which naturally increased its reputation far beyond what it deserved. Over the subsequent years it has been re-banned, re-named, re-cut, re-released and re-classified by various bodies in various countries. However, it is telling that even in today's landscape, where torture porn thrives and society is generally considered to be desensitized to this type of thing, the Irish Film Classification Office upheld the ban on the movie's sale in Ireland in 2010, which was intended to tie in with the release of the re-make in cinemas. What? Oh yes, you read that right. Someone has actually remade it, apparently with better production values, but with a similarly repugnant effect, not to mention a rather inappropriate 'sexy' poster of a girl who's just been assaulted. That is not just depressing, it's actually worrying. But at least it didn't make the same mistake as the original poster above, which couldn't even get the number of people killed correct, suggesting even the poster makers got bored halfway through watching. Fuck it, I've spent enough time talking about this drivel. Now, listen you crazy kids, don't go off to look for it just because you want to see what the fuss is about. That's what I did and I'm just glad I survived to tell the tale. Hey! Come back! I said DON'T GO OFF LOOKING FOR IT! Damn fools.

What does the Fonz think? I Shit on Your Film.

Don't buy it on Amazon

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous12/9/13

    I Spit On Your Grave is of the rarest horror movies that are actually capable of arousing the sense of fear amongst the viewers.