Netflix Movie Review: I Spit On Your Grave

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I Spit On Your Grave. This is a movie that was initally released in 1978, re-released in 1983 and remains controversial to this day for the horrific and lengthy gang-rape scenes that take place. Knowing that the movie was violent and disturbing, I figured I’d watch it. (***SPOILERS below***)

There is very little back story. Jennifer Hills (portrayed by Camielle Keaton) rents a cabin by a lake for the summer. She is a short story writers who wants to write her first novel. An ideal and isolated location for any writer, no doubt. When she stops in the small town for gas (which I believe was $.65 — don’t hold me to it, but I think it’s the sign I saw), we are introduced to Johnny (Eron Tabor) who runs the station. In the background are two unemployed teens, Stanley and Andy (Anthony Nichols, and Gunter Kleemann, respectively). They are playing some kind of knife throwing game, and appear mildly mentally challenged.

Once in her cabin, she calls the local grocery store to have grocieries delivered. Matthew Lucas (Richard Pace) shows up a moment later with everything Jennifer needs. Thing is, Matthew cleary is slow. Very slow. The two become friends. When Matthew leaves the cabin he heads to the gas station. He tells the guys there about the new renter from New York.

While relaxing on a canoe the next morning, Stanley and Andy harass her, driving around and around her in their mototboat. They drag the canoe to some bank in the woods, where Johnny and Matthew are waiting. The goal is to have Matthew rape her, since he is a virgin. When Matthew claims that he can’t, the others do. For the next forty minutes they men take vicious turns raping and beating Jennifer. Matthew even joins in, once they are back at the cabin, giving the New Yorker his best.

The decsion is made, Jennifer must be murdered. They leave the job to Matthew. He’s to finish her off. Which he says he does, but of course, he doesn’t … and then the remaineder of the movie Jennifer bides her time and kills those responsible for raping and beating her.

There are no other characters. Just the five people. Seems like a lot of the dialogue is dubbed for the outdoor scenes. Not done well. It’s a seventies film. What can I say? With that the acting is also on par for a movie made in that decade. The dialogue, however, is interesting. Done pretty well, actually.  I found Tabor and Keaton’s performances interesting. Liked their style. Pace, also did a good, if laughable job, at playing a “slow” character. The other two, if they even had any lines — were forgetable.

Even for a movie made nearly fourty years ago, the violence is intense. There is a lot of nudity, full nudity, and some bad language. There is plenty of blood and, obviously, sex. Non-consenual sex. This is not a movie for families, or kids.

I Spit On Your Grave was Written, Directed and Produced by Meir Zarchi. Zarchi was married to the leading lady, Keaton, at the time the movie was made. He also co-produced the re-make which was released in 2010, and the 2013 sequeal, I Spit On Your Grave 2 (a sequal to the remake. I have not seen the ’10 remake, so I am not sure how different it is from the ’78 original).

For a cult-classic, and at 101 minutes long, I would give the movie a 4 out of 5 Tombstones. It had a Deliverance feel to it, and kept my interest. I did not find myself playing on my phone during the movie. That alone is a good Tombstone-worthy sign.

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