I Spit on Your Grave (1978)

aka Day of the Woman
Article 4339 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 10-17-2013
Directed by Meir Zarchi
Featuring Camille Keaton, Eron Tabor, Richard Pace
Country: USA
What it is: Revenge thriller

A woman writer goes to a cabin in the woods in a small town to finish her novel. When she is attacked and raped by four of the residents, she decides to exact a bloody revenge.

If I weren’t committed to be as comprehensive as possible for my movie-watching project, there are a few movies I would skip. This is one of them; I’d heard about it for years, and I never had the slightest desire to see it. To me, it sounded like the ultimate in pandering revenge dramas, a movie where the first half consists of a group of people doing horrible things to someone for the sole purpose of making you want to see horrible acts of vengeance performed on them in the second half. Having watched it now, I can say that I’m right; that’s pretty much what the movie is all about. If there was anything that surprised me about the movie, it was that it was as competently directed and produced as it was. Oddly enough, that may have made the manipulation of the first half less effective; had the movie been cheaper and more amateurish, the violence might have had the effect of seeming grittier and more real. The same effect might have been accomplished had the direction and editing been sharper and more intense. As it is, the movie’s worst problem is that the rape sequence is just interminable, encompassing as it does three separate attacks; it runs almost thirty minutes, and after a while you start to resent the filmmakers for trying to stretch it out as long as they could. Still, despite the fact that I would love to reject the movie completely, it’s not totally worthless; in some ways, it gives insight into the nature of “rape culture”, a subject that has been in the news lately. Still, those observations could have been made in a much less exploitative movie, so I really can’t bring myself to recommend this one to anybody.

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