I Spit On Your Grave (1978)

Controversial movie about a woman who gets revenge on four men who have raped her.

This film has never been far from controversy, and it spawned unofficial sequels and remakes. It is unflinching in its narrative as writer, Jennifer (Camille Keaton) escapes to a cabin in upstate New York to finish her novel and ends up being at the mercy of four men.

There is no soundtrack, and that just adds to how stark it is. Jennifer is in no way condemned for what she does to the men – the audience are just shown what she does to them and are left to make their own minds up about it. Some of the comments made to Jennifer by one of the men, Jonny (Eron Taboor) about her tempting them with her legs and body sound all too similar to sentiments which have changed little in the intervening forty years since the film’s release. When she turns their own violence on them they are all revealed to be weak gullible characters at heart.

There seems to be little character development in the film, as if as an audience we are deliberately being kept distant from the characters – they are denied fully formed personalities – but are kept ever closer by the unflinching and unsettling close up camera angles.

In no way would I call this film brilliant, but it is a harrowing look at a dark side of humanity. The cinematography is bleak, and is quite a good film as a directorial debut. But I don’t think I would watch it again out of choice. Just, no. That being said, apparently they are doing a canon sequel to this film. I think I’ll avoid it if possible.

MY RATING: ** / *****



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