Jennifer (Camille Keaton) leaves New York for a summer in the country. Four low-lifes rapeher, beat her, and leave her for dead. She strikes back most violently. This is the nec plus ultraof rape-revenge films, the yardstick against which all others are measured. The gang rape isharrowingly brutal, and goes on for almost half an hour. The film is cheap and raw, and has itsflaws, but is also searingly powerful in the unflinching realism of its violence. For this, and forits …mportance to the field (whether you champion the film or want it burned), it warrants a solidfour stars.
I’ll admit it: I was dubious. I Spit On Your Grave in DTS??!! Isn’t that like getting your oldSuper-8 home movies THX approved? I was pleasantly surprised. The stereo remixes (theoriginal mono is also included) sound much better than they have any right to, with birdstwittering and background noises on all sides. These effects are occasionally pushed a bit morethan necessary, but overall the sound is very good. There is no music score (which adds to theuncomfortable realism of the film). The one drawback of the crystalline sound quality is that thefact that the film was shot without sound becomes quite painfully clear, with characters’ voicescarrying an in-studio echo even whey they’re outside.
Within the limits of the source material, the video is excellent. The print is pristine, and thereare some very nice reds and contrasts showing up in ways I had never noticed before. The pictureis razor sharp.
Hats off to Elite. This disc features not one, but two of the most interesting commentariesgoing. Writer/director Meir Zarchi, who has remained almost completely silent about the filmsince its initial release as Day of the Woman in 1978, reads from a prepared script. Soft-spokenand articulate, he has a lot to say about how and why the film was made. His description ofthe incident that inspired the movie is pretty disturbing in its own right. Commentary 2 is byJoe Bob Briggs. After a slightly digressive start, he digs into the big questions surrounding thefilm. He’s not blind to its flaws, but he is firmly in the camp that sees I Spit On Your Grave assympathetic to its protagonist, rather than a misogynistic mess.
Also interesting are the excerpts from various reviews. This is a good introduction for peoplenew to the film and its reputation, and the views reprinted here run the gamut from praise tocondemnation, and include the famous Siskel and Ebert reviews that were perhaps the mostvociferous and most-quoted attacks. There is also a poster gallery (labelled!), four trailers, threeTV spots and three radio spots (all of this publicity material includes samples from the originalDay of the Woman release), filmographies, and an Easter Egg: move up to “Grave” on the mainpage, and you get a brief photo gallery (also labelled). The menu has a scored and animated mainpage and transitions.
Elite’s Milliennium series continues to impress, and this important release has been treatedwith the seriousness it deserves. If you want arguments that will rage long into the night, gettogether with friends and view I Spit On Your Grave with The Accused back-to-back. If you’reat all interested in this film, you owe it to yourself to track down Carol Clover’s definitive studyof it in the “Getting Even” chapter of her book Men, Women and Chain Saws: Gender in theModern Horror Film.
Special Features List
- Audio Commentaries
- Still Gallery
- Poster Gallery
- Trailers and Spots