Basically this movie is utter exploitative garbage with no redeeming qualities and therefore you probably have no reason to read on. The thing is, the movie, in its own shoddy way, is an interesting piece of garbage (though not an enjoyable one). For any university film majors out there, read why I felt it earned the one star it got. When I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE was released in 1978, just as the feminist movement was picking up steam, its plot launched a huge controversy. Theaters were picketed and essays were written about it. Then, when people actually saw how bad the movie was, no one really cared anymore. It is understandable, however, why the plot alone would get people all riled up.
The plot of I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE is as follows: a city-woman goes to the country to a cabin to do some writing and get some peace and quiet. She soon meets a bunch of redneck guys who hang out together acting like morons. This gang is made of three loser slimy guys and one mentally retarded man whom they concurrently take pity on and mock. Before long, they capture the woman and gang-rape her in a long, excruciating fashion culminating with the three slimy dudes convincing the mentally-challenged guy into raping her as well. Disgusting, isn't it? Yes.
But, that's only half of the movie. The woman survives these attacks and quite quickly begins to plan her revenge. The rest of the movie is for the audience to sit and watch the four men get the punishment they deserve: death, in a variety of gruesome ways.
It sounds terrible and it is...the acting sucks, the dialogue is childish, the camera-work is pathetic, etc. etc. But, the movie is interesting in a few unique ways. One: the rape scenes are terrible, yes, and violent, yes, but nothing about them makes the viewer sick or need to turn away (this isn't my male opinion; I watched it with two women).
Two: where are we supposed to find the horror? Is it in the rape scenes or in the gruesome deaths of the four men? They are getting their due justice so we are supposed to be glad that they die, and we are...even when one of them bleeds to death in a bathtub after being castrated. So, how does this film fit into the horror category necessarily? It's weird.
Three: Is it feminist or not? The basic plot sounds like a simple feminist rape-revenge structure, but it's a bit more icky than that. We watch twenty minutes of this woman getting raped, but her revenge is a bit more sketchy. With the exception of one of the male deaths, we never really see a long, excruciating death of a male. Even the guy who gets castrated we know dies because the woman leaves the bathroom to LISTEN to him die. How many horror movies do you HEAR a woman die. Almost always you see it. So, how come we couldn't see these rapists die the slow deaths they deserved given the long, long rape scenes.
I know, I know, there's really nothing I've said that is gonna make you run right out and rent the film (hopefully) and that's the right reaction. Note: if it’s not your reaction, then you need some long days of therapy my friend. It's not a very enjoyable movie and not a very meritorious one either. But, I'd be lying if I didn't say it is interesting. One final note: the women who have seen it that I know admit it sucks, but don't hate watching it as much as the men. Hmmm....
RATING: * (out of four)