Halloween Horror Movie Month: I Spit on Your Grave (1978)

Those boys from the woods always have a way with women.

Jennifer Hill (Camille Keaton) is just a normal, white girl from New York City who ventures out to a house in the country so she can be all by herself, relax, tan, and get writing on her novel. The problem is, she’s stopped very suddenly when three dirt-ball locals decide to take it upon themselves to have more fun with her than she expected.

I’ve heard so much shit about this movie, it’s not even funny. I know it’s disturbing, I know it’s gross, and I know it’s hard to watch, but that does all of that crazy, cult controversy make a good film in the end of the day? Absolutely not god dammit!

There is so much about this film that just pissed me off that I have no freakin’ clue where to start, so I might as well go with the guy who’s mostly responsible for this utter piece of garbage: writer/director Meir Zarchi. I don’t know who this guy is, what his intentions in life were, or how he is as a person, but I would not want to be this dude’s friend if I met him in real-life because of what he portrays on-screen here. First of all, before any of you go crazy and call me softy, just realize that I get that the film needed to be over 40 minutes of intense torture and rape-age in order to really eff with our minds, but none of it, I do repeat, none of it ever felt deserved or understandable at all. If a film ever felt the need to express a 40 minutes rape-sequence but gave me honest reasons, depth, and in ways, emotion, then I would sort of be all for it and sit there in disgust a whole lot more but this film made me feel disgusted in all of the wrong ways. In ways, I actually felt dirty and needed to take a shower, which is exactly what I just did before I started writing this review. It had that much of an effect on me and it’s weird because I would usually praise any film that does that to me, but this one, I can’t praise one-bit.

The reason I can’t praise this movie one-bit is because the way Zarchi writes his dialogue. All of the male characters are complete one-dimensional, caricatures that have no minds, no souls, and can’t think of anything else to use other than their limp dicks, (Which we get to see plenty of thanks Zarchi. Yay!) As soon as they see this gal Jennifer walk right in front of them, they all of a sudden get this crazy urge in the beds of their penises and decide that it’s time to go rape and pillage a random, white chick who just stumbled upon their homeland. I make them sound like Neanderthals but that’s the type of level of intelligence I think Zarchi wrote these characters with: they just stand there, yell, hoot, holler, fuck with this girl, fuck her in the mean-time, and spout out some of the worst lines I have ever heard in any movie, ever. Not only does Zarchi screw-up his script when it comes to his characters and their intentions, but the dialogue is even worse and probably wouldn’t have been so noticeable if they relied on something more than just a bunch of dudes getting their d’s wet, in the worst ways possible.

Then, the main element of this movie that really pissed me off was the main, central “message” of this whole inspired tale. Basically, what I believe Zarchi was trying to say through all of the semen, was that men are worthless, animalistic pigs that feel no remorse after they do something ugly. That, in a way, is a message I would be more than willing to accept, understand, and eventually think about in my day-to-day life of well-being, but this film did not once, have me believe in that whatsoever. These guys are all dicks, but they don’t start off like that, they all of a sudden change out of nowhere and spend their whole time acting like crazy fuckin’ buffoons when they torture and rape this girl. Then, we see them when they aren’t with her and are all of a sudden all normal and relaxed as if they never did the crazy and insane act they just did to a girl, almost 2 weeks ago. Maybe with some people who commit rapes, this is a true-story, but for me and what I saw with this story, it was way too fake and phony to fully get me to believe in it. Honestly, in case you haven’t been able to tell, I didn’t buy anything that this movie was selling to me. Not a single goddamn thing.

Now, as for the rape scenes that has garnered this movie so much controversy over the years. I will say one thing about them: they are disturbing, but, not in a good way. In a way, I almost felt like Zarchi continued to show this girl getting raped and destroyed in order to shock us, mess with our minds, and make us realize something about the cruel, cruel world we live in, but instead, had me feeling nada. Was it hard to look at the screen sometimes? Of course, but not a single part of it felt necessary to the story and just felt like another piece of 70’s-exploitation flicks that always tried to out-do each other with who can do the craziest and most sadistic things in their movies. I haven’t seen any of the other competition so I think you won Zarchi, you bastard.

If there is any compliments I can give this piece of shit at all, it’s Camille Keaton as Jennifer. Keaton, like the rest of the cast, is absolutely terrible with their line-delivery and come off terribly unbelievable as the film goes on, but damn does this girl let all hang-loose, seriously. It takes a lot of gull for a person to go out there in front of the camera, and just let it all flow in some of the most terrible situations ever depicted on-screen and if there’s anything I can give Keaton credit for, it’s exactly that. She’s a shit actress, but the girl doesn’t shy away from baring it all and making it feel any slight bit of being legitimate. Wonder how her hubby felt when they would be having sex and he’d start to get flash-backs of the movie that made her a star. Hmmm….oh well! Too much thought into a movie that doesn’t deserve it.

Consensus: I Spit On Your Grave will definitely disturb and scare viewers, but don’t let it fool you, it is dumb, idiotic, terribly-written, barely directed at all, horribly-acted, and features a message that doesn’t make any goddamn sense at all, once you start to think about the characters and all of their dumb-ass actions. Seriously, skip this shit.

0.5/10=Pile of Heapin’ Crap!!!



  1. Great Review, Dan. I first watched this “cult classic” back in high school and was appalled at how awful it was. I then watched it years later thinking I’d give it another try to see if I’d change my opinion. NOPE. I found it just as awful years later. Why is it a classic? I have no idea. Why did they make a remake? I have no idea.

    • It’s considered a classic because it’s so dirty and evil. But yet, who the hell cares?!?!? Just give me a good movie I can enjoy and not feel disgusted by. Thanks Paul!

  2. I think the whole purpose of the thing was to make the audience feel dirty by any means necessary. Meir Zarchi’s only other movie was another weird flick called “Don’t Mess With My Sister.” The guy obviously has some issues with women, but I think this movie is actually uncomfortable by choice. The men turned back to normal after the rape because they don’t think they did anything wrong and aren’t having pangs of guilt. He directed the movie as flat as he did because he wanted to keep things as documentary-style and “real” as possible as an antidote to fancier revenge flicks. Was he successful? Well, yes, but at a cost of performances. For better or worse, I think that, by making you (and me and everyone else) uncomfortable during the rapes he did exactly what he wanted.

  3. Funny review, Dan. I watched this recently after seeing the remake to compare the two and found it pretty much unwatchable. Like you, I get the point he was trying to make, but I think that point would’ve had more impact if everything else about them movie was, you know, better.

  4. My big problem was with the performances of the guys playing the rapists. In order to work as a character, Johnny needs to be a wicked psycho–actually, he needs to be more like Stanley than Stanley was. Instead he’s played like a Neanderthal (great word BTW, wish I’d thought of it). When he tells the others he’s committed murder before, it feels more like BS than the truth.

  5. I caught this on Netflix back in August and I couldn’t agree more. Overhyped, un-enjoyable and a complete waste of my time. Very disappointing.

  6. Completely agree with you on this one, Dan. Just watched this for the first time last week, and I absolutely hated it. There was no reason for this to ever be made. I don’t understand how this has a cult following either, as there are no redeeming values at all. Just an awful, awful film.

  7. I remember seeing this when I was a kid (I’m twice your age) and remembered it as a bunch of drunken people making a movie. I re-watched the other month and this was a pretty vile piece of shit. Thanks for commenting on Looper – this site looks like fun!

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