Meir Zarchi’s Day of the Woman, better known as I Spit on your Grave was a longtime banned VHS in the UK. Later passed by BBFC like Evil Dead (laugh) and The Last House on the Left to name a few ‘video nasties’.
It’s a basic tale also written by Meir Zarchi, a New Yorker Jennifer Hills (Camille Keaton) rents a lakeside cottage in the woods of Connecticut, however, later is she gang raped and thought dead. However, alive and recovered she takes her revenge against the rapists.
Those who say it’s a feminism film are off the mark. It’s nasty, needless and arguably gratuitous exploitation. The rape scenes are graphic and I feel unfairly more intense than the revenge scenes later. A product of its time and made to shock, it certainly does that. It’s not a film I would want to watch again or have in my collection. However, I’m sure there is a strange audience out there who would.
The film is well constructed and directed. The locations are for the most part picturesque and ooze the 70’s vibe of that time gone by, in contrast,the lack of a music score sinisterly adds to the realism of the barbaric violence. The cast are below average, however, the unknown lead Keaton gives an amazing performance, and it’s a shame she’s only known for this film. As a side-note I was surprised to find out that she is the granddaughter of actor Buster Keaton.
Only watch for curiosity, Keaton’s performance or possibly the revenge kills. That said, it’s not recommended.
The remake of Meir Zarchi’s Day of the Woman, better known as I Spit on your Grave follows a surge of ‘video nasties’ been re-done unnecessarily including the likes of The Last House on the Left.
Naturally it follows the basics of the original, city girl Jennifer (Sarah Butler) retreats to a secluded lodge to write her book, but she is gang raped and thought dead. However, alive and recovered she takes her revenge against the rapists.
Just like its predecessor it’s nasty, needless and border gratuitous exploitation and compared to what she endures the revenge kills even though elaborate and (Hostel/Saw-like) bloody never satisfy. Where as 1978’s version has a place in history being a gritty product of its time and was made to shock, this time round it just feels like a money-maker for controversy’s sake.
That said, director Steven R. Monroe’s film looks fantastic and is well executed. Stuart Morse’s screenplay at times improves the dialogue, some characterisations of the original and a few tweaks inject some freshness, especially the inclusion of the sheriff and his family. Neverless, its initial feel is reminiscent of Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
The supporting cast surpass the original actors and lead Sarah Butler on the trail of revenge arguably equals Keaton seductive first-rate performance but instead with a coolness edge.
Only watch for compatible curiosity if you must but it’s not recommended especially these days.