“Total submission. That’s what I like in a woman — total submission.”
When a female writer from New York (Camille Keaton) is gang-raped by thugs on a remote island, she plots her revenge.
- Class Relations
Response to Peary’s Review:
Peary is one among many reviewers who have argued that there is truly “no way to defend” this highly controversial, enormously discomfiting exploitation flick (starring Buster Keaton’s granddaughter, Camille — wife of the director). Indeed, the rape scenes in I Spit On Your Grave are so protracted (they last a total of 45 minutes), so realistic (there’s no film score), and so gruesome, that, as Peary points out, not even “male moviegoers [who] seemed to enjoy the mistreatment of the young girls in Last House on the Left… will identify with the rapists [here].” This leads one to question why such a film would be made in the first place. Although director Meir Zarchi manages to “[show the] pain, humiliation, and terror of a rape victim as few filmmakers have,” is this really such an estimable achievement? Apparently Zarchi had the noble intention of showing a woman taking personal revenge for her brutal mistreatment at the hands of men; yet Keaton’s systematic murders (she seduces each of the men, then leaves them to die) aren’t any easier to stomach. Indeed, the entire film is likely to be one of the most unpleasant movie-watching experiences you’ve ever had. Be strongly forewarned.
P.S. The theme of rape revenge was ultimately dealt with much more tastefully (and artfully) in Abel Ferrara’s Ms. 45/Angel of Vengeance (1982).
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Camille Keaton’s brave (foolhardy?) performance as the vengeful rape victim
No, though film fanatics may be curious to check it out simply for its status as a controversial cult classic. But you have my permission to fast-forward through to the final half — and then to try to forget you ever saw it.