Jennifer (Camille Keaton), a New York City writer, goes to a Connecticut countryside retreat to finish her novel. While sunbathing in a boat, she is accosted by a quartet of slobbering goons and dragged onto shore, where she is repeatedly raped. When the ordeal is over, Jennifer staggers
through the woods back to her cabin, only to be brutalized again by the same gang. They leave her for dead, but Jennifer survives and, instead of going to the police, arms herself and stalks her attackers, systematically killing each one off. Originally released in 1978 as DAY OF THE WOMAN, the
film did no business until the Jerry Gross organization got hold of it, retitled it I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE, and gave it a lurid advertising campaign with the tag-line, "This woman has just cut, chopped, broken, and burned five men beyond recognition... But no jury in America would ever convict her."
(One wonders if Gross even saw the movie, since there are only four men in the film, not five.) This finally got the film noticed, especially by Chicago movie critics Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel, who knew a rabble-rousing issue when they saw one and went into fits over it on their television show,
throwing a harsh, negative light on the entire genre. Subsequently, the film was a notorious hit at the box-office and at video rental stores. In any case, the film is not as reprehensible as its reputation suggests, but it certainly isn't very good either. Director Meir Zarchi may have been
trying to make a point about the horrors of rape, brutality, revenge, and reprisal, but he simply isn't a good enough director to extract any relevance or nuance from his exploitative material. Watch Wes Craven's LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT instead.
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