I Spit On Your Grave

I Spit On Your Grave

DVD Rating: *****

Reviewed by: Anton Bitel

Read Anton Bitel's film review of I Spit On Your Grave

Normally DVDs state the duration of the feature on the back cover, but 101FILMS' edition of I Spit On Your Grave has the runtime listed as '200 mins approx'. Given that, even in its full uncut version, the film stretches to only a few seconds beyond the 101 minute mark, these 200 minutes obviously include all the video extras as well, suggesting a certain caginess on the part of the distributors as to just how mutilated a cut of the film they are presenting. The good news, however, is that this is indeed the most complete version of the film ever to have been released in the UK, with only a few moments of forced sodomy and fellatio missing. This may make the final assault on the protagonist somewhat impressionistic, and efface the scene's awful symmetry with her last line in the film – but this is far less incoherent than cuts of the film previously available here.

As though to compensate for the incompleteness of the feature, 101FILMS have provided an utterly exhaustive set of extras, including extensive interview material with writer/director Meir Zarchi (who until very recently declined to comment at all on his debut feature). In his full audio commentary, he expresses a certain bemusement at the polarised reception of his film ("the more they attack it, the more powerful it becomes"), and explains his reluctance at the time to involve himself in the controversy. He also recounts the real-life experience that inspired the film, and reasserts his abiding dislike of the title I Spit On Your Grave.

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In The Values of Vengeance, an exclusive 33-minute video interview, Zarchi claims that many of the films generally assumed to have been key influences on his work – including The Last House On The Left, Straw Dogs and Deliverance – were, in fact, first watched by him several years after he completed I Spit On Your Grave. Since he had just a single camera on set, each of the rape scenes had to be shot four times for coverage, and it took him a full year to edit. Also included are all 81 minutes of a phoner interview conducted with Zarchi by DVD Monthly, in which, among other things, he discusses the possibility of a sequel (with Camille Keaton returning to her role as Jennifer Hills, now mother to a daughter).

A second full audio commentary, coming from the renowned critic Joe Bob Briggs, marries real insight with laugh-out-loud hilarity, tracking many of the film's virtues ("she's about as far from a passive rape victim as you can get"), as well as its shortcomings ("they should have a rule in every movie: the retard cannot overact"). Besides this, there is an overwhelming range of trailers, TV spots and even radio spots, image galleries, filmographies, and best of all, a PDF booklet collecting reviews, documents and essays. All of which is nothing to spit at.

Reviewed on: 11 Jan 2011
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A woman seeks revenge after she is brutally gang-raped.
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Product Code: 101FILMS003

Region: 2

Ratio: 16:9

Sound: Dolby Digital 2.0 and 5.1

Extras: Two full audio commentaries, exclusive video interview with Meir Zarchi, trailers, TV spots, radio spots, full audio interview for DVD Monthly, sleeve and poster image gallery, image gallery from Meir Zarchi's personal collection, filmographies, 50-page PDF booklet (reviews, articles, essays and other documentation), 24-page accompanying booklet

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