I Spit On Your Grave (Day of the Woman)
Posted on July 14, 2003 by Chris & Kris
Every two minutes, somewhere in America, someone is sexually assaulted. One out of every six American women have been the victims of an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime. A total of 17.7 million women have been victims of these crimes.
⌈ via— rainn.org ⌋
Hey everyone. We just took a look at the I Spit on Your Grave Millennium DVD and thought we’d try a He-Said, She-Said review in an off-beat “dialogue” format based on our discussion.
CHRIS: Although vilified more than any other rape revenge movie in history, I Spit On Your Grave is actually much more thought provoking, realistic, and way more intelligent than most of the other films in its genre — Last House on the Left included. Also, unlike the other films it has a very strong pro-feminist theme throughout the film. What I love about the film is the woman NEVER stops fighting. From the very beginning to the very end, the woman is a warrior. Even during the rapes she never gave up. She bit, scratched, hit, did anything to get away. The only reason they overpowered her was that it was 4 against 1. Even Jackie Chan has trouble with those odds.
KRIS: Haha, yes.. even when she was severely beaten, her rational mind was still trying to create an escape.. how she tried to reason with them. Even lacking the physical strength of her foes, she used her sexual appeal to entice and trick them in their own game during her revenge. They were brutally sadistic.. pacing out and waiting for her to resume a false sense of security.
C: True. But they didn’t start out as sadistic. It was sort of like they got a taste of it and became addicted.
K: The audience was meant to believe that they were misogynists though.. that they believed women were sex objects; playthings. Could be sexual frustration from living in a small town.
C: Very true. They had that discussion about women from CA and NY only existing to have sex with everyone.
K: Or that they ALL would have sex with that blonde dude. It was the rift between City and Country, they assumed she was a slut and was ‘loaded’, and in a way, deserved what she got –that she was an intruder to their banality maybe? That they knew she was better than them.
C: Exactly. More intelligent, more attractive, and far more independent. That tends to scare people.
K: Especially back then.. I tried to put myself in that frame of mind.. when women were not allowed certain freedoms but were trying to fight for them in an extremely old-fashioned/fascist society. It must’ve been awkward for men.. demasculinizing. Stanley kept saying that they like their women submissive.
C: “Total submission,” he said..
K: What was humorously ironic what that during the entire rape sequence.. she didn’t ‘act’ like a ‘woman’.. or how a woman was expected to react. But when the tables were turned, the men pleaded and bargained for their lives, whining about how it was the other guys’ idea and they didn’t want to go through with it; that it was someone else’s fault.
C: While she kept fighting, they gave up immediately.
K: I really enjoyed too that the weapon they kept alluding to, the handgun, would have been such an easy kill, instead she wants them to suffer… its the only way for redemption for the things they did to her. They were such pussies LOL
C: As if the gun would be like letting them off with a slap on the wrist.
K: Yesyes.. and then the audience is exposed to a different side of her. That she wasn’t a cold blooded murderer.. she wanted them to suffer for a reason, for a cause.
C: I would say that the film is very empowering film for women, in that sense.
K: These weren’t criminally affected guys though.. They were bums looking for fun in a small town. Which is frightening; the things people do out of boredom.
C: The whole idle hands are the devil’s playground scenario. The other cool aspect of the film was the complete lack of a musical score.
K: Yesyes.. no distracting musak at the pinnacle points. and you noticed the canoe…
C: Her canoe was silent. Propelled by her own paddle, while the guys had an extremely noisy speedboat. So noisy that it actually drowned out her thought voiceover at one point. I found that to be quite effective. She had gone to the country in order to be alone, enjoy the quiet, yet she was being harassed by these hicks that were noisier than the people in the noisy city she had tried to get away from. When you think about it again she represents civilization and they represent savagery.
K: In a way, but that’s not to say that if you lived in an antiquated culture, you would be overrun by immoral ideas. I mean, you didn’t see Johnny beat up his wife or they weren’t vandals or anything. It was this one time, this one strange deviance.
C: The rape was done in the middle of the day, by guys who had jobs, families, overall normal guys. They just were bored. And that makes it so much scarier.
K: Yah.. well, 2 of the guys were just bums. But do you think that her canoe was symbolic of her journey?
C: As in how?
K: Like her canoe represented solace.. it was silent.. where she could enjoy nature.. i mean, she prolly chose that property becos it was next to the lake –judging from her umm, reaction to the lake when she first saw it, lol.
C: That was probably the only cheesecake scene in the film.
K: And when her confidence was stolen, she was dressed in heavy, dark clothing but still seated by the lake, and her empty canoe floated by, perhaps symbolising her freedom? Shortly after that, she regains the courage to take ‘em out. So I think seeing the boat’s return helped her quit self-sympathising. I also thought it was great that the guys ‘gossiped’.. formerly a ‘girlie’ trait.
C: Good point. Once the canoe came back she got her motivation back, so the canoe could represent control of her own life. In the end would you categorize it as a feminist picture?
K: Yah its like ‘rape women and you’ll get your penis sliced’. That’s not exactly ‘pro rape’.
C: LOL. What I still can’t understand is how Ebert could have thought this film made men want to rape women. This was one of the few films that has actually shown the aftermath of rape.
K: Yesyes.. I thought it was very realistic.. there was blood between her legs after the second guy and how they portrayed that rape isn’t about sex, it’s about power. They raped her when she was in an unattractive state –covered in dirt and blood and bruises.
C: They weren’t getting off on the sex, but on having total control over a person.
K: And even though they weren’t the best actors, their facial expressions were pretty on point.. in the beginning they appeared to be remorseful..
C: But you could tell they started to enjoy the power they had over her.
K: Yesyes.. as if they were hoping that becos she was a woman, she would forgive them. That’s why I liked the scene where she had a gun, the easy answer, but she doesn’t use it and you feel as though she is creating another demise in her mind. I liked the anticipation.. the slow pace. It allowed you to be absorbed in the moment.. to empathise with the character’s thoughts.
C: It was a very welcome change from the fast cuts we have to endure today. And she actually goes to the church before she takes revenge. She prays and essentially tells God that this is what she has to do. Please forgive her for whatever happens. LOL
K: She even passes a cemetary lol.. foreshadowing dundunDUNN. And she wasn’t flaunting her stuff on purpose. She was on her own land, her own hammock. That makes it more realistic, since most women are raped by men they know or trusted. But it was incredible how these were just ordinary people. I really liked that.. She wasn’t a professional kickboxer, she was an authour, and these weren’t thugs or serial rapists..
C: And that’s what Ebert was so mad about, which I find funny. If you could avoid rapists, tell who they were and what they were going to do, you wouldn’t have rapes, so of course real rapists look like regular guys.
K: 1 out of every 6 women get raped.
C: The men rape her, beat her, violate her with a bottle, and then make fun of her writing. You NEVER make fun of a writer’s writing, much less tear up their manuscript. That’s unforgivable.
K: It also brought up an important point that men can have sex with multiple partners and still be thought a hero (in the movie, it’s what makes you a ‘MAN’) but when a women has men she ‘makes love to’ (in her manuscript) shes’s a slut and a bitch. More reasons why men CREATE violence against women due to their own shortcomings. Rape isn’t random.
C: True true. Would you recommend this movie?
K: Yes, if the audience can take it for what it’s worth. Keep repeating, ‘this was made in the ‘70s’ so don’t expect to see everyone bust out in aerial acrobatic karate. The only disappointment was that I thought she might shove a broomstick or a beer bottle up their asses tho, LOL.. maybe another movie can show that. I wonder if Ebert didn’t like it becos might think he was a deviant.
C: Well, he did like Last House on the Left…and in that one the girls don’t make it out alive. Maybe he has a problem with women’s empowerment. Overall I would say the film was quite good. Definitely not deserving of all the hate that has been thrown at it. As far as the disc is concerned, the picture is crystal clear. The DTS track has a good mix for the ambient sounds. Birds chirp all around you. Sadly the same can’t be said for the voice mix. The original mix was an overdub, so there’s not much you can do to improve that.
K: But that added to the surreal quality.. along with the lack of soundtrack.. I enjoyed the silence juxtaposed with violent images.. I didn’t feel ‘cheated’ or manipulated into emotion through cheesy musak.
C: True. The Joe Bob Briggs commentary is actually one of the best commentaries I’ve heard in a long, long time.
K: Joe Bob is insightful and hilarious!
C: Would you say this film makes men want to rape women? Did you feel it to be exploitive?
K: Not at all. did you?
C: No. A definite no.
In conclusion, we believe this was a thought provoking film, with a very pro-feminist message. Although the rape and violence can be quite offputting, this is an important film which was unjustly ripped apart by many many critics. The Millennium Edition DVD is the perfect way to see the film. And the insightful Joe Bob Briggs commentary may just change a few previous nay-sayers’ minds.