I Spit On Your Grave / I Spit On Your Grave [Blu-Ray] Meir Zarch; directed by Steven R. Monroe

I Spit On Your Grave / I Spit On Your Grave [Blu-Ray] Meir Zarch; directed by Steven R. Monroe
A young woman (Camille Keaton) goes to a summer cabin on a remote lake to write a novel; she is assaulted by four men, who beat her up before one of them rapes her. She's left to wander back to her cabin, naked and in shock, before she's found and raped again. Finally, she finds her way back to the cabin where, once again, the four men are waiting for her and she is raped once more. By the time this has been fully depicted in Meir Zarchi's I Spit On Your Grave, we are over halfway through its 100-minute running time. In the back half of the film, the young woman has her revenge, brutally murdering each of the four men. This is essentially a description of the entire film, which tells its story with a straightforward simplicity that lends it visceral emotional power. Of course, any movie depicting half-an-hour of explicitly staged gang rape isn't for everyone, but if it weren't for films that pushed the boundaries of taste, we wouldn't know where the boundaries are. I Spit On Your Grave has been criticized for glorifying rape, but it's also been praised as a piece of feminist cinema. Given that the young woman preys on the four men by appealing to their misogynistic hubris ― their belief that she actually wanted to be raped ― I'm inclined to agree with the latter assessment. I Spit On Your Grave finds the root of this misogyny in uneducated male camaraderie, and the young woman has her revenge by reclaiming her body and using it against them. This reclamation would be meaningless if the depiction of her being violated and abused were not at least as brutally vicious as the murders that followed. Steven R. Monroe's 2010 remake, also included in this Blu-Ray package, dispenses with everything that redeems Zarchi's original. The rape scene, although less lengthy and explicit, was obviously shot and edited with thrills in mind ― it's a rape scene complete with plot twists and camera filters. The second half of the film is padded with deathly dull plotting, mostly surrounding the unpleasant and unsympathetic rapists (including, this time, the local sheriff). But worst of all, the young woman (Sarah Butler) is basically turned into a horror movie villain by the rape, showing no emotion and filmed only with ominous shots of her head tilted forward, eyes staring straight ahead. This two-film Blu-Ray package includes directors' commentaries for both films, as well a commentary by schlock film critic Joe Bob Briggs on the 1978 film. Each disc also contains a featurette, as well as the usual assortment of trailers, posters, and stills. "The Values of Vengeance: Meir Zarchi Remembers I Spit On Your Grave" offers some insight into the making of and the distribution of the original. Zarchi was inspired to make the film after helping a women who had been raped in Central Park, witnessing first-hand the negligence of the justice system. He also explains how the title was changed to the exploitative I Spit On Your Grave by a distributor after it failed to make money under its original title: Day of the Woman. Both versions of I Spit On Your Grave are unpleasant, but there's a historic importance to the original ― it was even banned in Canada for many years ― that makes it noteworthy, which is more than can be said for the unnecessary remake. (Anchor Bay)