BLU-RAY REVIEW: I Spit On Your Grave
Two versions of this horrific film hit hi-def home video...
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There are certain films which forever change the face of cinema and, while it's low on the list and low in the opinions of many moviegoers and critics, the 1978 rape revenge film I Spit on Your Grave (originally known as Day of the Woman) is one such film.
An emotionally raw and intense look at one woman's horrific experience and the lengths to which she'll go in order to see the men responsible dead, both the recently released remake and the original I Spit on Your Grave are now available on blu-ray thanks to Anchor Bay Entertainment.
Both films tell the same story: big city 20-something writer Jennifer Hills (Camille Keaton in the original, Sarah Butler in the remake) seeks solace and peace in the country to write her next book. However, the country's not all it's cracked up to be after Jennifer runs into a group of local boys who make her life a living - and literal - hell. After a brutal beating and gang rape which leaves Jennifer near dead, the men return to their regular, trashy lives. However, unbeknownst to them, they soon find themselves facing retribution, hate, and determination the likes of which they've never seen.
Both the original and the remake feature more gratuitous violence than necessary, the remake the most. While the original was made specifically to be risque at the time and had to contend with the MPAA 3 times before finally being given the go-ahead, the remake features an "Unrated" version which does it's best to contend with other violence and gore-riddled horror that's out there.
The original's production value was down right terrible, though Anchor Bay has done it's best to bring it up to hi-def standards. The video transfer features the expected graininess, lines and otherwise low quality; though colors are essentially as they were 30 years ago. The remake features a solid video transfer in 1080p with the lighting used and earthly tones giving the film a somewhat washed out, pale look. The video transfer from the original similarly featured a poor audio track, but the updated blu-ray has brought some of it back to life. The remake's soundtrack - Dolby TrueHD 5.1 lossless - delivers a fine audio, with proper use of the surround speakers, even with most of the film's audio through the front speaker.
As for special features, the original features an audio commentary with both writer/director Meir Zarchi and author/historian Joe Bob Briggs. Both commentary discuss the film's cult status as well as the film's role in film culture. Briggs' commentary is more impressive of the pair. Other special features include "The Values of Vengeance: Meir Zarchi Remembers I Spit on Your Grave," a 30 minute look back at the film, the reactions of viewers and critics, and the remake. Other special features include an alternate main title sequence, a number of radio spots and trailers, and a poster and still gallery.
The remake features a number of special features as well, including an audio commentary with director Steven R. Monroe and producer Lisa Hansen, who talk about the film's rating, the differences and similarities between the original and remake, and the film and character extremes seen in the film. A 17 minute "The Revenge of Jennifer Hills: Remaking a Cult Icon" which chats with cast and crew about the updated film. Also included are a number of deleted scenes, trailers, and a short radio spot. Lastly, a digital copy is also included for those with a portable digital device.
Director Meir Zarchi, who brought the original to life, created what many would consider a cult classic. Now, 30 years later, Steven R. Monroe has tried to do it justice. Unfortunately, the modern remake fails in that it features all (and more!) of the violence and gore in the original, but somehow lacks the social context which made the original so thought-provoking.
Not for the faint of heart...and probably not even for those who have a strong stomach, both the original and the remake of I Spit on Your Grave are only for those moviegoers who find something worth while about the torture films of recent years. Both versions of I Spit on Your Grave are available now on blu-ray wherever home video is sold.
- Jess C. Horsley
"Until next time...have FUN with your figures!!"
Jess C. Horsley