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So what do you get when you put a cast of five (yes, only five) unknown actors, a script with no more than four (yes, only four) pages of dialog, and a $80,000 (yes, thousand not million) budget together? You get a a movie with less substance than most short films on YouTube and a whole bunch of gratuitous nudity and violence. In fact, if it weren’t for the gratuitous scenes and the “video nasty” labeling put on the movie in the early 1980′s I have no doubt this movie would have fallen to the wayside like so many other low-budget horror flicks.
Filmed in the small town of Kent, Connecticut, The movie is about a young writer, Jennifer Hills (I use the term writer loosely as you only get to experience about three sentences of her work and it is just as horrible as the rest of the script) who takes the summer off from New York to pen her first novel at a cabin near a tranquil river. While arriving into town Jennifer stops at a gas station and meets Johnny, Stanley, and Andy. Little to no dialog takes place and quickly the movie progresses to Jennifer at her cabin, getting naked and going skinny dipping (come to think of it, I am pretty sure the young actress is without clothes for more scenes that she is with clothes). Again with no dialog or plot development, the viewer is taken to the bedroom of the cabin where she is unpacking her clothes and discovers a gun in the drawer. Before anything can really happen or any foreshadowing can take place (after there has been nearly 15 minutes of movie and yet nothing has happened of note except for some useless nudity) the local grocery store delivery “boy” is at the cabin. Matthew, who is a mix of Dustin Hoffman’s “Rain Man” and Gilligan, drops off the groceries and finally some dialog happens. It’s not very good dialog and the acting is at best pathetic.
The next few scenes try to put together a story by showing the local hicks (the boys from the gas station) being fascinated by the young writer. As they have never said a word to each other the viewer can only assume that the hicks “ain’t never seen a purdy lady before.” Sure enough, the very next scene shows them dragging her to the woods and the four boys (the gas station attendant, the two hicks and the grocery delivery boy) all gang rape Jennifer. In fact over the next 20-25 minutes or so, she is raped by each of the four boys in succession both in the woods and back at her cabin. This may sound violent and crude but in fact the scenes are so poorly acted and filmed that I couldn’t help but laugh inside. The sex scenes look more like the guy is having a seizure than it does him having sex. After all four guys get their chance with her, they leave and put Matthew in charge of killing her so she can’t call the cops. Of course that should be the end of the story but Matthew, having the mental capacity of a four year old, lies about stabbing her and leaves her unconscious in her cabin.
Fast forward though a few random clips and we get to Jennifer’s Revenge (the original film title was “Day of the Woman” and also “The Rape and Revenge of Jennifer Hills”). In most revenge films, we the viewer gets to enjoy the painstaking planning and mental darkness that goes through the victim’s mind as the plot and scheme. In this movie, the director decided to skip all that “plot stuff” and go right into the killing. Using her ability to seduce the four men (aka be naked again), Jennifer kills all four men in a matter of about 10 minutes and just as quickly, the movie is done and the credits (sadly only lasting about 20 seconds) scroll the screen and you are left wondering “WHat the hell was that?”
They recently remade the movie and five bucks says it sucks just as much:
Of course for 1978, this movie is very racy and violent. I can only imagine how many horny boys went to the movie multiple times to see what equates to a badly acted and scripted soft-core porn (yes the acting and script makes the “skin-a-max” and HBO porn look like masterpieces). The naming of the movie as one of the “video nasty” films in the UK and the banning of the film in Ireland made this poorly executed movie into an overnight success and continues to get undeserved publicity to this day including placing it on Time’s “Top 10 Rediculously Violent” list. I don’t normally quote other reviews in my postings but I think Roger Ebert (who gave it no stars out of five) sums it up better than I can:
The story of ‘I Spit on Your Grave’ is told with moronic simplicity. These horrible events are shown with an absolute minimum of dialogue, which is so poorly recorded that it often cannot be heard. There is no attempt to develop the personalities of the characters – they are, simply, a girl and four men, one of them mentally retarded. The movie is nothing more or less than a series of attacks on the girl and then her attacks on the men, interrupted only by an unbelievably grotesque and inappropriate scene in which she enters a church and asks forgiveness for the murders she plans to commit. It [is] a vile bag of garbage…without a shred of artistic distinction. Attending it was one of the most depressing experiences of my life.
If you want to see what a real revenge movie is all about, perhaps these will interest you:
Unfortunately on Netflix you cannot give a rating of 0 so it got one star.