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Different, controversial...but somewhat muted in UK version
on 15 September 2005
New York writer Jennifer (Camille Keaton, the grand-niece of physical comedy genius Buster Keaton) retreats to a cabin in the country to write her first novel, but her peace and train of thought is interrupted by four men she meets upon arrival, who go on to gang-rape and commit savagery on her three times before leaving her for dead (one of the guys was supposed to kill her so she couldn't grass them up but he couldn't go through with it and faked her death instead).
However, Jennifer soon recovers from her ordeal sufficiently enough to enact some very painful revenge on each of her four attackers, one by one...
Banned in the UK until 2001, it was only finally granted an 18 certificate in that year when the BBFC ordered just over seven minutes of cuts to the rape scenes. When this newer version was resubmitted to the BBFC in 2003 with some of the previously cut footage reframed to put Jennifer off the bottom of the screen, they passed all except just 41 seconds of cuts, making this the most complete version we have ever had in the UK. While it's still shocking, the reframed footage is noticeably blurrier and the wrongness of the screen layout is very obvious. Also, not being able to see the victim has undoubtedly muted the effect, making her vengeful attacks later seem over-the-top compared to what it might have been had the censored footage been left in its original uncut form, but I guess on this occasion the BBFC's hands are tied and that we should think ourselves lucky that we got the film officially released at all.
Many have accused it of glorifying rape, which is not the case at all. If anything, it shows just how horrific it really is, and how damaging it is, physically and emotionally, to the victim. Meir Zarchi, the Italian director, handled a very difficult subject matter here, and it was even based on a real event.
Other complaints that even the uncut version wouldn't cure is that the acting is a bit hammy sometimes, with dialogue sometimes sounding like it's being barked down a hollow tube, and some of the gore isn't quite the right shade of red, but given the time it was made it's not miles away from the correct colour, and the bathroom scene is still a ghastly sight.
If you like shocks and scares, you'll certainly get some in I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE, possibly one of the most complained-about and controversial movies in cinema history!