I Spit on Your Grave &
I Spit on Your Grave Déjà vu
                                  review by Bobby Blakey

I love films that have a controversial history whether they are great or not. I find myself needing to see these if for no other reason than to see what all the fuss was about. In 1978 director Meir Zarchi unleashed his film I Spit On Your Grave aka Day of the Woman that shocked the world. Since it has not only become a cult classic, but spawned a remake and two sequels that were even more brutal. In 2019 Zarchi and original star Camille Keaton came back together for the direct sequel to the original film with I Spit On Your Grave: Dej Vu, but does it capture everything that made the original work or should it have been left for dead?

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I Spit On Your Grave follows Jennifer, a writer who is working on a new novel and needs to get out of the city to finish it. She rents a riverside cabin in upstate New York to work on her novel, attracting the attention of a number of rowdy male locals. They catch Jennifer one day and strip her naked for the village idiot and rape her. Jennifer is later attacked and raped a further two times by the four degenerates, and her novel is also destroyed. But Jennifer recovers, and in her now-twisted, psychotic state, she begins to seek revenge on the men.

 

On the surface this film can be seen as just another horror thriller with a victimized woman that is often hard to watch. While those elements are there this is so much more about woman empowerment than anything else. After the horrific events of the film instead of the usual trope of bringing in a man to save the day it lets the victim find her strength and get her own brutal revenge and it delivers. Sure seeing this film now it is hard to imagine why it was surrounded by so much controversy, but you have to look at it in the time it was released.

 

I remember seeing this poster growing up in the video stores always wondering what this was and it took years before I was able to finally see it. It is a great movie with some flaws, but the overall tone and end result of 

seeing Jennifer dole out her justice is a worthy payoff to the brutality that came before it. The subject matter isn’t easy to watch, but that is kind of the point and why it holds up so well. Add the excellent new transfer and the film looks better than ever. This is for sure a must have for fans of the film or just cult classic cinema.

I Spit On Your Grave: Deja Vu follows now successful writer Jennifer Hills who is hurled back to where it all began to face the wrath of the families of those she murdered. Kidnapped along with her daughter Christy, it’s a tense game of hunt – or be hunted – against a lethal gang of degenerates overseen by a violently unhinged matriarch Becky. While the original film is hard to watch on some level I love the fact that it turns the tables making the victim into a strong character fighting back so I was excited to hear of this direct sequel and hoped it would bring more of the same and while it does it is bogged down by a lot of problems as well.

The idea here is strong and does a great job at continuing the story with some unexpected twists and turns that makes for a great film. Sadly there are so many long drawn out unnecessary dialogues and silly moments that it takes away from what works. I applaud Zarchi for making the film that he wanted to and it felt like a story that has been forming for a long time, but you have to know when to scale it back to get rid of the unnecessary stuff. The beginning of the film is kind of abrupt but works to set up where they are going, but then it takes quite a while for anything to happen. When it finally does it’s a mixed bag of some good and some laughable.

I wanted to love this movie so much and with the level of excitement I had 

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to say I was let down overall. That’s not to say there isn’t anything good here. There is some graphic violence and redemption as expected, but it is watered down with too much silliness and nonsense. If you love the original or the remakes like I do this is still a must see and own for the collection, but know it is an independent film and a bit hard to get through, but sadly not for the same reasons as the original.

Grab your copies of both I Spit On Your Grave and I Spit On Your Grave: Deja Vu available now on Blu-ray from Ronin Flix.