‘She struck back in a way only a woman can!’
Day of the Woman – better known by its re-release title, I Spit on Your Grave – is a 1978 exploitation film directed by Meir Zarchi and starring his future wife, Camille Keaton (What Have You Done to Solange?).
The film initially received a limited U.S. theatrical release, with a wider re-release and title change in 1980 by the Jerry Gross Organization (who also released Fulci’s Zombie; The Boogey Man and Blood Beach).
Prominent American film critics Siskel and Ebert condemned the film for its graphic violence and lengthy depiction of carnal assault, it was banned as a video nasty in the UK and the movie remains hugely controversial to this day.
Zarchi co-produced a remake in 2010 and a sequel to this followed in 2013, followed by a further sequel, I Spit on Your Grave 3: Vengeance is Mine, in 2015.
In 2016, I Spit On Your Grave: Deja Vu, a direct sequel to this 1978 film, also starring Camille Keaton, was announced.
New York short story writer Jennifer Hills rents an isolated cottage by a lake in the countryside to write her first novel. The arrival in town of the attractive and independent young woman attracts the attention of Johnny, the gas station manager, and Stanley and Andy, two unemployed youths who hang around the gas station.
Jennifer receives a grocery delivery from Matthew, who is mildly mentally challenged, and befriends him. Matthew is friends with the other three men and reports back to them about the beautiful woman he met, claiming he saw her breasts.
Stanley and Andy start cruising by the cottage in their speedboat and prowl around the house at night. One day, while Jennifer is relaxing in her canoe, they surprise her in their speedboat and tow her to shore.
As she tries to escape, she is met by Johnny, while Matthew hides in bushes nearby. She realizes they planned her abduction so Matthew can lose his virginity. Jennifer fights but is chased by the men through the forest. Matthew refuses to have sex with her, so Johnny carnally assaults her.
They allow her to escape but track her down shortly afterward. Andy brutally assaults her; and after she crawls back to her house, they attack her again. Matthew finally joins in the group attack after drinking alcohol, but he says that he can not reach orgasm with the other men watching. The other men ridicule her book and rip up the manuscript, and Stanley assaults her.
She passes out, but after the men leave, Johnny realizes she is a witness to their crimes and orders Matthew to stab her to death. Matthew cannot bring himself to do this, so he dabs the knife in her blood and returns to the other men claiming he has killed her…
“This movie is an expression of the most diseased and perverted darker human natures, because it is made artlessly, it flaunts its motives: There is no reason to see this movie except to be entertained by the sight of sadism and suffering. As a critic, I have never condemned the use of violence in films if I felt the filmmakers had an artistic reason for employing it. I Spit on Your Grave does not. It is a geek show. I wonder if its exhibitors saw it before they decided to play it and if they felt as unclean afterward as I did.” Roger Ebert
” … a striking and courageous motion picture, gravely misunderstood, but it does have a few noticeable problems. For one, we do not really get to know the female protagonist very much […] and although she murders the men for vengeance, she never quite is able to fully emulate the breadth of emotion that might come with such a personal ordeal.” Dustin Putman
” …I’m left with are two reactions: 1) I Spit on Your Grave’s resonance and ability to disturb comes from its lack of point of view, it’s journalistic observation that sits back, shows what happens, and doesn’t comment on it. And 2) I Spit on Your Grave seems to exist purely as exploitation cinema. As true horror exploitation, its job is to take us somewhere dark, and that it does. And that makes I Spit on Your Grave impossible to dismiss.” Retro Slashers
“Had Camille Keaton’s performance taken place in anything other than an exploitation film (despite Zarchi not intending on it being marketed as such), she would’ve received accolades, for as mentioned above, it’s her chilling performance that sells the film; the men’s performances […] are nowhere near as convincing as Keaton’s…” The Smart Marks
“On the best of days, I struggle not to laugh at rednecks and the hilarity is on display here in droves, with such classic lines as the one above as well as, “one day I’m gonna go to New York and f*ck all the broads there”, which is said dead seriously. You can’t wait to see Jennifer hack these moronic hicks up and she does it in fine form, she is genuinely creepy and devoid of emotion…” Oh, the Horror!