I Spit On Your Grave appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. Given the film’s age and low-budget origins, this was a pretty satisfactory presentation.
For the most part, Grave seemed reasonably sharp. Some mild soft spots occurred, but I thought it presented more than adequate delineation, as the majority of the movie looked concise and accurate. Jagged edges and shimmering weren’t issues, and edge enhancement remained absent.
Colors seemed good, as the hues were relatively peppy and dynamic. The flick used a natural palette that worked for its country setting. Occasional shots looked a bit off, but most demonstrated more than acceptable hues. Blacks were reasonably dark and tight, while low light shots usually demonstrated nice delineation; a few night sequences seemed a bit dense, but those weren’t a significant concern.
Source flaws were an issue, though not to a tremendous degree. Through the film, I saw instances of spots and specks. These created distractions, but not on a constant level, as most of the film looked acceptably clean. A few issues knocked my grade down to a “B-”, but I still felt fairly pleased with the image.
I felt less happy with the film’s Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack. This was where the movie’s age and cheapness really showed, as the audio quality was often weak. This was especially true in terms of dialogue, as the lines were often muddy and tough to understand. While I could discern most of the speech, enough exceptions occurred to force me to turn on subtitles.
The rest of the track sounded better. Score wasn’t a factor, as the movie featured virtually no music beyond source cues. Effects were a pretty minor matter as well, as they stayed in the background during most of the film. Within their mild ambitions, the effects sounded decent.
The soundfield stayed subdued. For the most part, it concentrated on general ambience; we’d get buzzing and chirping in the woods, and we’d get clinking and chatting in a diner. Some vehicle movement occurred, and a little directional dialogue also appeared. Nothing special manifested itself, though, and the movie really didn’t benefit from the surround treatment; it would’ve been just fine in its original monaural incarnation. The biggest problem here remained the quality of the dialogue, and that meant a “C-“ grade.
This Blu-ray includes a decent roster of supplements, including two separate audio commentaries. The first comes from director/writer Meir Zarchi, as he offers a running, screen-specific chat. Zarchi discusses the inspiration for the film, sets and locations, photography and other technical areas, story, script and character issues, cast and performances, editing, the absence of score, ratings/distribution and controversies.
Zarchi clearly reads from notes for his commentary, so don’t expect a track with a sense of spontaneity; the director can seem a bit stiff and stilted at times. Nonetheless, he seems prepared, and the text allows him to ensure that he digs into the movie in a fairly rich manner. Yes, he can come across as a bit too eager to tell us about the film’s greatness, but he still delivers an informative piece that lets us know a lot about the flick.
For the second commentary, we hear from author/historian Joe Bob Briggs. He also offers a running, screen-specific piece that both attacks and defends the movie. Briggs provides a combination of production notes, interpretation and mockery.
This doesn’t turn into a simple MST3K-style attempt to make fun of the flick. Briggs does laugh at the film’s sillier aspects, but he also strenuously defends it against its many critics; he frequently rebuts their complaints. Briggs makes a pretty good case for it; he doesn’t seem to really buy into Zarchi’s pretensions, but he also doesn’t see it as a basic piece of exploitation. Briggs provides a nice contrast to the self-important seriousness of the Zarchi track; he occasionally does little more than narrate the movie, and his frequent use of the word “retard” borders on offensive, but he still makes this an amusing and enjoyable chat.
We find more from the director during the 29-minute The Values of Vengeance: Meit Zarchi Remembers I Spit On Your Grave. Here Zarchi chats about the movie’s influences, casting and his relationship with the lead actress, photography and editing, the absence of score, MPAA concerns and distribution, and the film’s legacy. Zarchi spends about half the program with new material and half with info from the commentary. I can’t say that this ends up as a particularly fascinating piece, though, as most of the fresh remarks seem lackluster. It’s not a bad chat but it’s not especially illuminating.
Next comes an Alternate Main Title. This runs a whopping 16 seconds and differs from the actual main film only in that it uses the moniker Day of the Woman, the flick’s original title. That’s fine for archival purposes, I guess.
Images appear via a Poster and Still Gallery. This includes 19 images that mix ads and shots from the set. Nothing scintillating appears, but I do like the format; you can use your remote to move from one thumbnail shot to the next and enlarge them when you see one that interests you.
The disc opens with ads for I Spit On Your Grave (2010), Frozen, and Altitude. We also get four trailers for Grave, three TV Spots and three Radio Ads.
The controversial I Spit On Your Grave lives up to its billing as a brutal, graphic depiction of rape and violence, but does that make it worth watching? Not really. While I can understand the filmmakers’ goals, I think the movie becomes too unpleasant to achieve them. The Blu-ray provides surprisingly solid picture quality and some interesting supplements, but the soundtrack shows its age. Overall, I think this is a strong release for a movie I don’t want to watch again.