Deadgirl Review

Movie: Deadgirl
By: Maniac E
Date: June 25, 2012

You Never Forget Your First Time

Dark, dark film, tackling the taboo of necrophilia in a whole new way, using the zombie mythology as a warped means to make a statement on alienated youth and their yearning for something more. I initially picked Deadgirl on the expectations of shock values, eg. rape, gore, torture porn. However delivering more than just a gore-porn horror flick, Deadgirl stuns me as a powerful and disturbing examination of the human psyche.

The story:

two high school-age friends, Rickie (Shiloh Fernandez) and JT (Noah Segan), both awkward losers, who, while ditching school, go to the local long-abandoned mental institution to drink warm beers and commit vandalism, and in its deepest tunnels they discover a beautiful naked woman (Jenny Spain), covered in plastic and chained to a medical gurney. The boys soon realize that the woman is undead (with no explanation given) and it's a good bet that no one knows she's there, so JT suggests they use the animate, bound corpse as their personal sex slave. Conflicted but definitely not down with that plan, sensitive Rickie urges his friend to leave with him, but JT is a horny adolescent whose urges far outweigh any sense of morality or common decency (or sanity, for that matter), and he knows a good thing when he sees one. They have a falling out and from that point it's clear that their friendship will never be the same, but they agree to keep the dead girl their little secret. But since when were teenagers any good at keeping secrets? Once the dead girl is no longer a commodity known solely to the two friends, things escalate into incredibly warped territory and offers up what may be the most disturbing coming of age story yet committed to celluloid.


As the film begins you can almost hear an audible groan of disgust of "Here we go with another torture porn rape film", and this may be an especially true reaction from any female viewers. But if you give the film a chance you'll likely find the film to challenge your preconceptions and even deliberately pose challenging questions, to which there are no clear cut answers. This in itself sets it apart from other horror films. It's not simply a joy ride of jump scares and exploitive violence. Deadgirl is vastly complex, while appearing excruciatingly simple. It's a film that also straddles a delicate line between satiating the animalistic bloodlust of genre fans, while appealing to a wider audience of indie film enthusiasts, and not always successfully.


Despite its obvious horrific elements, Deadgirl is at its heart a realistic drama about the fears and disillusionment of adolescence, to say nothing of shedding light on the darker aspects of the young male psyche and how it can run rampant without supervision or guidance, providing a telling allegory about how some young men are raised to view and treat women. Rickie's unrequited love for JoAnn (Candice Accola) is a heartbreaking plot point as he hopelessly pines for her, a wholesome and pretty girl who was his sweetheart during pre-pubescence but now won't give him the time of day and dates a vicious jock. So on the one hand we have sleazy JT getting his hump on with a zombie that's basically a piece of meat, while on the other we have Rickie's exercise in romantic/emotional futility, and while those paths lead to a descent into grisly madness, the film is a strong examination of the agonizing teen years of the heterosexual male human condition.


However, there were some elements of the movie that either didn't make sense or just seemed far too rushed. Ok, there is a time and budget limit here, and thankfully being sound of mind myself, I don't know these things, but one of the characters just seemed to go from rebellious teenager to necrophiliac rapist in a matter of seconds. From the first glimpse, the girl is clearly decaying, with blue and green mottled flesh, yet he seemed more than willing to have sex with her. There was no period of contemplation and then giving in to carnal lust eventually. There is also a random dog that keeps popping up in the asylum and menacing anyone who goes near it, but there is no reason for it to be there. Aldo, you have the second of our duo who is repulsed by what he is seeing, but he doesn't actually do anything about it, short of limply trashing his room in one scene, or constantly going back to the basement to talk to his clearly deranged friend, whereas one call to the police would have solved everyone's problems.


That said, I did enjoy the film overall for its originality and its thought provoking nature. It also does not give answers, so if you like everything explained as to why it's occurred, this may leave you wanting. In this case, I think it helped the narrative. We are seeing this story mainly from the perspective of the two college guys. They don't know why she is there, let alone why she is undead, so why should we? The film also uses quick split second imagery and sounds to get the heart rate up too, but these are used sparingly, not overused just for a scare factor. Not a film I would go out and buy and proudly display it on my DVD shelves, but one I'm glad I caught just not first date material.







Marcel Sarmiento, Gadi Harel






Shiloh Fernandez, Noah Segan and Candice Accola