Directed by Marcel Sarmiento and Gadi Harel
"Wanna see a dead body?"
Deadgirl is like a depraved, warped up horror version of Stand by Me. Think an indie film with a horror element Romero-ed into it. Such is the beauty and the chill sicko-ness of Deadgirl, definitely one of the top 10 horror movies of 2009.
I've seen films where as I'm watching I feel really ashamed to be seeing this. Deadgirl so disturbing yet highly provocative that at the end you feel dirty, kinda ugh and your definitely not Jersey Shore fist pumping in the air. But when a movie like this comes along, you have to give it a standing O. It puts on screen images that challenge your morality, question your ethics, think of things a little differently and amp up your Klingon vengeance served cold. So many emotions are rushed into you in an hour 40 min, that even though they're not happy thoughts, it leaves an impact even the most logical Vulcan would feel. (yay! 2 Star Trek references in 2 straight sentences!)
Deadgirl is what a horror movie that runs fuel of all that is wrong, but somehow you want to see this Elephant Man car all the way to the end. That's the nature of seeing something so raw, so real and so disturbingly human.
Two high school boys discover an imprisoned woman in an abandoned mental asylum who cannot die.
Rickie (Shiloh Fernandez) and JT (Noah Segan) are stoner high school friends, our stereotypical high school burnouts who discover in a abandoned mental hospital a decaying woman who is unbelievably alive. Their discovery and what they should do is shocking but also establishes who these kids are. Rickie is our anti-hero, whose ethically challenged and JT who basically wants to play with their new sex toy and has no qualms about doing some fucked up shit.
In the middle of all this, Rickie has a uber crush on JoAnn, who is the GF of jock douchebag Johnny. After JT brings their other friend Wheeler into the mix, the wheels start turning as we see JT and Wheeler violate the decomposing corpse and Rickie struggling with what do. The film focuses on Rickie, his family life, his obsessive stalker persona of JoAnn and keeping this fuckin huge secret...well a secret. Later, others "discover" what's going on, pay for their horniness and leads to a JT vs Rickie vs Deadgirl showdown. The core will have figured out the ending but the jabronis (the few who attempted to watch this) will be screaming bloody murder.
Got all that?
To review this movie you really have to strip the horror part of the zombie girl out of the mix. Because when you do, all your left with is a movie about men's perception of women, a teenage angst high school flick and the control of your destiny. Sure, we got zombies, some gore and splatter but Sarmiento and Harel could have easily made an ALIVE girl and not a Deadgirl and we would be talking about the same things (and worst, it would have made this movie 1 billion times more disturbing).
The misogyny engrained in Deadgirl is highly graphic. Not glamorized but highly gritty, the dead girl (played by Jenny Spain) is repeatedly raped and tortured. Treated as a piece of meat, the film takes the high ground in terms of torture porn. All the men who partake don't do it because they are evil (I mean they are...to do this, you gotta be fucked up) but because it's controlled and predictable. The opportunity is 100% guaranteed and in this adolescent world, it is - the peer pressure that overtakes all logic.
This segways into the teenage high school angst aspect. JT, Rickie and Wheeler get the crap beaten out of them by the jockiest jocks. With no control in the outside world, they are crawl into the basement of the mental asylum where they are in control. Deadgirl plays into the high school dynamic perfectly. In one way, Rickie goes back and forth between the two. His love for JoAnn in the real world is unpredictable and painful as opposed to this deadgirl world. But Deadgirl doesn't deliver us a John Hughes Bender/Claire happy ending. It's too smart to know we won't buy it. Instead, the reality of the 2 worlds clashes and in the end you get one that's blended like a bizarro world.
And that's why JT and Wheeler embrace the dead girl world. In a most WTF moment,JT puts lipstick and a glamor mag on the dead girl to make her "attractive". They have accepted that they'll be pumping gas or live a life destined to servicing the above classes. JT utters this to Rickie towards the end of the movie.
"Think about it, we're just can fodder for the rest of the world. Down here we're in control. We call the shots down here....you don't have to be the nice guy"
Three distinct issues are blended into a movie and throw in a zombie girl (fun fact! the term zombie is never uttered by any of the characters) and it all equals a horror movie that you want to recommend but are ashamed to admit you watched. What the Deadgirl represents is multiple ideas. Our objectification of women, our longing to be better than who we are and our motivation to control our lives and the moments in them because we thing it's the easiest route to happiness.
Filled with the most disturbing and fucked up scenes of human depravity and even some moments of ha ha's, Deadgirl has vaulted up on my list of the best horror movies of 2009. The performances from the no-name cast are solid as is the story from Trent Haaga and the direction from Sarmiento and Harel. The disturbing images and some scenes of drag and even a few hiccuping weirdness knock out a half from my rating. When I tell you a movie makes an impact, don't take that shit likely.
That's my way of telling you to see this film with a bag over my head.
Face and lip trauma
Is corpse nudity considered nudity?
One hell of a shit
Big momma kicks the crap out JT and Wheeler
The Jaded Viewer's Final Prognosis
This is another movie I've watched towards the end of the year so I can come up with a clear list of my top 10 horror movies of 2009. I do this every year and every freakin year something gets bumped that I originally had on there.
The fact that Deadgirl is going to bump something off the list, says frakin volumes.
It's out on DVD, probably through Amazon and Netflix or wherever you get your movies these days.
Check out the trailer below.