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Deadgirl (2008)

  Tags: Andrew DiPalma, Candice Accola, Deadgirl, Eric Podnar, Marcel Sarmiento, Michael Bowen, necrophilia, Noah Segan, Nolan Gerard Funk, Shiloh Fernandez, Zombie Movies

Your rating: None Average: 6.2 (5 votes)
Reviewer Rating: 
7

deadgirl.jpg
Rating #: 
7/10
Director: 
Marcel Sarmiento
Runtime: 
97 minutes
Cast: 
Shiloh Fernandez, Noah Segan, Michael Bowen, Candice Accola, Andrew DiPalma, Eric Podnar, Nolan Gerard Funk


Ah, Deadgirl, what a straight up effing bizarre little film you are.  Having obtained a copy quite a while ago, I had let it collect dust on the shelf due to A.) the god awful cover (they totally should have used to original poster art.) and B.) the slight hesitation of watching a movie about teenage boys fucking a corpse.  But color me shocked, I really dug this twisted and darkly comedic twist on the well worn zombie formula.

Now, if you find yourself offended by pressing issues that affect today’s teens such as peer pressure, rape, necrophilia, and genital mutilation due to forced felatio then you should probably avoid this film.  However, if you are among the open minded and fetish enhanced then Deadgirl might just be the sick and depraved treat you’ve been looking for. 

Two social outcasts, Rickie and J.T., discover a girl chained in the basement of an abandoned asylum.  So what are horny teenage boys to do?  Use her as a sex slave of course.  But when J.T. gets a little rough and accidentally asphyxiates his honey wagon, they soon determine that their new girlfriend is a balls to the wall flesh eating zombie…bummer.  Does this detour J.T. from steering his schooner through the love canal?  Of course not.  While Rickie, who’s saving himself for his life long childhood crush JoAnn, is hesitant to partake in the fun, J.T. becomes obsessed with Deadgirl, almost never leaving the basement.  After determining that Deadgirl’s bite can turn anyone else into a mindless sex slave, J.T. begins his search for a new girlfriend.

I know what you’re thinking, this sound absolutely vile and disgusting and why would anyone want to watch it.  But I totally swear that directors Marcel Sarmiento and Gadi Harel handle Trent Haaga’s script with a certain amount of tact, leaving a lot of the actual bumping and grinding off screen unless absolutely necessary.  The story took its time to build up, with most of the action taking place towards the last half of the movie, giving ample amount of time for the filmmakers to develop the characters into well rounded human beings.  Something new and different for low budget horror films. 

Visually I was also impressed with the professionalism on display.  The subdued color palate mixed with the above average camera work helped Deadgirl stand out amongst other, similarly budgeted horror fare.  There was once a time when Shot On Video was an ugly phrase that turned a lot of people off, but in this tech savvy, future world that we live in video is no longer 35mm’s red headed bastard stepchild being beaten in a Kmart parking lot.  Although there are some drastically under lit scenes that, by the look of the varying degrees of grain, were brought up in post that were occasionally distracting.

When it comes to character driven horror films, they usually live or die by the actors’ performances.  Luckily, Deadgirl has assembled a cast of more than capable young actors who are able to deliver would be hokey dialogue in the script and make it work.  Shiloh Fernandez did his best at trying to make Rickie more than just the stereotypical whiney virginal, wannabe, but Noah Segan as J.T. steals the show here.  The only other notable film I’ve seen him in was Cabin Fever 2, which cast him as a total loser in desperate need of dumping the sand out of his crevasse and growing a pair of stones.  Here he embraces the sadistic, mentally unhinged role and really delivers on the intensity and hopelessness needed to bring the character to life.  And, despite the fact that she had zero lines of dialogue, Jenny Spain as the title character really brought in the creep factor and uneasiness.  Kudos to her for baring it all for her entire screen time as well.

There’s a lot of dark humored moments lying within Deadgirl’s narrative.  And while a good amount of it hits right on, there’s also a lot that misses.  It’s not that the parts that miss are unfunny or in bad taste, they just don’t always fit in with the disturbing and serious tone that’s present throughout the rest of the movie.  One scene for example features J.T. and his cohort attempting to abduct a new girl to become the new deadgirl.  She’s a rather large and in charge individual and beats the living piss out of them.  It’s a great scene and I urinated with laughter while watching it, but at this point in the movie it just didn’t fit and created uneven tonal shifts.

Deadgirl is no doubt a flawed movie that’s bound to polarize audiences with its disturbing subject matter, but I give it credit for trying something new with the zombie sub-genre and succeeding…for the most part.  I’m always hesitant when I here of a horror film referred to as a “coming of age” movie, but, similarly to Ginger Snaps, the filmmakers behind Deadgirl had enough faith in the material to deliver a serious and twisted little film that wont be easy to forget.

Posted on March 28, 2010 - 6:36pm | Johnny D

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