Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Deadgirl

2008 ****

Yes, it's too bad I keep leaving Horrorthon reviews undone for the better part of a year. But it's particularly too bad I flaked on this one, because it might've helped JPX divest himself of his alleged vigorous pro-rape stance, as discussed extensively (and hilariously) after his review last year.

As you may recall, the movie's protagonists are two outcast teenagers who happen upon a naked woman chained to a bed in a room deep, deep beneath an abandoned mental hospital. One of the lads, JT, astounded at their good luck, invites his friend Ricky to join him in some consequence-free fucking. Ricky, disgusted, leaves.

Here's the line that got JPX in such trouble: "What would you do if you were a horny teenager who had no chance with women in real life and you found a hot, naked woman who couldn’t speak, strapped to a table in a place where she could never escape and where it is unlikely that she would ever be discovered?" He probably would have avoided confusion if he pointed out that the movie rotates on that very question. Ricky does the right thing but he's a desire-addled teenager and is haunted by this strange, beautiful, dreadful woman.

He visits JT, who has become a sort of squalid, basement Hugh Hefner. It might seem obvious, but the setting of this deep, dark, secret room matches perfectly with the raw, bottom-of-the-id nature of the things that take place there. Ricky's own desire, while having less to do with flesh hitting flesh, is still completely overwhelming. At one point he asks JT if he sees something in the deadgirl's eyes, "like she... knows something." He's a romantic, drawn in by the mystery of this gory, deathless, dark fairy.

I feel a couple points of clarity are in order. This movie does depict what can only be called rape, but it isn't glorified, and much of it is implied, or shadowed -- it's not, in terms of plain old content, anything any Horrorthonner could handle. The movie is straight up icky, don't get me wrong, but it's skillfully icky. A large part of that is the performance of the title character, who turns on a dime from sultry to dead-eyed to savage. Creepily enough it is like she... knows something.

My main nitpick with Deadgirl is a surprising fault to see in this day and age, and it's teenagers being played by actors who are obviously older. Not to mention one of the best-looking social outcasts anyone has ever seen.

"I wish I could get girls to notice me."

My other nitpick with Deadgirl is logistical. The first second deadgirl gets even one hand out of a restraint, she goes all savage zombie, and is barely restrainable. Yet somehow JT manages to tie her up in different positions and locations, without the benefit of a cattle prod or zombie noose or anything. Don't make sense.

Deadgirl's strength is that it's a deliberately small story -- actually a small zombie story, which is even rarer. The origin and destiny of our cute little revenant are not the movie's focus points. Aside from a few teachers in the background, there are no authority figures to answer to, no parents or cops. The entire movie plays within a tiny circle of friends and their deep places of need.

6 comments:

AC said...

great review, love the nitpicks, feeling no need to see this one.

Catfreeek said...

I feel like this film is like a late night burrito, it keeps coming back up. Great review, your making me feel guilty for not finishing mine.

DCD said...

Yeah, AC, as one biddy to another - I'm with you!

I'm still mad you called me a biddy, JSP! *shaking fist*

Oh, nice review, Octo.

JPX said...

I’m so glad you like this film, Octo! I was disappointed that it was summarily dismissed due to a misunderstanding last year. This is an excellent, disturbing, vicious zombie flick. Thank you for finally reviewing it – I knew you watched it last October and I’ve been waiting for your take on it. I agree about the “teens” looking too old however the older I get the more I think actual teens look like children and these films would probably be less effective if they featured age-accurate teenagers.

AC said...

hah hah dcd, i somehow had forgotten about the "biddy" label (how convenient for me). i am planning a biddy-friendly horrorthon, though mr. ac will probably sneak a few non-biddy movies into the queue.

btw was there ever an official winner for last year?

JPX said...

Stay tuned for words about the winner of last year's contest and some new ideas we have come up with for this year!