Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Review: Deadgirl

Growing up is never easy when you're an outcast. School's a drag, the top jock dates the girl who at 12  gave you your first kiss, and your home life is ruled by a drunk leaching off your mom. Your only friends are losers just like you.

But what if you and your friends found something that could change all that? Where it didn't matter who you were or where you came from? What if you could have all your desires fulfilled? Would you grab at the chance?

That's the dilemma facing Rickie (Shiloh Fernandez) and JT (Noah Segan) in Deadgirl, a surprisingly well-made and well-acted "coming of age" film about two high school social misfits who decide to skip school and hang out inside an abandoned mental asylum. After being chased by a vicious dog into a basement room, they find what appears to be a dead girl chained completely nude to a gurney. Scared the killer is still nearby they're startled to see the girl breathe.

That sets up their first dilemma: do they free her and call the police, as Rickie wants to do, or do they use her for their own carnal pleasure, as JT argues they should? Rickie flees horrified as JT moves to act out his desires.

The next day JT persuades Rickie to return, that there's something he needs to see, that it can't be explained. As they approach the room, JT tells Rickie of his sexual exploits with the girl, but in a rage after she tried to bite him, he killed her. JT then takes a gun from Rickie and pumps three bullets into the girl. "I killed her three times," JT tells Rickie. The dead girl, it seems, is not dead at all. She's undead.

The movie slips into a bit of "zombie porn" (but it's tastefully done!) and there's definitely some humor to it. As I've mentioned in previous reviews, I don't like comedy in my horror movies; I want the subject matter treated with the respect it deserves. Deadgirl keeps the humor in line with the movie, and while there are certain cliche parts, as should be expected with any teen angst tale, it really took the zombie genre in a different direction.

Now before you rush out and rent it, you should be forewarned that if you're the least bit prudish you probably don't want to watch this. There is definitely deviant sexual behavior displayed, but in the scheme of the movie the necrophilia (or is that un-necrophilia?) is not gratuitous. The plot is original and the ending, while not predictable, is not much of a surprise either.

It is a story with moral implications about how far you are willing to take your friendship and stretch your own ethical code. It's not a movie for everyone, but for a movie with an apparently miniscule budget, the cinematographer did a heckuva job making it look good. It's controversial, as the bondage, physical and sexual assault, not to mention the necrophilia, will turn some (a lot of) people off. But then again, I liked Human Centipede, which also seemed to freak a lot of people out. This is an intelligent zombie movie and worth viewing if you're not to squeamish about immoral behavior.

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