This gets my vote for the most disappointing film of the last few years. Wait a minute; that’s not strong enough. I absolutely hate this movie!! I hate everything about it: The execution, the dialogue, the plot, the stupid things every single character does, and the ending. The pre-release buzz and reviews from various film festivals promised an “uncompromising film” that’s “nearly perfect” in every way. REALLY? Did these reviewers actually see this crap-fest or did they just take the word of the film makers on faith? This movie was neither compelling, shocking, nor revolting. The potential to be a very dark movie was there, but the execution was s**t and I don’t think the director’s (Marcel Sarmiento and Gadi Harel) had the talent to pull it off. In fact every second of this flick felt like amateur hour.
I hate this movie NOT because I felt it was offensive, but because it wasn’t offensive at all; it didn’t just not push any boundaries, but it didn’t even get close to the boundaries. The film makers here completely pussed out. You can feel the smugness of the directors who truly believe they are indeed breaking taboos and treading into new and dark horror territory.
But they don’t. Not even close. What could have been extremely dark ends up feeling like a couple of frat boys borrowing their dad’s video camera and messing around.
The basic story here (and that’s all this is … a basic story) has two high school buddies J.T. and Rickie ditching school one day. They decide to go to the friendly neighborhood abandoned asylum and drink some beer and vandalize the place. But a guard dog chases them deep down into the basement where they find a seemingly dead girl wrapped in plastic and chained on a hospital gurney. Hold on a second: A guard dog? People don’t just throw a guard dog in a building to patrol and keep watch over the property. I mean someone’s gotta feed it!! But we never see any sign of a human guard. Just chalk this up too one unexplained plot hole (and trust me, there’s a lot of plot holes here).
So J.T. and Rickie (or as I like to call them, “Douche-Bags”) find the zombie chick in an abandoned basement. Rickie is immediately disgusted by J.T.’s enamorment of the dead girl and kind of breaks away from him. But J.T. just can’t seem to pass up every opportunity to have sex with the zombie chick. He starts off doing her hesitantly but over time grows more and more masochistic with her. Eventually J.T. gets to the point where he becomes the zombie girl’s pimp (more on this below). If I had to isolate exactly where this movie loses me its right about here (and we’re still in the first 20 minutes of this crap-fest). Instead of Deadgirl being a dark and disturbing exploration of desire and desire’s connection between sex, death, pain, and dominance, what we get is a stupid plot that’s reduced to “horny teens humping a dead girl.” It feels like a National Lampoon flick, but not as good!
Another problem I had is that the director’s never establish their “zombie
rules.” Actually to be fair, I don’t think the term “zombie” was ever even mentioned here. But I think it’s pretty obvious the directors were treating the dead girl like a zombie and they just didn’t want to commit to that label. It doesn’t matter guys; everyone knows she’s a zombie chick so you need to man-up and give us the “rules” for your zombies. What we know is that the dead girl was locked up in the basement of an abandoned asylum long enough for a thick metal door to be completely rusted shut. That’s a pretty long time. But when our two douche-bags remove the plastic she’s in they find she is actually undead. Plus she has super strength, is extremely fast, and has better skin than most teenagers. Ooooook. Maybe the undead have access to Proactiv? I don’t know; I’m just saying. But any way you slice it, the dead girl is pretty hot. She has clear, smooth, satiny skin, and apparently she sweats a lot during sex. I wasn’t aware that the undead sweat! Again, I’m just saying.
And if you’re thinking to yourself, “Wouldn’t she just have wasted away,” well you are correct. Anyone with even a little zombie knowledge knows that the undead decompose.
Time is our only true defense against a zombie horde because eventually they’ll waste away to nothing. But not our little dead minx; she seems to get sexier the longer she’s dead. Wouldn’t it have been more disturbing if when the douche-bags found her she was starting to decompose and she stank like death? And even in that condition J.T. still has sex with her. Now that’s some dark territory!! Hell even go so far as having J.T., while having sex with her, go to pull her hair and end up ripping the hair clean out of her head. Done right, that could be a pretty nasty scene. All I’m saying is that it seems the directors wanted the viewer to be more turned on by the dead girl than disgusted. And why wouldn’t they? Yes we know she’s undead, but she’s also pretty hot. I guarantee there were a lot of viewers thinking to themselves, “Man I wish I could find me one of them there hot dead chicks!”
As J.T. settles into his ‘pimp’ role he introduces more of his douche-bag
friends to the dead girl and charges them $10 to have sex with her. Apparently everyone considered a ‘geek’ in school and who’s not an athlete would jump at the chance of banging a dead girl. It just doesn’t make sense. I believe in “suspending disbelief” to a point, but come on guys; you’re really testing my patience. At one point Rickie tries to free our pouty-lipped little dead girl with some bolt cutters. He manages to free one of her arms and is rewarded with a touching moment with the dead girl: Her hand bolts up from the table and grabs Rickie’s hand, but instead of biting him, as any self-respecting zombie would, she gently caresses his fingers. Awww, that is so sweet. Are you serious? So the dead girl shows a certain level of consciousness and awareness, right? Who knows; our directors just gloss over it. But when she gets the chance the dead girl shows J.T. no compassion and claws the s**t out of his face and takes a chunk outta his cheek. So is she a feminist zombie role model? You know; she takes a bite out of a male dominated society and spits out intolerance. Again, since we get no “zombie rules” she can do anything (and she does).
The movie takes a really stupid turn about 55 minutes in (yes, the movie gets even dumber). A group of jocks don’t like the way Rickie is staring at one of their girlfriends (JoAnn) so they beat the s**t out of him and his buddy Wheeler.
After their pummeling, which is oddly satisfying to watch, Wheeler can’t keep his mouth shut and yells over to them, “We don’t need a girl like JoAnn … we have all the p***y we need.” Blech. But this interests the jocks enough and they wanna be part of the fun. This was a really stupid turn for the directors to take and did nothing but make me roll my eyes back in my head and make me hate this movie even more. There was just no point in involving the jocks other than to try and get a higher body count. But in fairness this does lead to one of the better scenes where J.T. convinces one of the jocks to get head from the dead girl. J.T. told him he’s “never had head like this before,” and he was right. The inevitable happens and she predictably chomps down on his meat bat. (See, maybe my “feminist zombie role model” isn’t so crazy after all!!!)
Towards the end, the director’s piss away yet another chance at turning this celluloid turd into a disturbing flick. J.T. eventually gets tired of the dead girl. He and his douche-bag friends have been raping her repeatedly and getting rougher and rougher with her. Her body just ain’t what it use to be. So our King Douche-Bag (J.T.) comes up with the brilliant idea of kidnapping a new girl and having the dead girl infect her thereby creating a NEW and fresh dead girl. It’s a pretty creepy idea that in the hands of a more skilled film maker could have been seriously disturbing. But here its just another wasted plot point. By the time this aspect of the plot rolls around you know the director’s won’t do anything to create a really fucked up, disturbing flick. J.T. screws up his plan, he gets mauled, the girl Rickie is in love with, JoAnn, who stops by to find out why her jock boyfriend doesn’t have a cock anymore, gets infected by the dead girl, and then dead girl escapes. Dead girl of course has the chance of killing Rickie but again shows compassion and lets him live. She is such a considerate zombie!!
The final scene has the viewer following Rickie down to the basement only to find JoAnn (who was infected) strapped to the bed. Does this mean the cycle of abuse starts all over again? Who cares; you won’t. One word folks: RETARDED. A total of four-five high school kids disappeared and died in that basement AND a naked dead girl emerged from the same basement and there was no police investigation? Really? At least the directors could have had Rickie in a different location. But I guess they wanted to get their money’s worth out of that locale.
And lets not overlook the “rape” aspect of this movie. Whether she was dead, undead, unconscious, or whatever the bottom line is that a large group of high school students repeatedly raped and beat the s**t out of a tied up girl in a basement. And as I see it, rape is rape. Really think about this people; it would have been horrible if it was a living girl (and we’d have just another torture-porn flick), but she was DEAD. They were fucking a DEAD GIRL. This should have gone from the “horrible” realm to the “horrendous” realm, but it doesn’t. Nothing is done with this theme. It takes a couple of very inept storytellers to not only ignore this aspect of the movie, but to also make it boring!! It’s just another theme in a long list of ideas that are ignored and never examined.
Don’t believe the hype on this one people. It’s NOT shocking or compelling. It’s not even a “so good its bad” movie. I don’t know; maybe I’m just too desensitized to genre movies. But Deadgirl isn’t just boring, it’s a train wreck marked by poor directing, awkward dialogue, intriguing themes that are ignored, and characters doing very stupid things. The potential to be a dark and truly disturbing flick is pissed away and what we’re left with is Dawson’s Creek with a zombie chick. I just hope this movie did badly enough so it doesn’t spawn a sequel. Can you imagine Deadgirl 2: Sloppy Seconds??? Definitely skip this one.
Directors: Marcel Sarmiento and Gadi Harel
Plot: 1 out of 5 stars (for pissing away a promising premise)
Gore: 5 out of 10 skulls
Zombie Mayhem: 1 out of 5 brains (yes she was a zombie, but there was only 1)
Reviewed by Scott Shoyer