Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Deadgirl (2008)

Fear 2/5
Gore 3/5
Entertainment 0/5
Creepiness 3/5

Another in a line of horror films being shown around the festival circuit, generating a ton 'o buzz in the process, Deadgirl has a lot of thematic elements going on but ultimately, it has no central focus. As a result, the onscreen violence is definitely disturbing but never really revealing in its true intent and purpose. Maybe the open interpretation is great for some, but for me, it left me feeling less than satisfied.

The film starts off with a couple of outcast teenage boys skipping class and grabbing a couple of brewskis to sip down as they walk through the California valley (I say Cali because I've lived there and it looks San Fernando Valley-ish). They come upon an old abandoned asylum and post up inside, a perfect getaway for a duo of misplaced teens looking to pass time by drinking beer and vandalizing the long forgotten hospital.

As they explore the underground landscape of the asylum, they come upon a room that is awkwardly sectioned off. Equipment is lined up in front, acting as a barrier for what lies beyond the door. Being the meddling teens they are, they get through the barricade and discover whats hiding behind. Shrouded by a plastic bag, is a naked woman strapped to a gurney. Initially believed to be dead, the woman soon comes to. The more malicious of the two boys, suggests on 'keeping' the girl for reasons not entirely known at first. The less than rebellious and more of a follower of the two, decides that his friend has gone off the deep end and goes home for the night.

He returns to the asylum the next day to find that his friend has decided to take up permanent residence. Taking a gun with, the kid tries to convince his nutty friend to call police and report the imprisoned woman. He instead tells him that he is fascinated by the fact that the woman cannot be killed. Apparently she woke up during the night and started screaming. To stop her from doing so, he repeatedly beat and choked her, swearing that he killed her multiple times over in the process. To make a believer out of his friend, the deranged kid grabs his friend's gun and pumps her with a couple of rounds, and sure enough, she still lives.

His constant pleas to call police falling on deaf ears, the less than willing to participate teen leaves and returns again. This time, he finds another friend in the mix, both of them taking turns as they use the woman as their personal sex toy. Again, his pleas fall deaf and he leaves the two seriously fucked in the head guys with the helpless girl. Still intent on saving her, he returns later that night with a bolt cutter to free her. Breaking and removing the shackles from her wrists, the girl grabs him. He wrestles away and finds a hiding spot, his sick buddy and newly participating friend returning to find the girl halfway released. He sneaks out after the girl attacks both of them, his only attempt to free the girl foiled as they restrain and tie her back up.

From the film's beginning, the more shy and less nutso of the two friends has an eye on a girl who's dating a douchey jock type. The next day at school, he's caught looking at her and is attacked by the jock and a friend of his as he walks out to his car along with the other buddy who's in on the asylum secret. The other buddy shouts at both attackers, claiming that they don't need a girl like 'that' anyways as he and his friends have their own piece of tail, their own girl to do whatever they want with. The jock and his friend are curious to see exactly what it is he's talking about and they kidnap them both and take them back to the asylum. Upon verifying the aforementioned claims, the crazed ring leader coaxes them both into raping the girl. In the disgusting process of taking advantage of the tied up girl, the jock is bitten by her.

The next day, something isn't quite right with the bitten rapist and the asylum friends learn that the girl can pass on her dead-like qualities with a single bite. Leading into the climax, a new 'deadgirl' is created to take the place of the old, and the once unassuming and more straight laced of the teens has now taken on the same characteristics of his more malicious and deviant friends.

As mentioned, multiple themes are at play here: misguided and outcast teens, youthful indiscretions and narcissistic tendencies, overwhelming power without repercussions, etc. All of this combines to tell a cautionary tale about youth which is completely lost on me. The movie lacks a coherent focus. It is however a true horror film in most respects (i.e. its both shocking and disturbing). Ultimately though, there isn't enough substance with the film to ever revisit it nor can I completely recommend it.

Cortez the Killer


Matt-suzaka said...

I’ve read a lot of mixed things about this one…I still would like to check it out and see where I land in my feelings of the film, but I never really found it to be appealing outside some of the more positive reviews.

Jeff Allard said...

Yeah, this movie isn't that great (and it's not a damn bit fun to watch, which I guess is the point) but I give it credit for at least trying to be genuinely unnerving. I think that beyond the basic set-up, though, that they just didn't know where to take it.

Cortez The Killer said...

Agreed. Definitely unnerving but beyond the set-up, the film became wildy divergent in both scope and message.