Deadgirl (2008)

I recognize I’ve been a crabby old man for most of my short life but I don’t think I’m unjustified in finding high school students far more threatening than any movie monster. By themselves? Not so bad. In packs, they’re like those rat-size dinosaurs from The Lost World. Sure, they seem harmless at first. But get too close and they fucking SWARM.

They’re constantly in motion, they swear and scream the most vile racial epithets at the top of their lungs, and oh, do they laugh. Everything is funny to kids that age and you just know the joke is on you.

Children should be imprisoned from the moment they learn to talk until they’re old and sensible enough to fear things like authority figures and communicable diseases. Case in point: Deadgirl. High school kids are horrible.

We do not fear authority. You can tell by our bitchin' sideburns.

The story: Ricky and J.T. are your basic teenage misfits. They ogle the pretty girls but know they have no chance, especially with the wall of jock boyfriends in the way. Their favorite activity is cutting class to slurp illicit brews under a highway overpass. The two are off on just such a sojourn, when they decide to take their underage rebel act to an abandoned psychiatric hospital. Nothing good ever happens in abandoned psychiatric hospitals.

Maybe we should hold hands. For safety.

After a bit of hellraising in the upper wards, they head to the big, scary ass basement, which happens to be inhabited by a big, scary ass dog. The menacing canine chases the boys into a series of dimly lit tunnels, ending in an ominous-looking steel door. They wisely leave it sealed behind its makeshift barricade of old medical equipment and head home to live out long, uneventful lives.

Just kidding. You know they’re opening that shit.

What is the purpose of the Saran Wrap? Modesty?

Once inside, they come upon a most appalling discovery: the naked body of a very beautiful, very dead young woman, shackled to a gurney behind a furnace. But closer inspection reveals that reports of her death were greatly exaggerated, despite the impossibility of surviving without food or water long enough for that door to rust shut. Common sense would dictate they get her to a hospital post-haste, which is just what the virtuous but weak-willed Ricky suggests. J.T., on the other hand, has far more twisted designs for their new friend.

Polo shirts and sleeveless Tees = jock bullies. Costuming is easy!

Biggest letdown: Aside from the apparent failure of our nation’s health class teachers to impart the importance of safe sex? Look no further than the list of some of the worst character names I’ve ever heard. On top of Ricky and J.T., we also have Wheeler, the beanie-wearing stoner, and musclebound bully Johnny. Was this movie originally set in the ’50s? Making matters worse, much of the corny plot-establishing dialogue would be right at home in an episode of Saved by the Bell. This may be because the screenwriter was afraid to get close enough to real high school kids to learn the lingo. Can’t fault him for that.

Gee whiz, Wheeler, If I can't find a date to the sock hop I'm blaming you!

One final gripe: I’m pretty sure the creepy piece of music playing during the film’s most disturbing scenes is actually the main theme from Donnie Darko. Even if it’s not the exact same song, it definitely feels larcenous.

Why you should watch: Any problems are relatively superficial. Overall it’s an excellent and original horror story. The mythology is grounded in well-known undead tropes, but with unique twists that fundamentally alter the rules as we’ve come to expect them. Deadgirl asks interesting questions and more-or-less plausibly supports the insane answers its characters provide. It doesn’t hurt that the two main actors and the gal playing the titular dead girl are all incredibly committed to their work.

Hot or not?

Memorable Moment: J.T. and Wheeler find inspiration in the dead girl’s predicament and hatch a scheme to abduct their very own female companion. They wait outside a gas station for the perfect subject but their impatience gets the better of them. They settle for a rather hefty chick, all but spilling out of her cut-offs and bikini top. Wheeler cracks her on the head with a tire iron, but she doesn’t immediately slump to the ground as he seems to expect. Instead she slowly turns, a questioning look on her face, as rivulets of blood pour down her forehead. For a moment it seems they hit this poor girl too hard and accidentally killed her. Suddenly she regains focus, her eyes narrow, and she proceeds to kick the living shit out of the would-be kidnappers. Wheeler and I both found that pretty fucking funny.

Choice quote: “Sure, she’s some kinda monster, or something. But…she’s our monster.”

About the Rating System

4 Responses to “Deadgirl (2008)”

  1. […] Deadgirl – At least buy her dinner first! […]

  2. […] Deadgirl – At least buy her dinner first! […]

  3. […] movies. From here on out we can only hope to find the odd high-quality indie (looking at you, Deadgirl) amid a sea of crap movies that aim no higher than bargain DVD sales and 2 a.m. SyFy […]

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