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2.9 out of 5 stars80
2.9 out of 5 stars
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Rickie and JT and are two high school outsiders. From under-privileged backgrounds they know they are not destined for great things but that doesn't stop Rickie dreaming of Joanne Wheeler the popular girl he shared an innocent kiss with many years earlier. His advances are later shunned in favour of Johnny, a school jock from the right side of the tracks.

Skipping class, Rickie and JT take a few cans and break into the old "nuthouse", an abandoned asylum on the outskirts of town. Chased by an angry stray dog, it is in the basement they discover "dead girl". She is dead and alive, kind of zombified and inexplicably chained to a bed, which is just as well given her penchant for biting anything and anyone that comes close. Rickie wants out but JT, he of the more adventurous mind, has uses for her and soon makes the basement his own amusement park along with their grungy friend Wheeler. "Good" things don't stay secret for long and soon Johnny finds out about the girl and is egged on by Rickie to take a piece of the action. Not a good move...

Let's be honest, this film is in bad taste but it has a provocative story, some half-decent acting, some excellent humour (the petrol station) a grungy but rocking soundtrack and it works. It's not a total "gross-out", and it had me captivated from the outset. Despite the dead girl and the blood, it is a love story. It's about Rickie wanting what he can't have, or what he's told he can't....

Noah Segan reminds me of a young Christian Slater or even Christian Bale in American Psycho as the charismatic but deranged JT. He has nothing to lose and acts accordingly. Shiloh Fernandez underplays Rickie, the smarter and more sensitive of the two very well. It's not totally played for shocks, but there are enough of those for viewers who like to watch films through their hands. A tight cast and a well-placed plot make this a far better movie than I was ever expecting.
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on 10 October 2012
Let's be honest. Zombie movies. Done to bloody death.

This film though... this film is perhaps the most original and memorable zombie flick since Night of the Living Dead. There's no outbreak, or any of the usual genre clichés that we're used to seeing (save for the whole "infection via bite" idea). Granted, there are clichés of a different sort: there are discernible heroes and villains, and the villains get their comeuppance at the end. There's also the usual stereotypes that we run into in any movie set in or near a high school: the alienated losers, the arrogant jocks... While the film does incorporate these familiar conventions, it does so in a way that I can honestly say that I've never seen done before. Moreover, not only does this film lead the audience down an unusual path, but it also does so in a way that is commendably daring.

So what's this film about then? Well, there's these two losers who have been friends since childhood. One day the two friends discover an apparently comatose naked woman chained up in the basement of an abandoned mental asylum. They soon discover that this woman is more than just comatose though: she's (un)dead. Still, zombie or not, the chick is still kinda hot... From here the film gets pretty dark and nasty, as one of the friends decides that he wants to keep the eponymous dead girl for his own personal -ahem!- use. The other guy takes the moral high-ground and wants nothing to do with it. Thus begins the conflict that will lie at the heart of this off-beat-black-comedy-cum-horror-cum-character-study.

All in all, I would heartily recommend this sick gem to any horror fans who're bored with the familiar zombie apocalypse stuff.
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VINE VOICEon 26 April 2009
The coming-of-age film is a genre that spans generations, that each era has it's own version of. Anything from oh, say "The Yearling" to "Trainspotting" qualifies regardless of barefoot-in-the-Ozarks or druggie-pouting respectively. Now, hold on to your Twitter Account folks, as we have a new one to add to that much vaunted list! We live in a world of violent teenagers, bad horror remakes and Economic crisis, so what would best sum this all up? "Deadgirl" tries, and although falters a bit with the execution, does quite a good job (actually).

Typical "outsider" templates JT and Rickie find solace in hanging around an old, disused Asylum when bored and out-of-sorts, and there one day they come across a naked, seemingly alive but unresponsive girl chained to a table in one of it's darkest recesses. JT fulfills his sickest fantasies on the girl (which I won't go into) and no matter what they do to her, she doesn't die - which in turn allows the sickos to invite in more losers to do what they wish, kind of like "Risky Business" as filtered through the mind of Stuart Gordon, perhaps. But, as you can no doubt figure out yourselves, there is a downside to this male bonding; she's a Zombie. Shock! Horror! Comatose just doesn't cut it.

It plays well on our societies apparent march towards the Cult of Dehumanization and all the questions that it implies; and, in the light of a current taste for teenagers-are-scum horror (See "Eden Lake" for clarification) no bases are left untouched when it comes to voyeurism and crass Daily Mail tut-tutting. However, the film does make us think about the limits of what people will do before they accept they've "gone too far" (and the Hubris that goes along with it). So, highly recommended, with a loss of stars for a crummy production look and slightly rotten acting. Better than the usual Slasher fare, let's leave it at that.
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VINE VOICEon 13 August 2009
Deadgirl is a challenging and controversial movie that has more to it than may first seem. With a tiny cast, and only one zombie, it is an exploration of male teenage angst and sexuality that descends into a harrowing portrayal of the darkness that lies within us, and leaves us asking the question: who are the real zombies here?

The premise that Deadgirl is based on is razor sharp and pregnant with potential. Two seventeen year-old rebellious boys skip school one day and head to an abandoned asylum to drink, smoke, and vent their adolescent male aggression and frustrations. Soon they get bored and decided to explore the tunnels underneath the asylum in search of more excitement. As they are escaping from a fearsome looking feral dog that turns up, they come across a rusted up and barricaded door. Of course boyish curiosity is far too great for them to possibly not open the door, but nothing could have prepared them for what they find: an attractive if unkempt girl chained naked to a table. The conflict between their choices of what to do with her provides the fuel for the fire in which the rest of the movie burns, and this conflict is made even more severe when they discover that the girl cannot die.

There are a few things you really need to know before you watch Deadgirl, things which I wish I had known. Firstly, this is out-and-out a "guy" movie; it deals very much in teenage male insecurities and sexuality, which females will struggle to relate to (in the same way that no male can relate to the emotions of a teenage female). Also, although it is often described as a "zombie rape" movie and derided for being exploitation cinema, it is actually a lot more than that when you take the time to think about it.

Yes, Deadgirl is a zombie rape movie, there is no way to deny that. But fundamentally it is about the difficulties of feeling like an impotent outsider oppressed by those more socially secure than yourself, and how you pass on that oppression to the next weakest person in line in order to make yourself feel more powerful and more able to deal with your own suffering. We see this struggle quite clearly through the film as the teens manage, through their "control" of the Deadgirl, to destroy some of the things that had been oppressing them. After each of these incidents they get more confidence to take on bigger threats, but ironically they are no more powerful than they ever were. A wonderful scene at a gas station really drives this home, but I wont spoil it for you.

Reminiscent of Heart of Darkness, we are led on a journey into the abyss of the mind, driven by the question: "If there were no consequences, just how far would you go?" However the one serious flaw of Deadgirl also stems from this; and it was this problem that ruined the entire movie on my first watch-through. For the journey to work, we need to start at the beginning. However when they first find the Deadgirl, one of the boys' immediate reaction is to fondle her and say "lets keep her". This is an utterly unbelievable first response, to jump that quickly into a deconstruction of morals and ethics with no kind of build up, and we as the viewers are left unable to buy into the characters or empathise with them at all. This completely undermines the rest of the film, which is a pity because if done correctly the movie would have been a lot better understood and received than it was. Imagine for a moment what kind of a book
Lord of the Flies would have been if the boys had started killing each other as soon as they landed on the island.

Visually Deadgirl ticks the boxes without being spectacular. The 2.35 aspect ratio gives plenty of horizontal space which is well used in many scenes to build the atmosphere; however I did find that some of the shots looked quite grainy, especially in poor light conditions. The makeup of the Deadgirl herself, and what gore we do see, is convincing and well done. The director seems to have made a particular effort not to use gore and other graphic elements unnecessarily, opting for a more subtle approach overall thus increasing the impact of what we do see.

On the DVD there are a few extras: A 7m behind the scenes featurette that takes us on a very quick journey through the making of the film, an interesting if a little short make-up effect gallery with captions to each picture, and an average commentary with the cast and crew. The commentary wasn't really that interesting, especially since the main points they mentioned are in the featurette already, but also wasn't informal or chatty enough to be one of those "funny drunk guys in a room" commentaries. Oh, and there's a trailer on there too. Not an special feature (thank god DVDs have stopped calling them that!), but the animated title screen actually caught my eye; one by one three close up body shots fade from a normal look to the decayed look of the Deadgirl. Definitely one of the better menu titles I've seen.

Deadgirl isn't a film everyone will enjoy, in fact it has split the community quite harshly which isn't surprising considering it is dealing with incredibly difficult topics such as rape, necrophilia, and the violence that lurks within us. However if you can get over the fundamental flaw mentioned above and see the underlying topics then you may well enjoy this unusual movie.
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on 13 August 2011
Dead Girl was never going to be an easy watch but I knew what I was letting myself in for after reading the blurb on the back of the film case. I've never been one to shy away from controversial films and have over the years seen the best and worst of what has been made and this film sits somewhere in the middle in terms of just how unsettling it actually was. Rape is always a controversial subject matter to tackle on film but combining it with horror themes of the apparent undead seemed to magnify just how horrific the assaults actually were. If the film had any sort of message contained in its narrative it would be that monsters can take any form, here the monster is clearly JT and his need to satisfy his sexual urges, he uses and abuses the girl without any consideration for her own situation, he isn't sympathetic or even curious as to why she is there or how long she has been abandoned for he simply sees her as something to screw. Rickie on the other hand is the more sympathetic of the two but even so has his own issues that make him a rather flawed character, he refuses to touch the girl and knows that JT is doing wrong and whilst he does make a half hearted attempt to free her he never commits to doing the right thing. Instead he allows JT to hold influence over him and in doing so makes him complicit.

The early parts of the film manage to build and maintain a great deal of tension as you never know quite what is going to happen next, for much of the opening sections the girl is JT and Rickie's dark secret, no one knows about her but them and JT exploits his influence over his friend. As the film progresses though more characters find out about the girl and this is where the film, for me, went a little off the rails. The more people that find out about DeadGirl the more ridiculous the film becomes as we are expected to believe that any teenage boy with raging hormones would choose to rape rather than help the girl, whilst I didn't get the impression the film was particularly 'anti-men' it certainly could be accused of being so and for me it should have been restricted to just the two main characters and their conflicting beliefs rather than bringing in other characters and expecting them to share the secret.

It's a difficult film to admire in all honesty and although bloody in places it isn't a mainstream horror, the film makers are deliberately vague in explaining who the girl is and why she is where she is so anyone looking for clear cut answers will be disappointed. The pacing is often times slow and the narrative seems to wander off in random directions and I often got the feeling that the film was trying to be more 'art house' than horror/drama. Acting wise all of the lead characters are good, both JT and Rickie are strongly portrayed and believable, JT is by far the darker of the two and Noah Segan does play the part well. The girl played by Jenny Spain doesn't have much to do for the majority of the film, she never speaks only grunts and always appears naked, she isn't the focus of the film though even though she is the titular character its the people around her who we follow, even in her somewhat limited role Spain does remain in character throughout and does give an outstanding performance.

Whilst the mid section of the film does seem to wander and loose focus by the time it comes to the end it manages to pack quite a punch with a visually shocking conclusion. The make up effects at the end are particularly good and look very realistic and a nice twisted ending should satisfy those with a sick sense of humour. The ending is worth waiting for and although I did lose interest in the film in places I did like the ending so it made the overall commitment to the film worthwhile.

It isn't a film for the faint-hearted and many will be appalled at what takes place so hopefully my review will serve as a warning that it does deal with some very heavy issues. For me it was a curious film and whilst I wouldn't say I 'enjoyed' it I did like the ending and the characterisations. 3 stars as a rating seems fair, thanks for reading my review.
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on 14 July 2009
as far as low budget horror films go you could do a lot worse than dead girl. I wont spoil any of it for you because, well, you might be able to guess most of it.
It is a little predictable and you WILL have seen these characters before. oily haired boy number one in a second hand army jacket is very similar to the lonely boy from american beauty and social misfit number 2 practically steals Matthew Lillard in Screams whole performance as the thoroughly demented one. The acting isn't great and as i mentioned before, it is a little predictable but, Dead girl is entertaining enough.
It is fairly original as far as story is concerned and the gory scenes are pretty well done.
If you're over 19 you may see it as a little tired but there are some awful teen horrors out there. Granted, dead girl has its flaws, but generally its enjoyable because its not too long, too badly acted and does have it comic touches.
I recommend it if you like heathers or Donnie Darko, and maybe Girl,Interrupted at a push.

(you might wonder why i say it was a good film JT, if you watch it you'll notice how many times Ricky says JT at the end of his sentences)
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on 18 December 2014
Grim and sinister, lots of scenes that will make you cringe in revulsion. The story is a nice twist on the idea of a zombie.

I wouldn't describe this film as scarey, it's not the kind of story that "gets in your head" but it is pretty dark. It's a decent film that, if the concept and imagery doesn't make you feel too uncomfortable, makes you want to keep watching to see what happens next!
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on 13 June 2010
Deadgirl is a movie that came out of nowhere. When I first saw it a few months ago, I honestly didn't know what to think of it and no one seemed to know anything about it. I also had to keep reminding myself that it was American. This is the kind of thing I would expect from the Japanese, or maybe one of Europe's more unhinged filmmakers, but the United States?!. The film was very weird and quite original, definetely not the type of mainstream horror that appears regularly on the shelves. Ricky (Shiloh Fernandez) and JT (Noah Segan) are two slackers, who one day while skipping class, decide to hang out in a local abandoned insane asylum. While investigating the basement, they come across the body of a naked girl, chained down to a table. On further inspection, they realize she is alive! Ricky immediately says they should call the cops, but JT has other ideas. JT decides that they should keep her and use her as a sex slave. The problem is that the woman can't be killed and she is the living dead, there is also the problem of her infecting others as you will see in the film as the results were quite sick. First of all I really enjoyed "Deadgirl". The film is quite controversial when it comes to its dark necrophiliac subject matter but it was also a different type of film which I haven't seen before. There are some moments of gore and violence and a seriously twisted climax. The moral ambivalence of the film is actually the most disturbing thing about it. The main performances of Shiloh Fernandez and Noah Segan are very strong and my highest respect goes to Jenny Spain, who spends nearly every scene she is in naked and tormented.Fans of extreme cinema will no doubt enjoy "Deadgirl" while others should probably avoid this sick, twisted and highly amusing film.
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on 13 January 2013
was surprised to see this film got low ratings.i really enjoyed the film and have watched it twice which is rare.i thought the setting and acting were excellent and the story covered an area i had not watched before.could imagine me in the same situation,would run a mile.our intrepid young heroes of course take the other option to embark on a sexual relationship with what in all essence was a corpse.cold but an a1 body.one lad gets obsessed with her and the relatioship between the friends changes drasticaly.give it a go,i think you will find it different .
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 23 April 2012
An instant classic, very disturbing creepy film, very original story with some great acting, for horror fans this film is a gem. must own cult cinema at its best.
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