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Dead Girl [2008] (DVD)

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Genre: Horror / 18 years or over / Director: Marcel Sarmiento, Gadi Harel / Actors: Shiloh Fernandez, Noah Segan, Michael Bowen, Candice Accola, Andrew DiPalma / DVD released 2010-03-15 at In2film

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    4 Reviews
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      16.02.2012 01:19
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      Badly written, waste of time!!!

      I am a lover of horror films, so I liked the sound of this, being a slightly different theme to many of the other films about in the last few years. However I was bitterly disappointed!

      It wasn't the theme of sexual violence that bothered me, or the gore, or the scariness......I have seen much worse than this film in that respect. It was simply a badly thought through story line, that did not only fail to explain why the 'dead girl' was there in the first place but then failed to even deliver a proper end to the story.

      It basically is about 2 teenage lads who break into an old mental asylum and stumble across a naked girl strapped to a bed in a closed room. They don't know why she is there but she is obviously not a normal girl, not least because they discover that she cannot die and cannot speak but only growl, but despite the incredible weirdness of the situation and the fact that the girl looks grubby and strange and entirely undesirable one of the lads decides to have sex with her. The other lad is horrified and the rest of the story is basically about one lad wanting to use the girl as his 'sex slave' (and get some of his mates in on the act) and the other lad wanting to do the right thing and free her.

      The rest of the storyline is very bizarre and mostly pointless. There was a random dog wandering the halls of the mental asylum that was never quite explained. The acting isn't too great in places and some of the characters are not that believeable. There is no explanation for the ending, in that several people have died / gone missing and there seems to be no explanation for this and one lad who was bitten by the girl and is clearly very unwell following this is not mentioned again at the end of the film....what happened to him? Did the hospital or police not ask questions? How can everything seem to have ended rosily for one of the main characters? Who knows! Either way the films has an entirely unbelievable ending and I very much felt like I had wasted my time watching it!

      I know it is boring when a film explains every minute detail and doesn't keep you guessing or leave it open for personal interpretation but this feels like things are not explained because the director couldn't be bothered thinking of an explanation! To not explain the origin of the girl or why she was like she was or give a proper ending is just pointless!

      I managed to watch this to the end, I can't say I was bored at any point really, I was just thinking it was quite crap and hoping that there would be a good ending, but it didn't deliver.

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        15.06.2011 13:32
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        A horror film well worth watching.

        Directed by Marcel Sarmiento and Gadi Harel, 'Deadgirl' is an impressive horror film which presents some very interesting ideas. The film shows two best friends, both of whom react very differently to an incredibly unexpected situation. A lifetime friendship is broken by the way that the two teenage friends respond to the situation they find themselves in, and the film presents a very clear battle of wills. The two friends appear to respond very differently to the situation, just how different are they though when it ultimately comes down to it?

        'Deadgirl' tells the story of Rickie and JT, and how skipping school one day changes their lives forever. Heading to the old abandoned mental asylum, Rickie and JT wreak havoc as they drink, smoke, and just generally trash the place. Deciding to explore, the two friends come across a dog deep down in the asylum, and as they get away they end up running into something that they'd never, ever expected. There's a naked woman, chained up to a table and covered in plastic, deep in the depths of the asylum, and both friends have very different ideas about what they should do. Rickie's immediate reaction is to inform the authorities of what they've found, JT meanwhile isn't so certain that's the best option, and whilst Rickie decides to leave; JT remains alone in the asylum with the deadgirl.

        What happens beyond this point is what makes 'Deadgirl' so interesting, and never is the film in the least bit predictable.

        'Deadgirl' will at times make you cringe, and at certain points you just won't be able to stop yourself from looking away. It shocks, it scares, and it's just a very interesting look at a strange situation, and people's different responses to it. A seriously disturbing film to watch, 'Deadgirl' has some very impressive qualities as a horror, with the only real weaknesses of the film perhaps in the factor of the unrealistic nature of the situation, the freeness with which certain people adapt to it, and what some of the characters resort to here. It's certainly a strong film, but what many of the very greatest horror films tend to have in common is the fact that they really could happen.

        Some of the acting quality is supremely strong here, with Shiloh Fernandez (Rickie) and Noah Segan (JT) in particular putting in some hugely believable performances. They play their parts well, with their characters developing powerfully throughout the film. Wheeler, played by Eric Podnar, is the stereotypical teen stoner character, and the jocks also are fairly generic horror favourites; the performances of Shiloh Fernandez and Noah Segan are both brilliant though, and theirs are the characters that we spend the most time with.

        Marcel Sarmiento and Gadi Harel are both relatively new to the world of directing, watching 'Deadgirl' you can tell that both have a clear passion for film though, with the film always packed full of energy and excitement. You really do feel that the directors believe in their work here, and full credit must also go to Trent Haaga for being the film's writer.

        'Deadgirl' is a film that plays out well on screen, and although it takes it's time to really get going; once the action gets started, never does the film let up for a second. The beginning of the film serves to show us Rickie and JT's status as the high school outcasts, and we're then treated to some fine horror display as the true action of the film unfolds. It's a quality effort from the directorial duo of Marcel Sarmiento and Gadi Harel, and although not perfect; 'Deadgirl' is a film that is definitely well worth watching for fans of horror. It's not your typical throwaway teen horror, but instead is a film that will no doubt stay with you for a long time to come.

        If you have a LoveFIlm account which includes the watch online package then you can currently stream this film completely for free.

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          05.05.2011 13:48
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          An unique horror movie

          Watching films is one of my favourite pastimes and I especially love horror films. Within the horror genre there are many different sub-themes, and my passion is for monster movies, in particular anything with zombies (if you hadn't guessed already from my screen name!). I heard about Deadgirl on a horror forum and was half grossed out half curious, so of course I had to watch it and see for myself. It's currently available to purchase on Amazon at £2.49 for a new copy, and there are plenty of pre-owned DVDs available on the marketplace. I think this is a reasonable price and worth a go for just a couple of quid as long as you're not easily disturbed... I rented this movie as part of my lovefilm.com subscription and I think that the one watch was enough for me.

          ===DETAILS===
          Region 2 1-disc DVD
          Released: 2009
          Running time: 1 hour 37 minutes
          Directed by: Marcel Sarmiento, Gadi Harel
          Starring: Noah Segan, Candice Accola, Michael Bowen, Shiloh Fernandez, Andrew DiPalma
          Tagline: The American nightmare.
          Certificate rating: 18

          ===THE BACK OF THE BOX BLURB===
          When high school misfits Rickie (Shiloh Fernandez) and JT (Noah Segan) decide to cut school and find themselves lost in the crumbling facility of a nearby abandoned hospital, they come face-to-face with a gruesome discovery: a woman whose body has been stripped naked, chained to a table and covered in plastic. When both react to the situation in extremely different ways, the boys soon find themselves embarking on a twisted yet poignant journey that forces them to decide just how far they're willing to stretch their understanding of right and wrong.

          ===MY THOUGHTS===
          This story follows the relationship between school friends JT and Rickie. They are your typical misfit teenagers who don't excel at school or in social situations, and Rickie in particular is suffering with this by pining for his lost love Joanne who has grown up and moved above his social circle and is now dating the school football star. These characters may seem like your ordinary stereotypical jock and loser types, but they are given a realistic performance and there are fine details that make them seem very true to real life. However familiar their personalities may seem to be, their actions are what turns this film down a dark path and leads us to some horrific consequences.

          Out skipping school one day, Rickie and JT become lost when exploring the corridors of an abandoned asylum and come across a closed door. Behind the door lies our heroine of sorts, Deadgirl. There is never any explanation to account for her existence, so as an audience we are left guessing along with the characters. Deadgirl is left naked gagged and bound to a bed, and although she is dead, it turns out that she is technically undead as she cannot be killed. The boys discover this and then the film turns into a story of morality that focuses mainly on the struggles between right and wrong, and the use and abuse of power. I had expected a strong horror element, and it is there in sorts but not in the usual way that you would expect. The horror comes from seeing how the characters behave when faced with this situation, and in particular how JT quickly turns into the bad guy, while Rickie struggles to remain the good guy. There is also a third character, Wheeler who gets caught up in the events and this adds further peer pressure onto Rickie, who is already dealing with conflicting feelings about his loyalty to his friends, and his sense of what is right. To make things worse, Rickie also has family issues at home and has been spurned by the girl that he worships from afar. This all sounds like typical angsty teen stuff but it is portrayed well and comes across in a way that I could understand and sympathise with rather than feeling melodramatic.

          Ok, so on to the heavy stuff now. This film takes several controversial subjects and tackles them head on. Rape. Necrophilia. Torture. All there. But somehow all dealt with in a way that is not overly graphic or exploitative. The moral stance of the film sees that what is happening is wrong, and although it shows these events going on, it is in no way condoning them. In fact, by watching Deadgirl be abused, I found myself becoming very sympathetic towards her and rooting for her to get her revenge. I think of all things, including watching a bound Deadgirl be raped, beaten and humiliated, the worst thing was seeing her dead eyes watch and focus on what was happening around her and knowing that she must be understanding and feeling everything that was being done to her. This made it feel quite uncomfortable to watch during parts of the film, and it was quite an intense viewing experience. In all the zombie movies I've seen there has only been one or two occasions where I have felt emotionally moved for the treatment of a zombie, but this is definitely one of them and it is achieved in a strong way.

          For such a horrific sounding film, I felt that this was not actually very scary, but rather sickening in places. Gore-wise I thought it wasn't that bad at all and was happily able to watch this without diverting my gaze or glimpsing anything too hideous (other than the boys' actions of course). The film makers have gone for the "less is more" approach and I think this works well, as if it had been full of shocking special effects and full on horror gore then this would have detracted from the real horror of the story in my opinion. As for special effects, it was great to see that everything was achieved through good old fashioned make-up. Deadgirl's make-up took up to 6 hours to apply, and then 1.5 hours to remove every time that she had it on. This required an awful lot of work and attention to detail, and if you're interested in this side of things I recommend watching the special features as well.

          After watching Deadgirl, I can see that it was partly a horror film, and is partly a zombie film. Yet it is not something that I would happily place into the Horror genre. It is a very dramatic piece of film making that raises questions about morality, friendships, love and power. It takes a controversial range of topics and throws a handful of horny teenage boys into the mix, which is an odd combination, but strange as it is I don't think this could work any other way. Although it was a messed up story and a difficult to watch film, I can say that I mainly enjoyed it, and that my opinion was firmly set to positive after reaching the end. The ending really finished things off perfectly and gives a nice neat conclusion that I thought was justified and satisfactory. I'm glad I stuck with it, and although I'm sure that this has a limited appeal for most people, I'd recommend it if you're looking for something different than your ordinary type of horror film.

          ===SPECIAL FEATURES===
          There are a few extras included on this DVD, and I actually watched them before I went ahead and watched the main feature. This did not reveal any major spoilers and I think it prepared me quite well for viewing the film as it gave me a better insight of what the creators were trying to achieve when making it.

          + Commentary with Cast & Crew. I always find these features awfully tedious so never bother watching them. No opinion here, sorry!

          + Exquisite Corpse: The Making of Deadgirl. This is a behind the scenes featurette which runs for just over 7 minutes. It is very short and sweet, but I enjoyed watching it and it gave me a better understanding of why and how the film was made. The directors found this script that had been left untouched by the writer for around 10 years as he believed it to be "un-makeable". They then challenged themselves to make it, and tried hard to find the right balance and tone.

          + Make-Up Effects Gallery. This feature is in the form of a slideshow, with lots of annotated still photographs showing the make-up special effects used in the films. There are lots of neat details and it's interesting for a quick flick through.

          + Trailer. This was short and rather boring to be honest. If I had only seen this trailer then I don't think this film would have caught my interest at all.

          ===SUMMARY===
          I would give this film 5/5 stars for it's portrayal of the meaning behind the story and the way that it stands out against the norm, but overall I would give it a 4/5 for my actual enjoyment of the movie. It was a good film and is certainly unique, but I wouldn't rush to watch it again and this doesn't really fit into the horror genre as I had expected it to.

          Usually I would give a recommendation for other films that are similar, but I am really struggling here! The one point I feel I must make is that on several occasions JT reminded me of the character JD, played by Christian Slater in Heathers. Heathers also has a twisted sort of view on the teenage/high school movie world, and is definitely worth a watch whether you liked Deadgirl or not.

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            14.04.2011 09:52
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            Dead Girl (2008)

            Warning!

            Some people may find the subject matter and my review of this film upsetting. Please be aware that there is mention of sexual violence and horror contained in this review and therefore should be read by Adults Only.

            Plot

            JT and Rickie are two average high school kids, neither part of the popular in-crowd nor complete social outcasts their friendship revolves around talking about girls and getting up to teenage pranks. They appear to be harmless enough, Rickie has a crush on the girlfriend of the schools star sports player and JT enjoys tormenting him about it, they like to hang out together after school and sneak off to places they shouldn't really go to to have a few beers and cause a bit of mischief - usual teenage behaviour really and for the most part innocent enough. Its whilst investigating a nearby abandoned hospital that things change for JT and Rickie after they dare one another to explore the dark tunnels which run underneath the building.

            A series of rooms and walkways take the pair further and further into the bowels of the hospital until finally they reach a room with an unexpected surprise waiting for them; a girl. Tied to a bed, naked and gagged she appears to be alive but how can she be? JT and Rickie don't know what to do, should they free her? leave her there and return with help? They don't know the girl, she appears to have been there for years - probably a patient from the hospital they assume, yet inexplicably is still conscious albeit in a catatonic state. Rickie wants to help her but JT has other ideas...

            Info

            Made in 2008 and released on DVD in the UK last year I'd never heard of DeadGirl until I spotted it for sale in a recent amazon promotion, this title along with a few other horror films were available for under a fiver and taking a chance on the film I bought this amongst a few others. Having watched the film a couple of days ago I still can't decide whether it was a brave attempt by the filmmakers to tackle the very strong subject matter in an unflinching and grotesque way or whether they were looking to make the film as controversial as possible - both are plausible ways of looking at it as I shall attempt to explain here.

            Courting Controversy

            It 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.

            Conclusion

            On balance I have to admit that it isn't a film I wouldn't want to watch again though so it was probably just worth the money I spent on it. For just £2.49 as it currently retails for on amazon it is cheap enough to be a one-watch film though and all things considered I would recommend its purchase although I wouldn't spend any more than a few pounds on it.

            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.

            Please note that this review also appears on ciao under my username.

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