‘Deadgirl’ Mixes Zombies And Sex In The Most Perverse Way Possible
Warning! This post contains adult content!
Some movies dig deep into the possibilities of their subject matter. When Peter Jackson was making low budget grindhouse horror-comedies, years before he hit rock bottom with The Lovely Bones, he turned some of the most disgusting ideas and images he could muster into indelible moments in horror cinema. When George A. Romero was at his peak with Dawn of the Dead, he didn’t pull any punches with the gore, but he also inflected his stories with drama that touched on previously untapped reservoirs of social criticism and the effect of society’s breakdown on morals, friendship, and sexual politics. Love or hate them, you must admit that they had something to add to film, and if you didn’t believe it then, you certainly believe it once you see Deadgirl.
The concept is simple enough that any horror buff can claim to have thought it up; imagine an adult film where a bunch of guys have their way with Zombie women. Someone clearly thought of this, but decided it would be much more interesting as a horror film. And that person, writer Trent Haaga, was right.
From the moment the story begins, you shouldn’t like the main characters Rickie and JT, as they fit neatly into a stereotype of annoying self-selecting outcasts for as long as you can bear in the first fifteen minutes. Then, they break into an abandoned mental hospital and the plot kicks in; after being chased down by a dog, they discover a long forgotten room occupied only by a naked teenage girl bound to a bed. After leaving, JT brings Rickie back to confirm what the film’s title suggests; this girl can’t die because she’s already dead. JT is depraved enough to commit to their discovery, intending to make the eponymous ghoul his unwilling sex toy, while Rickie has strong reservations due partially to an obsession of his own.
One of the first great successes of Deadgirl is that it doesn’t overreach, sticking with the central idea without jumping away to find interesting, sustainable subplots. Instead, we’re forced to examine the most disgusting things the situation can afford while still finding a modicum of sexuality inherent that’s sure to push and define boundaries for every viewer. Most importantly, the film is scary, unsettling, and tense from start to finish. As the two main characters diverge and the committed JT elevates the stakes of their degenerate game, the expectations of what will follow shoot off in different directions, culminating in what you know will be the film’s centerpiece. Thankfully, the filmmakers work hard to make sure you won’t know exactly how it will unfold.
There are some obvious polishes that could be made in writing, directing, and editing, but none severe enough to detract from your attention. By the time the end rolls around, whether you have expected it or not, you cannot deny that the film has absolutely succeeded in what it set out to do.
Many horror films made these days set out to provide cheap, accessible shocks intended to give the audience their expected dosage of fear, but Deadgirl pushes its transgressive nature in a manner that can and will offend its viewers. How much the film offends you in concept or execution will ultimately decide whether you love it or hate it, but there’s no middle ground; in spite of its rare ability upset the audience, Deadgirl is extremely well constructed and one of the most original zombie movies ever made.
For dedicated fans with hi-fi systems, it will be a delight to know that, for some reason, the Blu-ray is currently cheaper than the DVD at less than $7 on Amazon, and when you’re watching beasts, blood, and boobs in the same transgressive film, nothing says loving like a heaping helping of HD.