Deadgirl (2008)

Written by long-time Troma collaborator and actor; Trent Haaga, and directed by Marcel Sarmiento and Gadi Harel, this twisted tale gives us an entirely unique take on the zombie sub-genre.

Rickie and J.T. are High School students, kept on the outskirts of all their contemporaries’ cliques by both their poor social standing and J.T’s hatred of conformist behaviour and innate need to control his friend. They prefer to skip classes and get high; one day this leads them to an abandoned building in which they discover a woman; naked, dirty and chained to a table. Realising that they may be the only ones who know of her whereabouts they decide to hold onto the information and “keep her”.

Deadgirl is an emotionally and morally challenging film that succeeds in making the audience feel uneasy whilst simultaneously forcing them to face some uncomfortable questions about their ideals and take a long hard look at their own morality.

It’s protagonists are played pitch perfectly by Segan and Fernandez respectively, and special mention has to go to Jenny Spain who, playing the titular deadgirl, spends the entire film in the buff with some hefty restraints around her wrists and ankles. It can’t have been an easy role to play but she remained wonderfully convincing in every scene. Kudos also has to go to the cinematographer as all the outside shots looked sumptuous, and in stark contrast, the inside shots look suitably dark and grimy which reflected the moods of the flick to a T.

The film tackles some pretty offbeat subject matter and it’s makers seem to have sought out the boundaries of modern horror in a conscious effort to push right past them. And boy, do they! It’s a bold move to center your movie around horny teenagers who, when presented with a bound, mute and clearly re-animated dead woman, decide to take full advantage of the situation. Necrophilia, particularly quite graphic depictions of necrophilia, is taboo to the extreme so the film is granted an almost instant notoriety and is guaranteed to become a formidable cult classic. I can also honestly say that it’s the first instance of zombie rape in film that springs to mind, somewhat thankfully. It’s an unfamiliar topic in film and personally I hope it stays that way. I’m no prude, but some scenes in Deadgirl really tested my ability to keep my lunch from making an unwanted return.

Taking into account that this was penned by the same man responsible for Citizen Toxie : The Toxic Avenger IV, I wasn’t expecting a movie with any real depth but I had to revoke any preconceived notions I might have had based on my prior knowledge of Haaga’s writing credits. For a movie about such disagreeable topics, it had a surprising amount of heart. Some of the characters are perfectly loathsome but others, despite their apparently malfunctioning moral compasses, are endearingly imperfect.

Deadgirl is by no means an easy film to watch but if you have a deep love of the genre and enjoy movies that push right past the walls of decency and question what is and isn’t universally acknowledged to be corrupt and sinful then give this film a go. Two morally impaired thumbs up!

Rating: ★★★★★★★★☆☆

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