×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Deadgirl

"Deadgirl" takes a disturbing adolescent male fantasy and glosses it up just enough to pass for a legitimate horror movie.

With:
With: Shiloh Fernandez, Noah Segan, Candice Accola, Eric Podnar, Jenny Spain, Andrew DiPalma, Nolan Gerard Funk.

Arriving on the heels of America’s torture-porn wave, “Deadgirl” takes a disturbing adolescent male fantasy and glosses it up just enough to pass for a legitimate horror movie. The plot, which concerns two friends who discover a naked woman tied up in an abandoned mental hospital and decide to make her their personal sex object, is extreme enough that few distribs would dream of touching it. Still, pic the skirts the edge without going over, and judging from the raucous reception during its Midnight Madness preem at Toronto, twisted auds clearly do exist for such blatantly “wrong” material.

The titular corpse more accurately qualifies as a “living deadgirl,” with the pic joining the recent trend of zombie movies that never identify themselves as such. Instead, tyro horror helmers Marcel Sarmiento and Gadi Harel focus on the script’s more “River’s Edge”-like aspects.

Both J.T. (Noah Segan) and Rickie (Shiloh Fernandez) can relate to rejection, which explains not only why they’d be lurking around a shuttered nuthouse but also why they’d be inclined to find their own depraved use for a Playmate-quality zombie chick.

The best scenes are the early ones, as the directors maximize their location choice for some ominous haunted-house antics. Shooting on a Viper FilmStream camera at Linda Vista Hospital in East Los Angeles, the helmers capture every glint and shadow as they track the teens through creepy underground passages, matching the action with nerve-jangling sound design. Not since “Session 9” has an abandoned asylum been used to such unsettling effect.

But things take a nasty turn once the deadgirl shows up, with screenwriter Trent Haaga injecting tasteless humor (after the boys exhaust the zombie girl’s every orifice, they move on to her bullet wounds) into an already absurd situation. Sarmiento and Harel may hide behind the defense that this tongue-in-cheek dark comedy serves as an allegory for adolescent insecurity, but rape is one of those subjects few people find funny, regardless of whether the victim happens to be alive, dead or undead.

The two leads show promise, with Fernandez sporting the pinch-faced sneer of a young Joaquin Phoenix. Jenny Spain’s a good sport as the deadgirl, flashing her grease-smeared breasts and blackened gums on command (a cult starlet in the making, even if she never works again). Digital footage looks better than the material deserves.

Deadgirl

Production: A Hollywoodmade production, in association with Sartistic. (International sales: the Collective, Los Angeles.) Produced by Marcel Sarmiento, Gadi Harel. Executive producers, Chris Webster, Rob Hickman. Co-producer, Cynthia Graner. Directed by Marcel Sarmiento, Gadi Harel. Screenplay, Trent Haaga.

Crew: Camera (widescreen, HD), Harris Charalambous; editor, Phillip Blackford; music supervisor, Kim Randall; production designer, Diana Zeng; costume designer, Lynh Haaga; sound (Dolby), Will Hansen; sound designer, Blackford; special makeup effects, Jim Ojala; assistant director, Paul Bogh. Reviewed at Toronto Film Festival (Midnight Madness), Sept. 7, 2008. Running time: 101 MIN.

With: With: Shiloh Fernandez, Noah Segan, Candice Accola, Eric Podnar, Jenny Spain, Andrew DiPalma, Nolan Gerard Funk.

More Film

  • New Fox Appoints Wayne Borg to

    New Fox Appoints Wayne Borg to Los Angeles Studio Role

    Wayne Borg, who has headed the Fox Studios Australia operations in Sydney for the past four years, has been appointed president and general manager of studios at New Fox. He will relocate from Australia to Los Angeles. Fox Studios Australia, which is to remain part of 21st Century Fox and will become part of Disney [...]

  • Lisa Borders Time's Up

    Time's Up President Lisa Borders Resigns

    Lisa Borders has resigned as president of Time’s Up, she and the organization announced on Monday. Borders is resigning due to family issues, she said in a statement. Time’s Up COO Rebecca Goldman will now serve as interim CEO. “As Time’s Up continues to grow, I am proud of the work I have done to [...]

  • Keira Knightly as "Rachael Morgan" in

    Film Review: Keira Knightley in 'The Aftermath'

    Less widely seen (and acclaimed) than it deserved to be, James Kent’s debut feature “Testament of Youth” was one of the great recent love-in-wartime dramas, translating the intimate romance and sprawling human tragedy of Vera Brittain’s WWI memoir with a grace and heft worthy of its David Lean allusions. Four years on, it’s not hard [...]

  • Inside Amazon's New Feature Film Strategy

    Amazon's New Film Strategy: Straight-to-Service Titles and Starry Sundance Buys

    It was close to midnight when Amazon Studios chief Jennifer Salke got the text. The company had failed in its quest to acquire “Brittany Runs a Marathon,” a body image dramedy that captivated Salke when she saw it at Sundance. A sales agent on the project messaged her to say that a competitor offered a [...]

  • Alfonso Cuaron71st Annual Writers Guild Awards,

    Alfonso Cuarón on Academy's 'Inevitable' Reversal on Televised Oscar Categories

    Alfonso Cuarón isn’t exactly surprised that the Academy reversed its decision and will now air all the Oscar categories during the live show on Sunday. Feb. 24. Calling the decision “inevitable,”Cuarón tells Variety that he thinks the Academy should take things even further. “Let’s stop calling them technical categories!” he told Variety on Sunday night [...]

  • TorinoFilmLab Announces Selections for 2019 ScriptLab

    TorinoFilmLab Announces Selections for 2019 ScriptLab (EXCLUSIVE)

    The TorinoFilmLab has announced the 20 feature projects and five story editor trainees who have been selected to take part in the 2019 edition of ScriptLab, an initiative focused on the development of fiction feature film scripts in early development stage. Beginning in March, this year’s participants will team up with filmmakers from around the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content