Thoughts on… Deadgirl (2008)

Deadgirl, 2008.

Directed by Marcel Sarmiento and Gadi Harel.
Starring Shiloh Fernandez, Noah Segan and Candice Accola.


Two high school boys bunk off school to go drink beers in the local abandoned insane asylum – what could possibly go wrong? How about discovering a bound and gagged naked (un)dead woman…

Rickie and JT are two best friends, the typical horny teenagers often seen in your run-of-the-mill teen movie. One, Rickie, is lusting after his childhood crush Joann (Candice Accola) who has the jock boyfriend and the stupidly high standards. JT however is a bit different. JT is downright obsessed with sex, to the point where on discovering the ‘dead girl’, his reaction is to get down and dirty with her.

The two as central characters are enough to carry the movie – but initially I was sceptical as the acting is a little wooden. It can be forgiven once the story plays out, and we come to know the ‘dead girl’ (Jenny Spain) who does an incredible job of playing the part of a naked, dirty play thing for JT, and a couple of other high school hornies.

Jenny Spain has the difficult job of portraying so many emotions, leaving the audience wondering who she is, what she is, and how she got there. Ultimately however, none of these questions are really answered. Well, what she is is hinted at, as when she bites someone they become infected (in one case, a rather unfortunate jock gets a dodgy belly and ends up passing out his intestines), and the only way to kill someone infected is to remove their head. The ‘z’ word is never used, but it’s pretty obvious that it is implied.

Deadgirl certainly addresses some pretty interesting themes derived from the objectification of women. The dead girl is essentially a sex slave, held against her will and used for the men’s needs. Although dirty and infected, she has a slim figure, a fairly attractive face when she’s not feeling bitey. Even JT comments on her figure being akin to a porn star. Within that she becomes perhaps a symbol of the male desire, and although Rickie is disgusted by JT’s obsession, a rather weak tagged-on ending even disgraces our ‘hero’.

Ultimately, Deadgirl is not a bad movie. It deals with the undead, rape and possible necrophilia (depending on your view of whether this woman is really ‘alive’), it takes the use of sex in horror to another level, and also adds a darkness to the sex-crazed testosterone-fuelled Hollywood teen male. However, it doesn’t do any of these things particularly well. Although the direction is not bad, the film is let down by some of the shoddy acting and unfeasible plot twists – which is a shame, because the premise had a lot of promise. The music is well done, and the atmosphere is created well, but something stinks – and it’s not the dead girl.

Cat Fyson