I was having trouble sleeping last night, so I decided to browse through the ol’ Watch Instantly queue to find a movie that would facilitate my brain’s wind-down process – marginally entertaining but not at all thought-provoking – preferably with some goofy gore and bad acting. I came across a movie called “Deadgirl” with the following description:
After skipping school and breaking into the boiler room of a deserted mental hospital, buddies Rickie and JT make a shocking discovery: the plastic-covered naked body of a woman lying on a gurney.
Perfect. First of all, when your lead characters are named Rickie and JT, you can be pretty sure you got some zany misadventures coming your way. When those characters skip school to not only go to the “spooky deserted mental hospital” but break into its even spookier boiler room? Hijinks abound, friend! And what of this naked dead chick? Uh oh…I hope she’s not a zombie or a…*gulp*…g-g-g-ghost.
Assuming I was about to watch either a ripoff of Return of the Living Dead III or The Ring (depending on whether the girl was a zombie or a ghost respectively), I settled in, shut off my brain, and hit play.
Holy crap was I ever wrong.
At its core, this movie is about one thing and one thing only: deranged high school kids continually raping a restrained comatose girl in a basement.
That being said, let’s mince words a little.
In the beginning, Ricky and JT are pretty much what you expect – troubled teenagers from broken homes (homes that may or may not be located on the wrong side of the tracks). After causing some general ruckus in the abandoned mental hospital, they come upon the dead girl in the basement. (The Netflix synopsis is accurate so far.) After a lot of “holy shit, dude” and “what the fuck don’t touch her i’ll touch her no don’t oh my god”, the “dead” girl takes a gasp of air and the boys realize she’s actually “alive”. Upon this realization, the standard movie “bad boy” archetype flies out the window when JT decides the only logical thing to do in this situation is to have sex with her. Rickie makes a valid point to JT that perhaps it is fundamentally wrong to rape a semi-conscious naked girl you just found chained up in a basement. JT disagrees with this assertion and punches Rickie in the face. Rickie deals with this by going home and not calling the police.
Rickie spends the next hour of the movie sulking and meandering about town, mumbling trite unprovoked nihilistic quips to unhip adults and pining for a girl that doesn’t return his affection (most likely because he’s an insufferable mopey jerk-off). JT, on the other hand, recruits his Spicoli-esque yet equally depraved buddy Wheeler to spend the next hour of the movie fucking, punching, and shooting the restrained unkillable zombie girl.
Now we have to clear something up. Is “Deadgirl” a misogynistic exploitative piece of garbage glorifying bondage and rape? Absolutely not, but it is by no means tasteful.
PRO: Despite the fact that the entire movie revolves around this zombie girl unwillingly getting a train busted on her, there aren’t any graphic depictions of the act itself. (There is, however, a shot featuring a pretty out of control merkin.)
CON: We are reminded a few times by JT that “she isn’t really human”, but seeing as how her mannerisms are more akin to those of a doped-up mute college girl than those of your typical movie zombie (e.g. biting, growling, proclaiming a hunger for brains), you often find your self thinking “Why the fuck is any of this even happening right now and why am I watching it?”
I could go back and forth on this for hours but I guess what it all really boils down to is this: If you do not believe “artistic expression” justifies the depiction of deplorable acts, you should really just save your outrage and not watch this movie. You should also not watch this movie if you are my mother. (Seriously, Mom, I will never be able to look you in the eye again. I hear “Julie & Julia” is cute. Go watch that.)
However, if you feel that you can conscionably view flagrant atrocities by reminding yourself that in an “artistic sense”, they serve to explore the theme of man’s innate cruelty and barbarism when left unchecked, or more accurately, serve to explore the theme of self-discovery and empowerment by way of sadism, sexual dominance, and necrophilia, go ahead and give this one a go. But be prepared to have your sensibilities challenged. (Also be prepared for the urge to punch every single character in this movie in their stupid mouths. It’s a veritable 3 ring circus of douchebaggery.)
If you are a pretentious film student that only watches indie flicks, thinks everything should “push the envelope”, and enjoys aggrandizing mediocre films by comparing aspects to literature and mythos (e.g. “the dog in this film represents the Egyptian god of the underworld Anubis in that he stands guard over the room in which the dead girl resides), then guess what – you just got a new favorite movie.
You will also probably really like this movie if you’re a rapist.
I give this movie 10 out of 5 uncomfortable furrowed brows.