Deadgirl (2008)

Deadgirl
Director: Marcel Sarmiento, Gadi Harel
Writer: Trent Haaga
Cast: Shiloh Fernandez, Noah Segan, Candice Accola, Eric Podnar, Jenny Spain, Michael Bowen

[MASSIVE TRIGGER WARNINGS]

Plot:
Rickie (Shiloh Fernandez) and JT (Noah Segan) decide to ditch school and explore the local abandoned mental hospital (as you do). In the basement of said hospital they stumble upon a chained, naked woman (Jenny Spain) who isn’t dead, much to their surprise. Or at least nor really. JT sees the perfect opportunity to acquire a sex slave, while Rickie is a little more hesitant.

Deadgirl could have been an interesting comment on rape culture and the (sexual) objectification of women. Unfortunately instead it tries to be clever without actually understanding what it is about. And that just means it sucks so much there are hardly any words for it.

Deadgirl

[SPOILERS]

As I said from the plot description alone, this could have been an interesting film. Teenage boys find a dehumanized woman. They continue the objectification and immediately see her as their property – finders keepers. They abuse her in the worst ways, even though one of them isn’t actually entirely comfortable with the entire thing. But for the film to be an effective critique it would have needed to show that Deadgirl was actually more than just a senseless object and the movie fails miserably there. Towards the end she does get agency and runs away but she’s an animal there, nothing more. Certainly not a person.

But it’s not only on that level that the movie disappoints. Since it fails to address the feminist issues at its core, the boys/men themselves have no chance whatsoever of seeming anything but creeps. Instead of shaped by a fucked-up patriarchic system, instead of never having learned anything else but seeing women as their playthings, they are just teenagers! And everybody knows that (male) teenagers would fuck anything with a vagina (and some things without)! No matter that Deadgirl (who never even gets any semblance of a name) stinks, is dirty and has wounds filled with puss. No matter that she’s beaten up. She has boobs. She has a vagina. She’s fuckable. Ugh.

Deadgirl1

And don’t even get me started on the “twist” at the end where the girl Rickie is in love with gets bitten by Deadgirl and not even then is he able to make his mind up and call an ambulance or help or whatever. Instead she becomes his plaything. But because he loves her, he actually takes care of her and doesn’t beat her. Or something. In its defense, the movie doesn’t try to show that to be anything else but creepy but it is still an ending lacking any kind of punch. Should we be surprised that somebody who supported one woman being a sex slave finally decides to get his own?

All of that isn’t even touching on how the film fails technically as well. Wooden acting, shoddy camera work, an awful script and plot holes the size of an African country – you get it all. Really, there are no redeeming features about this film.

deadgirl2

Summarizing: No. HELL no.

2 thoughts on “Deadgirl (2008)

  1. Quite some time since I last seen it, but… well, as much as I understand everyone who despises it (there are plenty of peeps out there who fucking hate it, women and men), I couldn’t help “liking” it.

    I remember standing in my local rental store, wanting to rent “The Dead Girl” with Piper Laurie. At home, I was annoyed at first because I realized I took the wrong movie – and then, I was just shocked because that was clearly NOT what I had expected. It’s a gruesome and painful movie, but I’m quite a sucker for movies that disturb the hell out of me.

    I have to say, I watch these movies not thinking to much about it, like the “I Spit On Your Grave” flicks. I check if and how they thril me, I check how they were written and directed, I check how they unsettle and disturb me – but I don’t go too deep into the morally questionable part. I mean, damn, it’s obvious how problematic this or similar movies are on a feminist level, but as a male, it’s pretty easy to ignore stuff like that – which probably makes me a bad person, but I can’t help it.

    I hated “The Woman” though and thought the movie’s violence against and portayal of women was unbearable.

    • Yeah, it’s certainly easier to ignore this when you’re a guy. Generally the privileged group will have an easier time to ignore the unprivileged things (like white people have an easier time ignoring racism and so on). But even for the unprivileged group it often takes a certain training and sensibilization to notice it – the unprivileged are part of the system as well after all. But once you start noticing this shit – and it’s really prevalent – it gets harder and harder to ignore. It doesn’t make you a bad person, though. It just makes you an unaware one.

      I loved The Woman, honestly. It’s one of the few films where the violence against the woman isn’t sexualized in the slightest. It’s a film that shows that it’s only a small step from the societal discourse about women to chaining them up and abusing them. And it’s a film where the woman in the end gets her revenge and satisfaction, again without being sexualized. It’s not perfect, but it is one of the best rape/abuse revenge films I ever saw.

      2014-03-11 9:42 GMT+01:00 Stuff :

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