Deadgirl (Marcel Sarmiento, Gadi Harel,2008): USA

Reviewed by Joel DeVries. Viewed at the AFI Film Festival, Archlight Hollywood.

A hot girl strapped to a table completely nude for the entire movie. Cool flick right? Well yes, but not for the reasons you would immediately assume. This genre melding horror film takes you to the world of the completely perverse and terrifying and has you giggling throughout. For me, this movie definitely wins the “What the Hell?” award at the AFI Film Festival, which is a good thing in my book.

The film I describe above is Deadgirl directed by Marcel Sarmiento and Gadi Harel. I saw this film at the Arc Light theater in Hollywood, California, and am very glad that I did. Even though this movie would be best at night, I found it just as frightening at two in the afternoon. The young cast, lead by actors Shiloh Fernandez and Noah Segan, were pretty impressive, jumping from scenes of terror and comedy while staying true to the identity of their characters.

The plot revolves around two high school buddies, Rickie (Shiloh Fernandez) and JT (Noah Segan), who come from wrong side of the tracks and love to do anything that takes up the time where they could have been in school instead. Rickie has had a crush this girl JoAnn (Candice Accola), the popular girl, since he was a kid, but listens to JT and believes that she is too good for them and should find somebody more at his level. This is a very telling indicator of their relationship, as JT is the leader and Rickie can’t stand up for anything he thinks is right. One day, while ditching school, they decide to take a look through an old abandoned mental hospital and break a couple of things while they are at it. After getting chased into the darkness by a black snarling guard dog, they don’t know where to go and choose a jammed door as the best place to find a way out. In the darkness behind some rusted pipes they find a naked girl (Jenny Spain) strapped to a table. This is where their problems begin: Rickie wants to get help but JT has a few more perverse plans that he has to take care of first.

The main actors were very good in this film, but I think the one that will go a little under the radar: Jenny Spain who played the dead girl. I can honestly say that when they first did the flash cuts to her face, that is the most I have jumped in a chair at any film ever. This may have been because of the people jumping out of their seats next to me, but she is definitely a scary zombie. She did a great job, as I can only assume how trying it would be to have to lay naked in front of a camera for hours a day while giving this freaky zombie stare the entire time.

This film definitely got some of its ideas from the film River’s Edge, directed by Tim Hunter, where a high school kid murders a girl and his friends have to figure out what to do about this dead naked girl lying by the river. I thought that they took this idea and made an even more interesting story that came to really freak you out in more ways than one.

This movie had some funny parts, some scary parts, and some obnoxious parts, and together it created a film that I am really happy I saw. If you would like a scary and really different take on the zombie genre, go see this film and you won’t be disappointed.

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