There was a time, honest to God, when nothing could offend me. Harmony Korine, I Spit on Your Grave, John Waters. Hell, I used to watch Faces of Death marathons. I was impenetrable. And you’d think, after five years of movie reviewing, five Saw movies, the rise and fall of torture porn, and eight years of George Bush, that I’d become even more numb to it. Maybe it’s age; maybe it’s being a parent. I dunno. But movies like Captivity or this one, Deadgirl (now on DVD) — they get under my skin. It’s more than just offended; it’s anger. This bile-rising, blood boiling violently ill rage. It’s not just the movies I hate — it’s everyone involved. I get so incensed that I literally want bad things to happen to the filmmakers. Macabre things. I want to see their intestines pulled out and fed to them. I want to take a mallet to their toes. I want to hurt them.
That’s no way to approach a film review. I know that. So, I waited a full week after I watched Deadgirl to calm myself. I want to approach it more rationally, without actual malice toward the filmmakers. Without a compulsion to drive to their homes and murder them in their sleep. Because I know — I understand — that hardcore horror fans probably liked Deadgirl. It’s well made, and competently put together enough to effectively drive me to a murderous rage. And surely, my pansy-ass pseudo-feminist reaction is likely to make it even more appealing to that nihilistic demographic, a demographic of folks who would tell me to get the fuck over myself. That it’s just a movie. That the seething rage is misguided, inappropriate, and has fuckall to do with the actual film.
And maybe they’re right, I mean, there is a certain thematic exploration in Deadgirl. It you wanted to look at it in a particular way, it’s really just a film about the out-of-control hormonal insanity of teenage boys, and the lengths they might go to in order to fulfill their sexual appetites. It’s like a horror version of American Pie.
But honestly, all I saw was an excuse to chain up a naked woman and brutally rape and fuck her for 90 minutes.
Two loserish teenage boys (Shiloh Fernandez and Noah Segan) with no sexual outlets at their high school decide to skip class one day. Bored and a six-pack in, they find an abandoned building and work their way through the tunnels until they find a naked woman underneath a sheet of plastic strapped to a table in a boiler room. They don’t understand why she’s there, but hey! Look! A helpless naked dead woman! Whatever shall we do?
How about fuck her? Oh, and good news: It turns out, she moves, but she can’t die! Cause she’s already dead. She’s a zombie. Shoot her. Bludgeon her. Rape the ever-loving shit out of her, and she’ll survive for another day of necrophiliac rape and torture! Shame her wounds don’t heal, however, because after a few days, the naked woman strapped to a table starts to look a little worse for wear. Multiple rapes, beatings, and rigor mortis will do that to a person.
No matter. While one of the high-school boys feels a little guilty about, you know, repeatedly defiling the undead woman, the other one thinks, “Hey! I can get my jollies off and I can charge admission so that others can use this motionless hole of pleasure!” Bingo: Sex slave! So, of course, a few of the school jocks are brought in for a rapin’ good time, too.
I don’t want to say much more, lest I spoil it for you (let’s just say, one zombie plus a zombie bite equals more ladies to fuck, a little trick they discovered after a zombie blowjob went awry), but after a slow but disturbing first two acts, Deadgirl ratchets up its premise, its violence, and its sociological exploration, so to speak. Putting the downright atrocious dialogue aside, as a horror movie, it’s unfortunately effective, suitably grim, and even kind of inventive for the zombie genre, if you want to call it that. I could see the high-school version of myself getting a kick out of it. But then again, my high-school self had very little moral sense, had a sick sense of humor, and got off on senseless nihilism. He was a soft-brained sadistic little fuck.
This version of myself, however, found it pointless, abhorrent, disgusting, sadistic and — yes — misogynistic. It’s dirty fucking exploitative bullshit, meant to draw in the very crowd it’s “satirizing.” It’s depraved as hell, but then again, that’s its biggest selling point.
But at least it’s not lesbian necrophilia. Cause, ick.