Sunday, September 7, 2008

"Deadgirl" at TIFF'S Midnight Madness

Let me get the "accolades" out of the way. The make-up in "Deadgirl" is very effective. The layers of sweat and grime on the title character's naked body and her empty stare through disturbingly bloodshot eyes are somewhat chilling. There's also a powerhouse performance from a snarling dog that trumps any vicious animal seen on screen in recent memory. Those are the only good things I can say about "Deadgirl," the dreadfully misogynistic, adolescent boy sex-slave/rape fantasy film from directors Marcel Sarmiento and Gadi Harel and screenwriter Trent Haaga.

Teenage buddies Rickie and JT cut class one day, wandering over to the local abandoned mental hospital to drink some beer and release their male aggressions by trashing the place. They soon discover a dead body chained to a gurney but this dead girl turns out to be not so dead. The friendship is strained when JT sees an opportunity to keep the woman captive for his own sexual gratification. Rickie is appalled by JT and tensions are further ramped up when news of the boys' discovery gets out.

There is much to be disgusted with in "Deadgirl" including at least three rape scenes and a vicious assault on the dead girl which leaves her face bloodied to a pulp. All of it is presented with a sort of "nudge, nudge, wink, wink" nod to the audience. I for one didn't get the joke. There's nothing original or interesting about this film. It boils down to a story (and not a very good one at that) about teenage boys banging a dead chick. No thanks.