Gruesome Gazette

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Our friends at Unearthed Films have celebrated the 15 year anniversary of controversial coming-of-age film “Deadgirl” with a brand new restoration and a surplus of new features. The film itself is a dark, twisted story of friendships gone astray, lust, power, and manipulation. It was controversial when it first came out (surprisingly to such a large audience), and stayed in the zeitgeist of taboo and depressing films that garnered cult status.

“Deadgirl” tells the story of Rickie & JT (played by Shiloh Fernandez & Noah Segan, respectively) who are two high school kids who just fuck around after school. One day they go to an abandoned mental asylum to hang out, when they uncover a secret hiding in the basement – a body of a woman wrapped in plastic who appears dead at first, but they soon realize that she actually cannot die. She is, essentially, a zombie – but this is not your typical zombie film. What transpires is a story of a friendship divided as JT has the devious plan to tie this woman up and constantly abuse her – mostly sexually. The discovery that she cannot communicate or die leads to the realization that JT can sort of scot-free take advantage of this woman to his heart’s content – including but not limited to shooting her and fingering the wounds, exploring her orifices, and much more. Rickie serves as the audience surrogate who does not want to exploit this woman, but is aware that he cannot exactly tell anyone about it either.

JT eventually tells their mutual friend Wheeler about her, and naturally, introducing another person into such a complicated dynamic only makes things worse. Things just spiral out of control as the boys continue to abuse this woman, a bully abuses the boys and eventually finds out about the woman in the basement, zombie-ness happens in interesting ways, and much more madness.

While the film itself is about a despicable topic and confronting emotions, it’s done in a way that is oddly polished. There is no lingering on the woman’s nudity or the sexual violence happening, instead it’s done almost tastefully so we can focus on the emotions and the dynamics of the characters rather than the gross out of the visual violence. It allows the audience to experience the film in a way that feels more earnest rather than exploitative.

But don’t get me wrong, the film itself is still disturbing and absolutely hits the Unearthed benchmark that we’ve all become accustomed to by now. It’s arguably a film that deserves more merit than it already has, but it’s absolutely not for everyone.
The Unearthed version features a gorgeous restoration, plenty of interviews (vintage and new), a photo gallery, trailers, and much more. It’s easily one of the better screeners I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing for them, and it’s one I’m happy to sing the praises of. Just be prepared – it’s a troubling film that does not hold back on making the viewer feel icky and sad.


“Deadgirl” is available now on Bluray/DVD right here

‘Til Next Time,
Mike Cleopatra

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