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Deadgirl (2008)

'Deadgirl' is a 2008 horror movie written by Trent Haaga and directed by Gadi Harel and Marcel Sarmiento. Coming out to a controversial reception from critics and audiences, being branded misogynistic, and more often than not making it way on to a lot of top 10 most disturbing horror movies of recent years. And as always, with a reputation like that, my curiosity was automatically peaked. The question is, is the notoriety warranted?

The direction and cinematography is less then desirable. Although it's clear this is a very amateur production with the hindrance of a very limited budget, I found the creative choices that were made to be more of an issue than then the limitations this production suffered due to the budget itself. The unsteady camera becomes quite nauseating and the excessive use of fading and out of a scene became an annoyance fairly quickly. All of these elements combined, with the over saturated colour pallet that consists of various shades of beige, makes this a difficult and bland movie to get through. And surprisingly that is something I assumed I would be saying about the movies overall content and not the aesthetics.

The casting is rather unbalanced, there are times when the two leads Rickie and JT played by Shiloh Fernandez and Noah Segan show great potential as performers. However, due to the poorly written dialogue it seems as though both of them struggle to relate to the unnatural use of teen slang that's comes from the script. At times you can see the clear disdain on the majority of actors faces as they struggle to convincingly deliver clique dialogue that is only used when parodying stoner teens from the 90s. This level of unnatural conversion makes every character interaction become wildly distracting from its initial intent.

It is without question the plot of this movies what makes this as well established as it is in the horror community. With the over the top use of sexual assault at its core, 'Dead Girl' prides itself on grotesque situations and putting the viewer in a state of unease with its graphic content. And as clever as the writer like to think he may have been with his ultimate plot twist ending, it became fairly predictable early on once key players of the movie are introduced, exactly how the events of the movie were going to unfold.

One thing I do want to give praise to is the score and soundtrack. It is an exceptionally beautiful element to this movie and enhances every scene to its full emotional potential, albeit that potential is rather limited. The score itself comes from composer Joseph Bauer, who utilises an acoustic guitar driven score that I found to work very well in terms of tone. It's a shame his work was the only thing that held any form of impact.

Overall, 'Deadgirl' falls short on so many levels and is solely driven by its impulse to try and shock audiences with its vulgarity and grotesqueness. In order for a movie like this to work, everything else around the sensitive content matter needs to be of a substantial quality, something this movie does not deliver on. I don't begrudge my time spent watching this movie, but I would not recommend this movie to anyone, nor watch it again in the future.



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