Tuesday, December 1, 2009
I watched this via Netflix Instant view this week (is there any greater invention?), so I figured I could throw up a review of it. A quick plot summary first:
Two teenage guys decide to skip school to go drink beer at an abandoned insane asylum (who hasn't done that before?). As they enter the asylum, the come across a naked dead girl under a plastic sheet. They then discover she is alive and one of the boys decides she is hot and seeing as how she is tied down, makes the popular decision to have sex with her. The sensible other boy decides that's rape and leaves, only to have the rapist come find him a day later. The rapist takes him back to the dead girl and tells him how she started to growl and bite at him, so he beat her to death (seems logical). Sensible boy was wondering why the rapist had to show him the aftermath, only to find out the girl isn't dead. She's not alive either. They shoot her, strangle her, and pummel her some more, but she stays alive. As another rapist boy comes to enter the picture, the secret gets out and bad stuff happens (who would have seen that coming). Without revealing too much, a dick gets bitten, intestines are literally shat out, a dog is eaten, and you see some very hairy crotch. Sounds intriguing, no?
Cinematography: The movie is shot on digital cameras and is fairly high quality, but nothing to really be amazed at. The shot scale is ample and pretty simple, but good despite its simplicity. It luckily doesn't fall into any shaky cam moments or anything of that sort, but Deadgirl is definitely the work of an amateur filmmaker. However, it's someone with talent that could very easily develop into someone with a bit more presence. Overall, the movie doesn't have enough originality to establish itself in atmosphere, but it is done well enough that it gets a 3 out of 5 for Cinematography.
Execution: Well, Deadgirl is a whole new concept to me. It does revolve ultimately around moral impacts and making the right decision, but it does so in a way that I have not previously seen or heard of. I mean, finding an unkillable person and using them for sex? Pretty original idea there. It does, however, fall into the random high school stereotypes pretty quickly with some of the characters. The bullies are pretty standard "jock" types (which they even reference), and the losers (main characters) are poor, school-ditching, pot-smoking bastards. The problem is that you only really find one character likable (Rickie), but because he makes such strange decisions, you don't really care all that much for him. On the one hand, I liked the idea, on the other, the characters were cliche, so it gets a fence-straddling 2.5 out of 5 for Execution.
Sub-genre Comparison: Well, Deadgirl is at heart a zombie movie. The girl that can't die but is already dead, she infects people with a bite, and tries to eat some flesh, pretty much makes it a zombie film. However, it's hard to compare Deadgirl to other standard zombie fare because it is not standard zombie fare. It's a nice little breath of fresh air in what has become a pretty stagnant genre. It doesn't compare to Night of the Living Dead or 28 Days Later, but it isn't trying to either. It's not the best zombie movie I have ever seen, but it is plenty original, so Deadgirl is rewarded for originality with a 3.5 out of 5 for Sub-genre Comparison.
Production Value: The movie clearly had no budget (otherwise you may have heard of it), but it does well with what it has. The actors are pretty good, only a couple of times was it even remotely hard to sit through. But even Deadgirl's worst acting is better than other movies' best, so it doesn't suffer. Deadgirl uses pretty good special effects, opting for a lot of make up (always a plus in my mind). There is a lot of blood, but not a whole lot of gore, making the aforementioned intestine shitting scene hit a little harder. It's impressive with the little budget it has, so Deadgirl grabs a 4 out of 5 for Production Value.
Scares: Deadgirl is fairly tense and well done, but not particularly scary. The end scene manages to conjure a few good moments and some nice tension, but the movie has more of an uneasy vibe the entire way through, rather than a sense of dread. Deadgirl does a few jump scares too many for my tastes, but it has a good setting for that (the asylum they are in), so I don't blame the filmmakers for that one. Deadgirl, while not the scariest thing I have ever seen, did make me a bit uneasy at times, so I give it a moderate 2.5 out of 5 for Scares.
Overall, Deadgirl manages a moderate 15.5 out of 25 arbitrary marks on my scale. It's an average horror movie that I enjoyed, but don't really have any desire to watch again. I recommend any horror fan watch it, but I am not going to tell you that you have to go see it right now. I liked the idea and it was very refreshing to see such an original idea in an independent horror from the US, but ultimately I just wasn't that interested in the subject matter or characters to love the movie.
Though there is still some like there.