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Director: Marcel Sarmiento, Gadi Harel
Screenplay: Trent Haaga
Cast: Shiloh Fernandez, Noah Segan, Michael Bowen, Candice Accola, Jenny Spain
Producers: Marcel Sarmiento, Gadi Harel
Distributor: Les Films Séville / E1
2009 | 16 min
Ladies, pay attention. DEADGIRL directors Marcel Sarmiento and Gadi Harel have something to say about what it means to be male, and let’s just say it ain’t real flattering towards the manly gender. Nope, not a bit. Built around a stellar premise and a nonstop flow of shocking imagery and set pieces, DEADGIRL is sure to be one of the most talked about films of the year.
JT and Rickie are two typical teenage kids. Not particularly interested in classes, not particularly good at sports and not from the right part of town, the pair are most definitely not in with the cool kids and more inclined to cut classes than attend. The only thing that really keeps Rickie at school at all is the presence of JoAnn—the girl he’s loved since childhood, currently dating the biggest jock in the place—and the only thing that seems to keep JT around, as much as he stays around, is Rickie. There is, however, one thing that sets the pair apart, one thing that they have that nobody else does. You see, one day while killing time in an abandoned asylum the pair discover, deep in a sealed and forgotten room, the naked body of a seemingly dead girl covered in plastic and chained to a table. Only she doesn’t seem to be dead after all. And, as they quickly learn, she can’t be killed. Wild, feral, nothing but aggression and impulse, it’s hard to even think of her as human. Rickie wants to cut her free and go to the police. JT, by far the stronger personality of the two, disagrees. Nobody knows she’s there. Nobody will ever come for her. She’s not even really human. Surely they can find some better use for her. She is, after all, smoking hot. And, in case you’ve forgotten, naked.
DEADGIRL is guaranteed to get tongues wagging. It is explicitly violent, filled with bursts of shocking gore and equally explicit sexually. Is this what coming of age looks like in our commodified times, when we think of everything—people included—as objects to be consumed and disposed of at will? This is objectification of women pushed out to ludicrous, though frighteningly plausible, extremes. Full marks also to Sarmiento and Harel for moving beyond simple shock and excess, rooting the film instead in the very simple conflict that rises when one young man realizes that his best and only friend is—to put it mildly—not a very nice person.