You Never Forget Your First
Ever see a teen movie that makes you question conventions about relationships – plutonic or otherwise? I mean, I’m sure you have. Ever about zombies? No, this isn’t Warm Bodies. I’m talking about Deadgirl.
This movie’s pretty darn nasty, but I think I have a penchant for finding things to discuss in regards to nasty things. On the surface, we’re basically looking at zombie-rape teen drama. What? I told you this movie’s nasty. Key phrase here, “surface.”
Deadgirl is about a pair of friends, Rickie and JT – your typical 20-something high school students who would easily fall in the loser/burnout category. One day they decide to skip class and do their typical loser/burnout things, such as get crunked and explore an abandoned psychiatric hospital. Deep within the catacombs they discover a something most strange – a naked girl strapped to a bed. Upon this discovery, we instantly discover the boys’ respective moral compass: Rickie wants to call for help, but JT simply sees a sexy little number looking for action. Insert feminist groan. Then JT inevitably finds out that this stranger is indeed a nameless, mute zombie, and becomes his own personal play-thing. Queue a far more disgusted groan…and a little bit of controlled vomiting.
Yes, I realize this is an incredibly extreme situation which transcends all we know as reality. I mean, there’s no way we’re dealing with an “average kid” who’s as twisted as JT. Well, except for maybe Daryl Sabara in World’s Greatest Dad. That’s for another day. When looking at this movie, I think it’s best to think in terms of extremity, as well as just pure rawness.
I see the Deadgirl herself less as a victim and more of a metaphor. Because really, I don’t think this movie was made with human rights implications in mind. Are zombies really a people? They’ve always been objectified, clustered as an ominous horde, like hornets or mimes. Furthermore , being that “extreme” is a common theme throughout this film, the catalyst for these boys’ dichotomies is something as putrid as it is mystifying (because I struggle to say “alluring”). Similarly Joann, the object of Rickie’s affection, is, well, objectified – he desperately clings to this construct of her, that same girl he fell in love with in his younger years, when clearly she has moved on. Such is the simplification of angsty teen romance. Just a note, the climax with Joann – best part.
Watching this movie is no walk in the park, but there’s something about it that gave it a special place in my weird little heart. It’s undoubtedly Donnie Darkoesque, which is not to say that it’s nearly as good, but that’s beside the point. It’s this atmosphere combined with its raw content that creates an original work that is either loved or hated. I mean, I really dig it – and I know I’m not the only one:
Forget what you’ve heard. Past any controversy, Deadgirl is a film beautiful in every way: about friendship, love, rejection, obsession, and all the horror that comes along with such teenaged emotions. See it and make it the classic it deserves. – Fangoria