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Posted 8th July 2009 at 08:54 AM by Philleh

American Indie cinema has enjoyed something of a resurgence recently. Films like The Hamiltons, Girl Next Door and, more recently, Grace have proven that there is no shortage of talent in the states. Daring filmmakers, who are willing to lead their audience down unexpected and often perverse paths; willing to push the envelope of decency, in the name of originality. Be it stillborn zombie babies or pre-pubescent rapists, there’s no denying that this new breed of horror creators are willing to offend the majority in order to give the minority what they want – provocative, but mature, issues being handled with freshness and intelligence.

So, what’s under the spotlight here? Well, young men coming-of-age – with a very twisted, unflattering slant. J.T and Ricky are two outcasts; we know this because they have long hair and cut class *gasp*. While on the skive, the duo stumble across an abandoned hospital. Being the juvenile young bucks they are, they proceed to trash the already decrypted place. Things come to an unpleasant, pre-mature, end when they are faced by a gnarly hound that chases them into a well-sealed room. Here they find a young woman, naked and bound – not to mention, apparently dead. J.T is instantly smitten with her, while Ricky just wants to leave and contact the authorities.

Things get heated and Ricky leaves J.T with the woman. Later, J.T comes to Ricky and begs him to come back to the hospital, promising something he’ll never forget. Fair enough, he wasn’t lying, the woman has visible markings around her neck, J.T states that he strangled her but she won’t die. He proves to Ricky what he means by shooting her, three times. Again, she does not die – she lays there, eyes fixed to the wall, no blood coming from her wounds. Understandably disturb, Ricky wants nothing to do with the madness, but J.T doesn’t want to be the only one carrying on with his new toy and soon starts to recruit other horny teenagers who aren’t as morally-sound as Ricky. But every action has a consequence… as the boys are about to find out.

So, a group of teenage boys are given their very own ‘**** slave’ – what do you think will happen? Yes, it’s ugly and all the more terrifying for the fact that what they do isn’t the surprising aspect of the story! We expect them to act this way, you may even relate J.T’s character to someone from your own upbringing and that’s what makes Deadgirl worrying: The treatment of women by today’s male populace. Group sex, S&M, Sodomy… the list of activities the boys think up for entertainment is alarming and of course the creators take a dig at modern pornographies part in this; the gonzo genre especially.

The Deadgirl herself is a fine creation. She’s the scariest thing I’ve seen in a horror movie all year, even topping the knife-happy aspiration from Pascal Laugier’s Martyrs. Whenever the camera lingered on her face I felt discomfort, unable to stop my heart from racing as her haunting eyes filled the screen; to say that I was on edge whenever she was onscreen is an understatement – I had a full-on cold sweat going at times! She’s sure to haunt viewers, no matter how genre-hardened they think they are. The film is also shockingly brutal in places, from the common schoolyard fist fight to the sex; it’s depicted as ugly, cold and heartless. Every action leaves a scar, be it from a punch or from verbal interaction, violence surrounds them and danger can be found everywhere.

Where the film falls down though, is in its pacing. As remarkable as the film is, its middle section can get a little tiresome; too much time is spent on the degradation of the woman before the consequences start to make them-selves apparent. There is also a undercooked subplot between Ricky and the girl of his dreams, Joann, which is left not fully developed, perhaps more runtime should have been spent on this rather than watching men rub themselves over the naked woman. But these really are the only flaws I found with the movie, everything from the photography and the acting to the tension and atmosphere were marvellously executed; it certainly left me shook and has become one of my gems of 2009. Highly recommended for fans of confrontational material.

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