Deadgirl: Pushing the Envelope

I was sort of scared to ask myself the question: Why I liked Deadgirl so much? In fact I’d say that out of all the films shown in film class Deadgirl was by far my favorite film. It was supposed to be a very disturbing film and yet people couldn’t turn their heads away from the screen, you we’re hooked.

Despite being disturbing though Deadgirl highlights several strong points about film making and horror. First thing you notice after watching Deadgirl is the characters. All characters are overly simplified and seem like comic book stereotypes. You’ve got the jocks, the stoners, the pretty girl who the male protagonist has had a crush on since childhood who has a douchebag boyfriend, you’ve got a bunch of horny teenage boys with little redeeming quality. You’ve got a wide array of characters both major and minor and all of them appear to be a 2D, what you see is what you get, type of character. There was absolutely no redeeming male character seen in the film and little redeeming female characters. Aside from that, the female characters in the film were depicted as the typical, helpless, damsels in distress that needed protecting.

It may seem like I’m going on about how the movie was flawed but I actually really liked the film. Nobody buys in to those stereotype characters anymore. In this day and age girls are plenty capable of taking care of themselves, there’s more than the typical boy next door who just can’t get the girl, there’s more to the jocks than just being dumb and jerks, there’s more to that stoner. Nobody really believes in the comic book representation of characters, not the film viewers and I think not the director or film creator themselves. Nowadays things are a lot more complicated than 2D characters, as the world gets more complicated so does the characters in film and other mainstream media. What this film does is remind us of how far we’ve gone from the stereotypes and labels, but how easily we could go back to them if we allow ourselves to do so.

Take for example the two main characters Rickie and JT. Let’s start of with JT which was the “cooler” or the rebel of the duo compared to Rickie who was the “straight” man of the two. From the very get go of the movie they’re depicted as losers and not the lovable kind. Rickie is shown to be obsessed with his childhood crush while JT just looks for sex in anyway he can get. JT is depicted as just a bad guy with absolutely no regard for the dead girl they find and very little regard for other real girls around him. JT’s only redeeming quality seems to be that he genuinely cares for his grandmother. Ricky on the other hand despite being the “straight” one seems to have even less redeeming qualities. It seems like he doesn’t care about his parents. Whines about doing the right thing but never does. Shows no care in the world to his two best friends being killed, and seems to only care about his beloved crush being killed. My case being that these boys are so girl obsessed and horny that they become horrible human beings along the way; monsters even.

From a psychoanalytic point of view we can see how these two are the biggest monsters in the movie. They acted without thinking and just followed their instincts and carnal longing that they became comic book stereotypes for doing so. Rickie and JT had desires and gave into it, in doing so they became the bigger monsters of the movie over the dead girl. The dead girl was a zombie of some sort and had no other choice but to follow her desires or instinct. Ricki and JT on the other hand were human being with free will an choice. They became exactly like all the other stereotypes that the movie had scripted for the other characters despite them being given ample on screen time and in depth story to break away from that. They became the stereotype monsters and rapist that teenage boys are often feared of being, because they acted on desire and instinct and not on the human capacity of rational decision.

There’s where the paradox of horror comes in. Despite a big chunk of this movie revolving around JT and Rickie and them objectifying, torturing, and raping women and the dead girl, we keep watching them do so. Despite it being repulsive and disgusting, we keep watching. Because it became an anomaly and as humans anomalies like a dead girl and two teenage boys raping her command our attention.

I guess that’s why I like the movie because it wasn’t afraid to push the envelope. Despite the movie clearly objectifying women………… and men……. and well everybody that was in the movie really, it did so in an entertaining and daring matter. Put simply it wasn’t afraid to be a stereotype film that objectifies women as objects to be won by men and men as sex-crazed animals unable to control their desires. In a time where being politically correct is of the utmost importance this film wasn’t afraid to push the envelope on that and in doing so it becomes a satire or a sort of a warning in a way, well at least for me it does. It reminds us to always be conscious of our decisions, cause the stereotypes are still in us and if we ignore it, they will come out and we’ll be stoned, horny, teenage boys raping a dead girl.

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