Deadgirl directed by Marcel Sarmiento is a horror film that tackles issues deeply imbedded in society particularly about sexism. The film presents us with two boys namely, Rickie and JT that want more out of life; Rickie wanting to be with Joana, his childhood friend. On the other hand, JT just wants to be free. In the basement of an abandoned hospital, they found a girl’s body seemingly dead but upon closer inspection the girl is alive.
The switch in the colors of the film when they arrived in the basement and even the manner by which the girl was presented puts the viewers in a uneasy situation. There was a distasteful reaction from Rickie. He was filled with fright even wanting to get out and leave. Meanwhile, JT decided to take advantage of the girl when his friend was not around. JT then decided to make her their sex slave when realized that she could not die. However, Rickie refused the offer. The undead girl was treated as sex slave by JT and eventually invited Wheeler, another of friend of them to partake in his pleasure.
The turning point of the movie for Rickie was the conflict that ensued when Joana was kidnapped by his friends. In the end, he was not better than the other male characters in the film, when Joana was badly hurt in the scuffle Rickie chose to allow JT scratch her resulting to her becoming his dead girl. His obsession with Joana led Rickie to believe he could have her. He was willing to make her undead despite the her request to let her die. He wanted to follow his desires and ultimately, he got it.
When watching the movie, the characters were the main selling point of the film and not the plot. Despite it being a horror movie, it does not feel like one, rather I felt disgusted and utter repulsion. A “normal” horror film would make you feel like jumping out of your seat but Deadgirl plays into a different part of our emotion. The sheer dread the film presents to its viewers make the movie an interesting watch. Among the many layers of the movie, most significantly, it highlights the rape culture or the suppression of the other gender.
In the article wrote by Andrew Tudor “Why Horror”, he explains that what draws people into watching a film of the genre. Humans are always attracted to anomalies that may not be present out to the public otherwise they will be called weird. And through the horror narrative, the genre plays into our deep seated tendencies that can’t be manifested in contrast to what a so called normal film depicts.
In the film, there were only two main women characters namely the deadgirl and Joana. The deadgirl, as described was undead which made her viable to be slaved by the men. Despite her appearance, the men made her a sex slave because she was vulnerable and therefore could not resist their attempts at her. JT even said that in this world, they were the masters in their own world and everyone answers to them. The ending in which Rickie made Joana his deadgirl presents a problematic reality.
Given the chance, everyone succumbs to the culture in which he/she is exposed to, because despite resisting the urge of JT, he eventually relents on having his own sex slave because of his intense desire of Joana. The film tackles an issue that is suppressed in society. The rape culture and the objectification of women in society is very muted, and the film tried to raise the issue. It presents that humans are rotten to the core and they are willing to do anything to achieve their desires.
Personally, I did not like the film however, given that it tackles an important issue of society I grew to appreciate it. Horror as a genre is an avenue of issues that could not be discussed in a normal genre such as romance or horror. Usually, we avoid issues because they provide uncertainty and this movie is just that. Deadgirl affirms the tendency for people to avoid discussing societal issues such as the misogynistic message of the film. It presented us with a “hero” in Rickie but when the movie ended our hero was not different at all from the villains. For one, Rickie was not at all different from his friend JT, because he was as sick and twisted as he was. Additionally, he was not different from all the male characters in the film that were controlling. It further suppresses the other the female gender.