I think this Deadgirl was the film that made me question humanity the most out of all the horror films that were shown to us. Even though the zombie woman falls under fiction, the motives of the men in the film were realistic. That scared me the most.
In the beginning I was pissed at both J.T. and Rickie because they seemed so careless. I did not like the fact that they decided to enter a sketchy abandoned hospital and started wrecking things. I was afraid they would wake up an evil entity that lived in the place. When they finally got to the basement part I was internally screaming at them. The place looked like a torture chamber and yet they still went inside. I could not believe it. I felt worried the moment they laid eyes on the woman “Dead girl” and saw that she was still breathing despite the plastic that was covering her whole body and the chains that bound her to the table. I was expecting them to help her because that was the normal thing to do. Even though she looked a bit messed up she still looked human, she was still breathing and she seemed to be in danger. But it took them a long time to actually do that — the worse part was that they would not even do it. Instead, they gawked at the girl for a long time and even touched her. What if that was a real human girl, I thought. The very fact that there was no sense of urgency to help the girl shocked me.
I have to admit that a part of me wanted to find out what happened to the zombie girl and find out if she really was a good person/thing so that I can somehow justify the actions of the teenagers. But as the movie progressed I realized that it did not matter whether “it” was human or not or whether he/she was human or not. The very idea of raping her disgusted me. I guess this was because she was still a living thing. Rape/abuse/torture are very sensitive topics to me. I was even more shocked when the boys, especially J.T. decided to camp and make the basement an everyday rendezvous. All that effort just to satisfy their sexual desires. Deadgirl was an upgraded blow-up doll to them. It was their escape from their sucky lives. I found it very disturbing and sad seeing Deadgirl being passed on from one boy to the other (switching positions, hurting, experimenting with her, etc.) I guess part of them wanted control Deadgirl because they cannot even control their own lives in the first place, so they resort to her.
The objectification of women in this film were emphasized not only through the Deadgirl but also through Joanne (the girl Rickie was fantasizing about) and the girls they were preying on in the gasoline station. This was probably the scariest part for me also, the boys’ male ego and their objectification on women. The gasoline station scene was terrifying because it was realistic. Abduction of people happen all over the world and the fact that their conversation was so casual was alarming. It was so natural to them. The real monsters here the men in the film, not Deadgirl. I was disappointed with the ending because I was somehow rooting for Rickie to be the hero. When he rescued Joanne from the kidnapping of his friends, professed his love to her and was rejected, he became like his friends — a monster. He kept her all to himself like how his friends did with Deadgirl. The rejection of Joanne was too much for his ego so he ironically became what he feared at the start.
Noel Carroll’s paradox of horror can also be applied in this film. We still look at something even though it is horrific because we are curious. The out of the ordinary calls for our attention. We are repelled by disgust but at the same time attracted to it.
Deadgirl is one of my favorite films in class. It reminded me of Jane Doe because both films featured helpless dead/undead women on a table. It also reminded me of a story that I read back in highschool called “A Rose for Emily,” wherein the housekeeper kept the body of his master (Emily) and would occasionally have sexual intercourse with its corpse. Deadgirl also touched on necrophilia because the girls were not human anymore/slightly dead (or were they.) I would definitely recommend this film to others because I believe the film wanted to exhibit the violence of men towards women. It is also very timely because abuse/rape happens every minute. There is an underlying meaning to this film and it is a good eye opener for everyone.
Source: Noel Carroll, “Why Horror?.” Horror, The Film Reader (Routledge, 2002).