Men as Monsters

Deadgirl by Marcel Sarmiento was a different take on zombies. Instead of featuring a zombie that was brain hungry and that was biting people (and creating more zombies), the film featured a female zombie that was quite helpless. This is not usual for usual zombie films. And another thing that I found intriguing about the film is its about a helpless zombie that the main characters decided to rape? It was, in the lightest terms, an odd plot.

Throughout the movie, you would initially encounter a gross scene and think “oh it can’t possibly get any grosser than that”, but as the movie went on, you would be surprised by what gross scenes the movie featured. By the end of the film, I felt disgusted and in need of a shower. The film was definitely not like the usual horror where you’d jump out of fear, it’s the type of horror that gives the audience a sense of repulsion and pain.

But what makes the movie a horror film is that it featured the “beast within” aspect. You would think that in a zombie film the monster would be the zombie, but for this film, the “monsters” were the main characters, JT and Wheeler. They represented repressed human desires, which is human nature’s inclination to dominance and violence. Due to these being on screen, the movie was able to sustain the attention of the audience. In the sense that, the audience is interested in what could possibly happen if humans did give in to their human desires. This, however, is just one way of looking at it. This could be the psychological reason as to why this movie is so appealing.

However, it could also be appealing because of the tension present in the film. Whenever characters would interact with the dead girl, it would put the audience in the position of “will the dead girl finally retaliate and attack them back?” There would be points in the film when I would cover my eyes because I would think that “okay this the moment that the dead girl actually bites JT’s face off.” It’s as if the film kept teasing the audience. Also another appealing aspect of the film is the use of necrophilia- a taboo subject. Because of this features in the film, it makes the film a bit interesting for those who know nothing about this subject. It makes the film feel more uneasy but it still appeals to the curiosity of the audience.

This film was a great commentary on the current patriarchy. That what’s truly scary is not really the zombie, but the capacity of what males can do. They are brought up in a certain way in our society that they are taught  that they must assert themselves as strong and and dominant. Just like the in scene where Johnny finally conceded to having sex with the dead girl. Dwyer even blatantly says “You the man, Johnny.” This just shows how sometimes, monsters are not always the unknown but monsters can come from anywhere and can be anyone.

“These boys have learned, from adults and from each other, a value system that, when presented with the case of a deadgirl, something that is far more terrible than a mere zombie attack. The monsters are the boys here. Zombies may not be real, but rape culture and boys learning it are. And that’s what makes “Deadgirl” so gosh-darn scary.” —


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