By Zachary Riskin
Dead Girl is a horror film that left me sick to my stomach. It did not give me the feeling of fatalism and horror that I have come to expect from horror films, but it simply left me with a feeling of revolt and a catalog of disgusted retches, disapproving headshakes, and disbelieving “ughs.”
The movie starts out with everything in equilibrium. The two male leads just seem to be sexually repressed, mildly idiotic, and confused people – in other words, your stereotypical highschooler. If I walked in during the opening scenes, not knowing that I was actually in a horror film class, I would never have expected what the movie actually had in store for me. These moments of false security, of initial equilibrium, I both love and hate. I love them because it is the calm before the storm, and I know that for at least a few minutes, I do not have to cover my eyes yet. I can just sit back and enjoy the story begin to form. However, I also hate these initial moments of peace because I know that they can change all too quickly with a snarling face out of nowhere or a zombie crashing through the bush. In Dead Girl, I knew that the typical high school story was coming to an end when the two leads decided to drink in abandoned mental hospital because “it was hot.” Apparently there is no other shady place in the entire town where they could have downed a beer or three. I braced myself for the equilibrium to be broken.
I could summarize most of what follows in a single sentence: a zombie-like dead girl is tied down and gets necro-raped about two million seven hundred twenty five thousand and fifty-two times by various horny teenage boys. Obviously, the discovery of the dead girl was the official start of dis-equilibrium, which lasted for most of the movie until she eventually escaped after biting her rapists (let’s not talk about where they were bitten). This dis-equilibrium was not horrifying at all for me. I never closed my eyes. Instead, I was just in a perpetually alternating state of eye rolling and vomiting in my mouth with the occasional explanation to my female seatmate that men aren’t all secret necrophilics.
The second state of equilibrium at the end of the movie wasn’t any more appealing than the dis-equilibrium stage. The main character, who is basically the voice of reason and the only good person in the whole movie (despite his apparent blindness to the simple solution of calling the police), is shown with his own dead-girl in the form of his crush. He is also shown smiling from ear-to-ear, apparently extremely pleased with his sudden turn of fortunes. I guess the original dead girl just wasn’t his type. This second state of equilibrium is obviously very different from the first one because now the world is revealed to be capable of having such abnormal forms of life and revolting people in it.
I left the movie with a relieved feeling, safe in the knowledge that I am leaving such disgusting characters behind. But then I remembered that there are actually people who would do the exact same thing as the teenagers in real life. A year or two ago I read a news report about a father keeping his daughter in his basement for decades and had around nine children with her. For a few hours after that, I was in a state of dis-equilibrium. Thanks, Dead Girl.