I first heard of this movie during my zombie movie phase around 2 years ago. Critics and reviewers seemed divided on it, some said it was utterly disgusting, others said it was rich, a good movie, essentially. I find that it is both.
Deadgirl is a disturbing film; I doubt anyone will argue against that. But I don’t think it was the blood, gore, violence, or the sex (itself) that bothered people the most, but how Deadgirl is treated. While Deadgirl is but an empty shell of who she was before, she was still, one way or another a human. Yet, JT even in his initial fascination upon her discovery, never really thinks of her that way. He soon makes her his sex toy, unleashing all his repressed sexual energy on her. She shows her off to Wheeler and seeks to replace once she gets too disgusting. The movie is blatant about Deadgirl’s absolute objectification.
The objectification was not limited to Deadgirl (who never even gets a proper human name) or the objectifying to JT. Joann is also objectified when JT and Wheeler try to replace her, and when Johnny and Rickie fight over her and want her for her sexual services. Rickie might never act upon it, but in his head he also wants to use Deadgirl for sex. I find that he might act self-righteous about not playing with her like the other guys, I don’t think he is really that much better than any of the other guys. This became apparent in the last part of the film when he takes advantage of Joann being bitten and making her his replacement Deadgirl, instead of doing the honorable thing anyone would do for a fellow human, and giving her back to society, telling her family that she is dead, letting her have a funeral, putting her to rest.
Finally, one of the most disturbing parts of Deadgirl is that Rickie, JT, and Wheeler are all average guys. Rapists, kidnappers, and others who are reported to have performed heinous things against women are depicted as mentally ill, sick, or having some sort of traumatic past, but, in fact, most of the men who these things are normal guys. It might be disturbing to think about for guys, and downright scary for girls, that every man could do the things the characters in the movie did. And they do.
The things like what happen to Deadgirl happen everyday. Female objectification is no joke. It is like a springboard for violence against women because when you can view someone as an object, you can do anything to them. Women are raped, forced into sexual slavery, and mutilated all over the world. I find that the things done to Deadgirl are probably even mild compared to reality, at least Deadgirl is at least on some level, dead, and doesn’t have to deal with the psychological and emotional trauma involved. And while most people don’t go and act out to the same extremes, we all objectify the women around us, and watching Deadgirl made me feel every bit worse about it. It would be nice if we could just set women free like Deadgirl at the end, but as this is the real world (and ingrained into our culture and thinking), so it’s not so easy.