Saturday, November 4, 2023

DEAD GIRL (2008) (Unearthed Films 15th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray Review)

DEAD GIRL (2008) 
15th Anniversary Edition

Label: Unearthed Films
Region Code: Unrated 
Rating: Unrated 
Duration: 101 Minutes 36 Seconds 
Audio: English DTS-HD MA 5.1, PCM 2.0  with Optional English Subtitles
Video: 1080p HD Widescreen (2.35:1) 
Director: Gadi Harel, Marcel Sarmiento
Cast: Shiloh Fernandez, Noah Segan, Candice Accola, Michael Bowen, Jenny Spain

In Deadgirl (2008) highschool misfits Rickie (Shiloh Fernandez, Evil Dead) and JT (Noah Segan, Cabin Fever 2) cut class one day to explore the creepy, long abandoned psychiatric center outside of town. They get drunk and start to vandalize and smash the place up a bit, eventually making their way to the basement boiler room. There they pry open a long rusted shut door to a room where they discover quite a shocking sight - a naked woman (Jenny Spain) chained to a gurney and covered in plastic, and she's not quite dead, but not alive either. How did she get there, who put her there, and how long has she been there? These questions all remain mysteries, but the film is more concerned with what these two errant teens might do with her. JT is more of the "well, we could fuck her" mindset, almost immediately, while the more morally centered Rickie wants to report it to the authorities. Disagreeing over what to do Rickie initially leaves JT there alone to do whatever it is he's gonna do, though he is eventual convinced by Rickie to return, to keep it a secret, pulling him down a dark path. 

One of the problems is that JT does not keep it a secret, things start to get out of hand when he starts inviting other dudes from school; Wheeler (Eric Podnar, 68 Kill), Johnny (Andrew DiPalma as Johnny), and Dwyer (Nolan Gerard Funk, Riddickto join in on the raping of his newly found undead sex-slave. Meanwhile Rickie is crushing hard on Johnny's girlfriend Joanie (Candice Accola, Juno) who tragically also get pulled into the deadgirl fiasco with not totally unexpected tragic results. 

A dark and twisted coming of age tale that when I first saw it had by jaw on the floor, it's such a grotesque idea, wayward male teens find a living dead girl and decide to, what else? -  fuck her. It's just fucking gross, but also interesting fodder that just goes to show how fucked-up and misogynistic male teens can be. Fernandez's Shiloh is the more morally centered of the pair, he knows raping this undead girl is just wrong and chooses not to join in, but neither does he report it. At a certain point he sets out to free her, but that makes it even worse, especially when the teens (through scratches and ill-advised oral sex) discover that her scratches and bites from the "deadgirl" infects them with some sort of flesh-rotting virus. It just keeps getting worse and worse, until Rickie's crush gets dragged into it all, because the guys desire a fresher "deadgirl". The flick is a wicked condemnation of how shitty a group of horny guys with a head full of bad ideas can be when they get together unsupervised and left to their own devices. It's depraved, uncomfortable and generally disgusting, this is a flick that will likely turn off large swaths of viewers, it's not your typical mains stream horror, but there's more to it that just the general shock value, at least there's an attempt to go beyond the surface level disgust. I'll leave it up to the viewer to decide if they succeed. Jenny Spain as the titular "deagirl" gives a ferocious wordless performance, and Fernandez and Segan are pretty great as the wayward teens, especially Segan as the more unhinged JT whose bad idea spells trouble for everyone in his circle of friends. If you want to see something fucked-up but still engaging this is a flick does the trick, it won't be for everyone, but if you're a fan of fucked-up cinema it'll scratch that itch. 

Audio/Video: Unearthed Films celebrates the 15th anniversary of Dead Girl (2008) with a region-free Blu-ray presenting the film in 1080p HD framed in 2.35:1 widescreen. The image is strong with solid delineation of details, black levels are generally quite good, though some crush does present itself in a few scenes. This is not a colorful film that will impress you with it's vibrancy, but it is authentically dark and gritty, showcasing textures and fine detail that the previous Dark Sky Films DVD release couldn't muster; it's an appreciable upgrade in all the expected areas. 

Audio comes by way of DTS-HD MA 5.1 and LPCM 2.0 stereo with optional English subtitles. The tracks are clean and mostly well-balanced, dialogue spikes at times. It's most a front channel flick but the surrounds do export the score nicely and there is some discreet use of the surrounds to build atmosphere that I found effective, but it's not gonna blow you away. 

Unearthed offer up a solid slate of extras to celebrate the film's 15th anniversary, we get over 90-minutes of New Interviews with Co-Director Gadi Harel, Writer Trent Haaga, Actor Noah Segan, Actor Shiloh Fernandez, and Special Makeup Effects Artist & Designer Jim Ojala. There are also new Behind The Scenes and Extended Makeup FX Galleries, and archival extras by way of an Audio Commentary with Cast & Crew, and Audio Commentary by actor Jenny Spain, the Exquisite Corpse: The Making of Deadgirl featurette, Jenny Spain's Audition, 7-min of Deleted Scenes, a Promotional Stills Gallery, plus the Theatrical TrailerThe single-disc release arrives in a clear keepcase with a Reversible Sleeve of Artwork and a Slipcover that I believe is exclusive to the first pressing. 

Special Features: 
- Audio Commentary with Cast & Crew
- Audio Commentary by actor Jenny Spain
- NEW! Interview with Co-Director Gadi Harel (14 min) 
- NEW! Interview with Writer Trent Haaga (24 min) 
- NEW! Interview with Actor Noah Segan (18 min) 
- NEW! Interview with Actor Shiloh Fernandez (9 min) 
- NEW! Interview with Special Makeup Effects Artist & Designer Jim Ojala (29 min) 
- NEW! Behind The Scenes Gallery
- NEW! Extended Makeup FX Gallery
- Exquisite Corpse: The Making of Deadgirl (7 min) 
- Jenny Spain's Audition (2 min) 
- Deleted Scenes (7 min) 
- Promotional Stills Gallery
- Theatrical Trailer (2 min) 
- Reversible Sleeve of Artwork 
- Limited Edition Slipcover 

Screenshots from the Unearthed Films Blu-ray: