Tuesday, July 21, 2009

More Salon

Salon's Andrew O'Hehir just filed a new piece that seems to be mostly about the aura of Deadgirl, but also manages to make a few nice observations about the movie, too. (Sorry, it's going to be a long excerpt, but it's worth it)

"Deadgirl is a much better-crafted and subtler film than it sounds like... Its horrifying ideas and images -- I should make clear that very little of the violence is actually shown on screen -- serve as a symbolic lure, meant to draw you into a dark, compelling tale of teenage male bonding and high-school class warfare. Its two protagonists, weak-willed pretty boy Rickie (Shiloh Fernandez) and dead-end greaseball JT (Noah Segan), are classic teen outsiders, tormented by the jocks and staring at a long future of low-paying service jobs, alcoholism and chronic disappointment. If you consider the story as psychoanalytic drama, the dead girl not only isn't human, she isn't real at all -- she's nothing more than the fantasy projection of their masturbatory and perhaps homoerotic desire.

The writing-directing team of Marcel Sarmiento and Gadi Harel capture the sublimated violence of JT and Rickie's banter in unusually convincing detail; in fact, the movie's best scenes have nothing to do with the slowly decaying undead chick in the basement. (Although the violence quotient is relatively low, the squirm-inducing makeup effects are highly effective.) Try as you may to squeeze "Deadgirl" into some pseudo-feminist frame, it doesn't quite fit. This is a movie about youthful male alienation -- that venerable American-cinema topic -- and its tragicomic consequences."

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