Review: Deadgirl (2008, Hollywoodmade)

“YOU NEVER FORGET YOUR FIRST TIME.”

>>TRAILER<<

deadgirl

Category: Psychological, Zombie
D
irected by:
Marcel Sarmiento, Gadi Heral

Written by: Trent Haaga
Starring: Shiloh Fernandez, Noah Segan, Candice Accola, Michael Bowen
Music: Joesph Bauer
Cinematography: Harris Charalambous


Deadgirl
is the third film from co-director Marcel Sarmiento, who I first discovered when I saw (and loved) his “D is for Dogfight” segment for The ABCs of Death. I don’t really know much on the other half of the directing team, Gadi Harel. The plot is original and quite odd; two outcast high school buddies, Rickie and JT, break into an abandoned mental asylum to throw back some beers and smash some shit. Upon entering a room deep in the bowels of the building they find a woman bound up who defies death. JT decides that this helpless dead woman would be the perfect sex slave, Rickie isn’t too down with that.

After reading the plot I figured this movie would have that “indie” look and feel to it, which it does with its slow pace and modern, clean yet gloomy looking production style. The movie holds a serious tone throughout although there are some brief moments of humor (albeit dark) thrown in there and somehow work without clashing with the overall feel of the film. I really dig the minimalistic soundtrack which helps purvey a depressing overtone to the film. The acting is very seamless and natural for the most part, ditching the typical cheesy depiction of the high school lexicon seen in most movies. Honestly the weakest acting comes from main man Shiloh Fernandez (Rickie), not that his acting bad per se but he plays his character with a serious lack of personality. On the other hand his co-star Noah Segan plays JT with so much charisma that it’s a delight to see him on the screen despite the fact that he’s fucking warped in the head. Gore wise there’s quite a few blood filled scenes to satisfy horror fans, yet it’s used tastefully in context with the story. Speaking of which the story is pretty fucked up, but strong and engaging with a few subplots littered in there. There’s also not too much backstory given to any aspect of the movie which is good, I hate when a film needs to explain how everything came to be. It detracts from the main conflict plus the unknown is always more terrifying. Michael Myers was way creepier as a mindless psychopath, but then we learn about his whole childhood, his family tree, his first love, his favorite color, what he named his goldfish, why he does what he does then all of a sudden he’s more human than monster, which is nowhere near as intimidating.

Deadgirl is definitely a unique movie, odd but I liked it. The writing was great, strong acting, gore, necrophilia. You know, the good stuff. The slow pace and overall artsy-indie tone might not be everyone’s cup of tea, if you saw Sarmiento’s ABC segment then you’ll have an idea of how this looks, except not in slow motion. Check this out if you like D is for Dogfight, a twisted premise, or lurid sex acts.

7/10

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Thoughts?

Review: Severance (2006, HanWay Films)

“ANOTHER BLOODY OFFICE OUTING.”

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severance1

Category: Horror-Comedy, Thriller
Directed by:
Christopher Smith

Written by: Christopher Smith, James Moran
Starring: Danny Dyer, Laura Harris, Tim McInnerny, Toby Stephens, Claudie Blakly, Andy Nyman, Babou Ceesay
Music: Christian Henson
Cinematography: Ed Wild

In a fit of boredom I decided to revisit an old favorite that I haven’t seen in years, another shining example that the U.K. is damn good at spitting out smart and entertaining horror comedies. Severence follows a group of sales reps of weapon development company Palisade Defense as they go on a team building exercise. After the road to their luxury lodge is blocked by a fallen tree and an argument between their manager Richard (Tim McInnerny) and the non-English speaking Hungarian bus driver (Sándor Boros), the crew take an apparent alternate route on foot. One of them, Steve (Danny Dryer), claims to see men in the woods but this is dismissed due to the fact that he had eaten psilocybin mushrooms beforehand. They find themselves in a seemingly long abandoned cabin and after discovering some old military files in Russian they question their whereabouts. As you can guess, their excursion goes completely awry.

Many horror comedies fall flat on their face, outweighing the horror quality with dumb humor and even dumber characters. Even some good horror comedies lack the tension needed to make if feel like a horror film. Severance finds a healthy balance, combining reserved, dry humor and suspense while avoiding horror clichés and even giving us intelligent, well scripted characters. A rare combination. Writers James Moran and Christopher Smith (the director as well) knew all the right spots to throw something silly in to lighten the mood for just enough time for a good laugh before going back to the story. The dialogue is all well written and the acting is convincing. Even though not too much backstory is given to any part of the movie (which is kind of a good thing, sometimes less is more), the characters are still rounded out enough to like them. There are quite a few good action sequences and some blood is spilt, although the film isn’t too over the top with it’s use of gore. With a film like this, more gore wouldn’t have hurt, but oh well. The camera work is well done and the overall production looks real good, they obviously had a decent budget. There are also some well shot “fantasy sequences”, e.g. when Steve is on mushrooms, characters’ dreams, and when the group tells the origin stories they heard about the location.

While no one’s reinventing the wheel here, the people behind this took a simple concept and fleshed it out real well. There’s nothing bad about this movie that I can really touch on (okay, could’ve used more gore), it’s a solid horror comedy flick. So if you’re in the mood to see some Brits get hunted down in the woods with a few laughs in between, check this flick out.

7/10

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