I knew what the basic concept of Dead Girl is even before watching it in Horror Film class because of a friend who told me about this movie a few months ago. Needless to say, I should have been prepared in watching the movie, but my senses and logical reasoning failed me. There was a point in the movie, where I said to myself that I do not want to finish it because I couldn’t handle the whole thing. No matter how many times I said that to myself, I still kept on looking, peeking through the holes formed when I covered my eyes with my hands. There was a magnetic force that pulled me closer to keep on watching Dead Girl.
Perhaps, what really appalled me was how women were objectified. I had a question in mind that haunted me during and after the movie: What made her turn into a monster?
Given that movies are usually imitations of reality, Dead Girl imitates the reality that there are societies where women are treated as others, or as mere objects. Analyzing the title of the movie, “Dead Girl” can mean, the death of women in a certain society. Women are losing their humanities because they are treated not as humans, but as sex slaves and toys. The whole theme of the movie can be connected with Robin Wood’s “The American Nightmare”, where he said that “The dominant images of women in our culture are entirely male created and male controlled. Woman’s autonomy and independence are denied; on to women men project their own innate, repressed femininity in order to disown it as inferior”.
The monster in the movie is the perfect depiction or metaphor of how men treat women. In the eyes of man, a woman is seen as a mutant that can heal herself even if she is being abused by harsh words, physical abuse, and sexual violence. Despite all of the violence and exploitation, the man (as the master), assumes and expects that the mutant/slave would pleasure and serve him in whatever way he wants her to do. He expects that she would be submissive and passive with whatever the he commands her to do. This is similar to how the dead girl was shown in the movie. She can heal, no matter what is done to her, even if she was strangled, shot, or punched.
The sad thing is that, it is only in these kinds of movies that women actually have the power to fight back. In reality, this violent patriarchal reality can be much worse than fiction. When we watch the television or read the newspaper, we can see even more troubling and disturbing facts of how men treat women.
Despite this sad fact, we can also view something positive from this; this ability to fight back of women in movies can be a form of their redemption. The fact that the Dead Girl can bite a person’s head off shows that she can fight for herself, and she did in the end. Perhaps, the whole point of the movie was to show that, there is hope in reality that things would get better. There is hope that, these ‘mutants’ or ‘monsters’ would get their humanity back.