'Deadgirl'

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Certain to generate controversy with its title alone, "Deadgirl" is an audacious, perverse shocker relying on standard-issue zombie-flick conventions to make some genuinely disturbing observations about the darker recesses of male bonding.

Los Angeles based co-directors Marcel Sarmiento and Gadi Harel are definitely up to the challenge of Trent Haaga's twisted script and for the most part maintain a smart balance between tongue-in-cheek midnight movie repulsion and something more deeply troubling.

Either way, it's contentious stuff that will benefit from the shrewd handling of a savvy genre distributor.

Shiloh Fernandez and Noah Segan are effective as a pair of loner teens who decide to cut classes one afternoon and hang out in an abandoned psychiatric hospital, where they make a horrifying discovery.

Hidden away in the building's sinister basement behind a rusted door lies the naked body of a young woman, covered by a sheet of plastic and strapped to a gurney.

It turns out she's not dead, though upon closer inspection she'd appear to be among the undead, and while the relatively righteous Fernandez is anxious to alert authorities, the shamelessly opportunistic Segan has other ideas.

What starts out as a more diabolical "River's Edge" soon veers into more exploitative terrain, and though things reach an intensely garish pitch, this unsavory adolescent fantasy gone terribly wrong proves difficult to dismiss.
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