“Dead Girls” (2014) – Review by Mark Krawczyk

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Dead Girls is an independent horror anthology from directors Neal Fischer and Del Lowry. There is a story of a relationship that has a deadly end; a sorority hazing gone horribly wrong; a woman hides inside a house from a madman who is chasing her; and a woman who suffered abuse as a child gets an opportunity for revenge.

Girls has a higher production value look to it than it’s 25K budget would imply. The wraparound story involving the girl being chased by a madman and the creepy house location immediately sets the mood for the film. There is a doll inside the house that is especially eerie. This wraparound does an excellent job of tying the other three shorts together. The first of those short films is called Over My Dead Body.

 

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OVER MY DEAD BODY

This short directed by Del Lowery is about the a woman’s rocky relationship with a two-timing boyfriend that comes to a unpleasant end. But Suzy doesn’t let a little thing like death stop her from getting her revenge. The camera work in this short really stood out. It opens with a well done tracking shot, which is something we do not see in many Hollywood films, much less indie films. The performance of Aubrey Joyce Tunnell is solid. In the beginning you get the impression she is the controlling and paranoid girlfriend but you soon learn how things truly are in the relationship. You feel her pain and sympathize with her situation as the story plays out. While the story does have an overall serious tone there is some humor worked in which I really enjoyed. This short is definitely strong overall and I can see why it was the first in the anthology.

 

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THETA PHI’S NEVER DIE

As the name implies, this is a story about a sorority. A sorority of very snobby, popular women who are also rather superficial. We join them as they are deciding on which pledges they are going to allow into the sorority. One of these pledges is the very mousey Avery, whose mother was a Theta Phi. After it has been decided Avery would become a Theta Phi, she is put through a hazing ritual with deadly results. Taylor, played by Madalyn Mattsey, is the alpha female of the sorority. Madalyn steals every scene she is in and reminded me of Robin Stille’s’ Babs character, the head of the sorority in the cult classic Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowlarama. Mia Doran puts in a fun Jekyll-and-Hyde type of performance in the film. Most of the humorous moments are given to Mack, played by Andrew Jacob Dhart. Mack is caught in the middle of the whole situation is the lackey to the Sorority. I really had fun with this story that took me back to those classic sorority horror films of the 80s.

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VENGENCE IS MINE

A dark tale about a woman who suffered abuse at the hands of a priest when she was younger. We see how those events have affected her in the present as she is still a victim of abuse. She soon turns to someone who does listen to her and helps her dole out her own justice to make those who hurt her pay.  This is the darkest of the films in this anthology and one that I found the most disturbing. The subject of child abuse is unnerving enough, and having a clergy member as the perpetrator takes it to another level. Kelsey Sante’s performance as Maggie gives the feeling of a damaged person who has had a rough life and is not happy with her current state. The Father Auer character played by Brian Rooney is a very convincing scumbag who you want to see something bad happen to. We get Maggie’s back story in a series of flashbacks. Unfolding the story in this manner helps keep us interested in finding out just what has happened to Maggie to explain her actions in the present. Unlike the other two shorts, there are no humorous moments in this story. There are a few moments that may make you very upset. For me, it was the scene where Maggie is trying to convince people she is being abused but no one is listening. I really felt Maggie’s frustration and just wanted to shake those who did not listen. As with the other shorts, the production design was decent and the camera work well done.

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This anthology film contains stories with themes that we have seen before. The performances by the actors as well as the direction and camera work help keep these stories fresh. I thought the very end of the anthology wrap around story may have been a bit over the top but I got what the director was going for and it did fit the theme of themovie. I recommend fans of indie horror to try and catch this film at a festival near you. Hopefully it will get distribution so that more horror fans can catch this fun anthology film that proves Hell hath no fury like a dead woman scorned.

Grade: 4 out of 5 stubs.

Dead Girls Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/deadgirlsmovie

Dead Girls Trailer: http://vimeo.com/90503907

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