When I first saw the trailer for Girls Gone Dead, I thought it looked like the Slasher equivalent of the Piranha movies. But then I wondered: will it be a fun, titillating but harmless romp like Piranha 3D, or an offensive, sexist-bordering-on-misogynistic borefest like Piranha 3DD?
I hoped against hope for the former and . . . got something in between. It could’ve been the former with a cut scene or two, but never quite devolves to the latter—though it comes close at times.
We follow Rebecca, a young woman who struggles with moral issues; she was raised by a mom who shops at the Papal Mart, yet her best friend stores her cellphone in her cleavage. She joins her girlfriends for a house party. The moderately intelligent girls seem outnumbered by the monumentally stupid, and an overabundance of peroxide-treated hair makes some of them difficult to tell apart, but, with one exception, the girls are all surprisingly likable. The exception is Missy, an unpleasant harpy given to lame, snarky one-liners.
The girls are soon stalked by a homicidal moralist wielding a warhammer.
The acting is wooden, the camera work and direction by-the-numbers, but the script does feature a good dose of humor, both juvenile and subtle. One painfully heart-felt scene, however, proves a massive over-reach. The tone and pace are not always consistent; it’s sometimes unclear as to whether a scene/line/etc is meant to be funny or if it’s just bad, and the movie features too much poolside partying and not enough stalk-and-slash.
The kills are gory but cartoonish, with blood that looks as though it came from a hardware store, but the movie clearly doesn’t take the violence seriously, so the lack of realism is expected. Some of the girls make for capable heroines, but the ostensible Final Girl, Rebecca, is useless and relies on the one Nice Guy to lead her to safety (all other male characters are either creeps, weirdos, or batshit insane).
The movie features several “celebrity” cameos, including Jerry Lawler as the sheriff, and Linea Quigley makes an appearance that is equal parts fun and sad. We’re also subjected to pop-culture barnacles Ron Jeremy and Beetlejuice, and something called Sal the Stockbroker. All of the truly offensive scenes involve this Sal guy and his Crazy Girls Unlimited video shoot. This man is walking garbage and the thought that a guy like this could be a success is sad to the point of depressing.
Then again, it’s not quite clear whether the Crazy Girls scenes are more an indictment than a glorification of Girls Gone Wild-style entertainment; I don’t know if these people are as reprehensible in real life as they are portrayed in the movie. The one good thing is that the filmmakers seemed to know to kill off both Sal and Beetlejuice soon after their first appearance.
What’s odd is that the girls never even make it to the Crazy Girls Unlimited party, making all of those scenes completely useless and an obvious opportunity to cram a few D-list cameos and nameless breasts into the movie—the whole sequence feels tacked-on, as though some executive producer with testicles for a brain insisted upon its inclusion (shots from that sequence make-up about 75% of the movie’s trailer). Cutting the Crazy Girls scenes would not only move Girls Gone Dead away from Piranha 3DD territory and closer to Piranha 3D waters, but it would also shorten the overlong running time.
Despite the thoroughly unpleasant presence of trolls like Sal and Beetlejuice, Girls Gone Dead is mostly and surprisingly harmless fun. Is it worth seeing? If you love the Slumber Party Massacre-blend of partying girls and a Slasher, yes, you might enjoy this—but it’s still nowhere as good or fun as the first two SPMs. Otherwise, just skip it.
Length: 105 min