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Michael Hoffman Jr., Aaron T. Wells
Linnea Quigley, Beetlejuice, Jerry Lawler, Ron Jeremy, Sal the Stockbroker, Katie Peteron, Krystyna Ahlers, Tony Batman
Writing Credits:
Ryan Dee (story), Michael Hoffman Jr (and story), Meghan Jones

Just When You Thought It Was Safe To Go Topless ...

Six beautiful high school friends reunite for spring break during their freshman year of college, only to find that a sadistic killer wielding a medieval axe has targeted them to be his victims.

Box Office:
$500 thousand.

Rated NR

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1/16X9
English Dolby Digital 5.1
English Dolby Surround 2.0
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 104 min.
Price: $19.98
Release Date: 7/17/2012

• Audio Commentary with Director/Editor Michael A. Hoffman, Producer Ryan Dee, Writer Meghan Jones and Composer Ryan Copt
• Behind the Scenes Featurette
• Five Featurettes
• Five Music Videos
• Seven Deleted/Extended Scenes
• Previews


Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


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Girls Gone Dead (2012)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (July 9, 2012)

Horror comes to spring break via 2012’s Girls Gone Dead. College student Rebecca Foster (Katie Peterson) plans to go away for a brief trip with her old high school cheerleading friends. She comes from a very religious home, and though she’s not nearly as devout as her mother (Julie Kendall), she has nightmares about evil church rituals.

Despite her mom’s attempts to set up Rebecca with goodie-goodie Todd (Vincent Chimato), Rebecca still heads off to Manatee Creek with her friend Mandy Rhodes (Brandy Whitford) and a weekend of partying with four other old pals. They wind up at a bar, where they meet some guys who plan to work for “Crazy Girls Unlimited” – and they encounter death, as a mystery man in a robe stalks and brutally slays various folks.

With a title like Girls Gone Dead - and the Jaws 2 referential tagline “just when you thought it was safe to go topless” – you probably won’t expect a particularly serious horror flick here. Indeed, Dead walks a thin line between scarefest and comedy, though it strongly leans in the direction of humor. The movie embraces genre conventions and attempts to mock them.

Films like that can satisfy. Of course, Scream is the king of that concept, as it provided a film that worked as horror and self-aware comedy. In recent years, we’ve found enjoyable dual-nature efforts like 2006’s Hatchet, a flick that manages to fit both categories pretty well.

In the DVD commentary, the filmmakers allude to Scary Movie as the type of flick they attempt, but I think Hatchet works as a better template. Scary Movie provides a much more obvious spoof – and a somewhat odd one, as it mainly parodies Scream, which already made fun of the genre.

Dead really does remind me a lot of Hatchet, as both offer low-budget riffs on the 80s flicks with graphic violence and nudity. Scream works more for a general audience, as it lacks the over the top grossness found in these two.

While I liked Hatchet, I can’t say I find much fun in Dead. Put simply, it’s not scary enough for horror and it’s not funny enough for comedy. Too much of the movie lacks much motivation; we mostly see the girls as they go about their time and this doesn’t tend to build to anything. The characters are intentional clichés but not interesting ones.

And that’s probably the movie’s main problem: it takes a variety of genre conventions and fails to do much to exploit them. The filmmakers seem to think that it’s enough to simply make these references, but they can’t flesh out the material. The characters and comedy fall flat, as neither manages to do anything fun along the way.

So that makes this a slow – and padded – 104 minutes. Actually, the movie ends at about 93 minutes, but it delivers an insanely long credit sequence to add to the running time. I don’t know why this occurs. Sure, we get some outtakes and the like during the end credits, but those are fairly brief and not a big factor.

When a movie comes with really long end titles, it’s either because the film has 70 billion technical credits – such as for effects-heavy flicks – or because the film’s super-short and needs the text to extend it to feature length. (See Master of Disguise, a picture that needs 10 minutes of credits just to get up to a total running time of 80 minutes!)

Neither occurs here: Dead doesn’t have a long roster of technicians, and even without the credits, it’s already a genre-appropriate 93 minutes. So why such long end titles? I have no idea, but they just add to my feeling that this is a movie that ambles on its way and doesn’t know where to go. It comes filled with so many semi-pointless sequences that the endless end credits just feel like more of the same.

Dead does offer an attractive cast, and you’ll find plenty of the expected nudity, though in that regard, the film peaks early; the opening “church sacrifice” nightmare offers easily the best skin on display. Fans of explicit gore will probably get a kick from the various kill sequences; ala Hatchet, they leave nothing to the imagination.

All of that’s well and good, but Dead remains a concept without satisfying execution. The horror narrative is cheesy and predictable; that may’ve been intentional, but it’s still not enjoyable. The comedy doesn’t do much to amuse and the whole thing feels far too scattered to work.

The DVD Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B-/ Bonus B+

Girls Gone Dead appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Given the restrictions of SD-DVD, the film looked pretty good.

For the most part, sharpness looked nice. At times, wider shots tended to be a little soft, but those examples weren’t intrusive. Much of the film appeared pretty accurate and concise. No concerns with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and edge enhancement remained minor. Source flaws also failed to create problems.

In terms of colors, Girls tended to stay with a natural palette. Hues took on a light golden tone at times, but that stylistic choice didn’t overwhelm. Instead, the colors appeared pretty clear and concise. Blacks were deep and firm, while shadows showed good delineation. Overall, this was a pleasing presentation.

I thought that the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Girls seemed fine but it didn’t excel because of a lack of ambition. Like many horror movies, it mostly went with creepy atmosphere. A few action/scare sequences brought the track to life in a more active manner, but these were infrequent. Instead, the mix usually focused on general environment, and that side of things worked well. The audio used the speakers in a natural manner that created a decent soundscape.

Audio quality was positive. Music showed nice range and clarity, while effects offered good accuracy and punch. The smattering of loud scenes showed solid definition, and they lacked distortion. Speech was also concise and natural. Nothing here dazzled, but it achieved its modest goals.

The DVD comes with a pretty broad roster of extras. We launch with an audio commentary from co-director/editor Michael A. Hoffman, producer Ryan Dee, writer Meghan Jones and composer Ryan Copt. All four sit together for this running, screen-specific look at story/script/character issues, cast and performances, sets and locations, props, costumes, and visual design, camerawork and audio, music, budgetary concerns, editing, stunts and action, and other areas.

In other words, the commentary pretty much touches on every aspect of the filmmaking process. While Hoffman dominates the discussion, he doesn’t do so in an overwhelming manner; the others get the chance to offer lots of info as well. The track moves quickly and delivers a thoroughly terrific take on the creation of the movie; it leaves virtually no stone left unturned and ends up as a very strong commentary.

Five featurettes appear. Taken together, these run a total of 53 minutes, 12 seconds and include notes from Hoffman, Dee, Jones, Copt, co-producer/co-director Aaron T. Wells, 1st AD/associate producer Jared Kaufman, stunt coordinator Christopher Hadley, special makeup effects Markus Koch, and actors David Ausem, Vincent Chimato, Caley Hayes, Ryan Keely, Krystyna Ahlers, Jerry Lawler, Bruster Sampson, Jason Kesser, Gregg Goldsbury, Katie Peterson, Beetlejuice, John McGlothlin, Shawn C. Phillips, and Nicko McBrain.

We learn about the project’s roots and development, script/story/characters/influences, cast and performances, camerawork and technical elements, locations and weather, effects, gore, and stunts, music and audio, editing, the premiere and some bits and pieces. Much of the information repeats from the commentary; given its depth, that’s inevitable. Still, it’s good to get different perspectives and footage from the set, so the featurettes add value.

After this we locate five music videos. To my pleasant surprise, these all might involve songs used in the movie, but only “Hammersmash” – a semi-spoof of “Can’t Touch This” – involves film clips. The others are all “real videos”, and many are pretty good.

Seven Deleted/Extended Scenes occupy a total of nine minutes, two seconds. Extensions tend to rule the day here, as most of the sequences add to existing segments. None of the pieces – whether deleted or extended – do much more than just contribute unnecessary exposition.

Under Crazy Girls Unlimited Spots, we find a two-minute, 22-second compilation. These show us three of the ads created for the movie. We already see these pretty well in the final film, so they don’t contribute much here.

A Blooper Reel goes for four minutes, 36 seconds. Expect the usual goofs and giggles here, though we also get a few alternate lines. Throw in some nudity and the compilation is more interesting than most.

Two Interviews complete the DVD. We find one for Jerry “The King” Lawler (4:20) and another with Iron Maiden’s Nicko McBrain (4:03). They discuss their involvement in the movie and other aspects of their careers. Neither interview seems scintillating, but both offer some interesting notes.

The disc opens with ads for Devil Seed and Juan of the Dead. No trailer for Girls Gone Dead pops up here.

There’s too much appealing T&A on display in Girls Gone Dead for me to totally pan it, but unfortunately, that’s about all this unsatisfying horror spoof has to offer. Neither funny nor scary, the movie lacks much to make it interesting. The DVD provides good picture and audio along with a pretty solid set of supplements highlighted by a simply terrific commentary. While this becomes a good home video release, the movie itself is a bit of a snoozer.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.6 Stars Number of Votes: 10
0 3:
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