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The Dead Girl

77 customer reviews

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(May 15, 2007)
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Product Description

The life of a lonesome caretaker (Toni Collette) is turned upside down when she stumbles upon the body of a murdered girl. This discovery may provide closure for a forensics graduate student (Rose Byrne) whose sister went missing when she was a child. A housewife (Mary Beth Hurt) Makes a disturbing connection between the body and her own husband (Nick Searcy) which leads her to take dark and decisive action. A mother (Marcia Gay Harden) desperately searches for answers about her runaway daughter s life and finds answers in one of her troubled young friend (Kerry Washington). A volatile young woman (Brittany Murphy) goes on an odyssey to get a birthday present to her little girl. Together, these stories paint a devastating portrait of seven women whose lives are linked by a single act of violence and a desire for change.

Director Karen Moncrieff has created short vignettes to show how one murder can affect a plethora of people both related and unrelated to the victim, in her chilling feature, The Dead Girl. The film unfolds with quiet repose, like a series of photographs, as the viewer learns from various points of view how Krista (Brittany Murphy) was murdered, and by whom. Opening with the most disparately related segments, the viewer meets Arden (Toni Colette), slave to her abusive mother (Piper Laurie). Arden, full of hatred that manifests as self-mutilation, is equally scarred by her discovery of Krista's body. Next, we witness Krista's grad-student sister, who, with her knowledge of forensics, combs cadavers for physical clues to find her missing sister's body. The second half of the film is more affecting, with better pacing and more pointed plot, since one sees the motivations behind the serial killer's crime, and later, Krista's mother's devotion to solving the mystery. As the victim's mother meets Krista's old friend, Ashley, and discovers the she left a daughter behind as legacy, there is a sense of rebirth that feels satisfyingly redemptive. The Dead Girl's cinematography reinforces the pervading melancholy so completely that the film itself begins to symbolically represent Krista's dead body. --Trinie Dalton

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Product Details

  • Actors: Toni Collette, Piper Laurie, Brittany Murphy, Rose Byrne, Nick Searcy
  • Directors: Karen Moncrieff
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Alchemy / Millennium
  • DVD Release Date: May 15, 2007
  • Run Time: 83 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (77 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000MTFFO0
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #18,224 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Dead Girl" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

79 of 86 people found the following review helpful By MattW on April 19, 2007
Format: DVD
An amazing all star cast show off serious acting chops in a dark drama/thriller told in segments and concentrating on different points of view and experiences revolving around the death of a young woman. Harrowing, moving, and suspenseful, the films draws a sudden and suprising conclusion that is both realistic and shocking. A great character piece that paints complicated portraits of its character both both good, bad, and neurotic. I would describe the film as being very dark but told with such conviction and lack of heavy handiness that it's also very entertaining. Toni Collete as always gives an incredible performance alongside quasi walking legend Piper Laurie, Mary Steenburgen, Giovanni Ribisi, Kerry Washington, and many others including stand out performances by an amazing Mary Beth Hurt and a right on target Brittany Murphy (nobody does almost-insane and/or drugged out better than her). A good film elevated by an amazing cast and inspired performances.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By B. Merritt VINE VOICE on August 3, 2007
Format: DVD
Several seemingly unrelated individual vignettes culminate to form THE DEAD GIRL, including a piece on the victim herself.

The first story surrounds the mundane and abusive life of Arden (Toni Collette, Little Miss Sunshine). Mrs. Collette gives a stunningly fine dramatic performance, moving fully away from her recent comedic roles. She is the discoverer of the dead girl's body, but she doesn't report it right away. Found not far from her shabby home where she lives with her scornful mother, Arden takes a few mementoes away from the dead girl's final resting place before notifying the police. Her mother is livid about Arden's find and just wished that she'd left the dead girl alone without telling anyone about her. There is an unseen tie between Arden and her mother (played by Piper Laurie), but the death of an infant (probably Arden's) is quickly surmised. This "other death" eats at Arden and her mother's relationship, feeding guilt to one and anger to the other. Arden's celebrity status ("That's the one who found the dead girl") also peaks the love interest of Rudy (Giovanni Ribisi, 10th and Wolf), a town local who soon learns how mentally damaged Arden really is.

The effect of the dead girl is then transferred to the medical examiner's office where we meet Leah (Rose Byrne, 28 Weeks Later). Leah (an M.E. herself), along with her mother and father, have yet to come to grips with the disappearance of Leah's sister some 15 years earlier.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By David S. Jenkins on June 23, 2007
Format: DVD
Absolutely the most remarkable piece of cinema I've seen all year, and one of those rare gems that gives us reason for hope - there actually are brilliant directors and cinematographers out there even though they toil in the fields of low pay and unrecognition. As other reviewers have mentioned it seems unbelievable that I'd never heard a word about this film... but of course I know much more than I need to know about Spiderman 12 and Pirates of the Caribbean 9, all of it drilled into my skull every hour of every day for weeks.

There's not a note of music, a sound, a line, an expression or a bit of body language in this deeply moving film that doesn't ring true. Welcome to the real Los Angeles.

Karen Moncrieff deserved or deserves an Oscar for Best Director, and I doubt there's any film that can match this one for such unfailing brilliant performances by an obviously dedicated cast.

If you're serious about films, don't miss The Dead Girl. It's a hard one to shake off.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 17, 2007
Format: DVD
Karen Moncrief has written and directed this terrifying, searching, agonizing, and exceptionally fine story of the responses of five different people to the discovery of a dead girl. By dividing her story into chapters named after The Stranger, The Daughter, The Mother, The Wife, The Sister, and The Dead Girl she offers us fully realized characters, each of whom is affected by the opening discovery of a mutilated young dead girl's body. The technique of non-linear film is not new, but Moncrief raises it to a new, powerful level, a fact that makes this film one of the more sophisticated and successful of the past few years.

Arden (Toni Collette) is a homely frail girl who accidentally discovers the dead girl, taking a necklace from the corpse before reporting the discovery to the police. She is a caretaker for an invalid, foul-mouthed cruel mother (Piper Laurie) who berates Arden for being so ugly and for involving them in a murder case. Arden flees, meets The Stranger Rudy (Giovanni Ribisi), a tattooed, scary appearing guy who is attracted to Arden because she appears so innocent. He courts her with tales of serial killer manners and yet eventually gains Arden's fractured self-perception trust with physical contact. The next chapter introduces Leah (Rose Byrne) who works with Derek (James Franco) in the mortuary where the dead girl's body has been deposited for autopsy. Leah discovers markings on the dead girl that convince her this is the sister who has been missing for 15 years, a fact that her parents (Mary Steenburgen and Bruce Davison) refuse to accept. Leah's tenuous hold on reality is altered by Derek's consolation and physical attention.
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