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Decemeber 2006


by Krista Vitola


Distributor: First Look Pictures
Director: Karen Moncrieff
Screenwriter: Karen Moncrieff
Producers: Henry Winterstern, Tom Rosenberg, Gary Lucchesi
Cast: Josh Brolin, Rose Byrne, Toni Collette, Bruce Davidson, James Franco, Marcia Gay Harden, Mary Beth Hurt, Brittany Murphy, Piper Laurie, Giovanni Ribisi, Nick Searcy, Mary Steenburgen, and Kerry Washington
Rating: R (Nudity/Profanity/Sexual Situations/Gore)
Running Time: 93 Minutes




Token or Taken? It was hard to tell what was written on the gold-plated necklace worn around The Dead Girl( ’s) neck, weaved throughout the film: stolen, held, and eventually worn by the girl herself as audiences take a journey into the lives of five individuals impacted by her death. Each perspective brings the audience closer and closer to this unknown girl, what had happened on that night, and the “hurt” that looms throughout the film. Were their lives better or worse after their encounter with The Dead Girl? audiences ask themselves, in addition to the myriad of questions that surround not only the girl but about these five unrelated individuals who have a certain “hurt” of their own.

Both Brittany Murphy(Krista- The Dead Girl) and Kerry Washington (Rosetta) do a brilliant job in their portrayal of conflicted, drugged and ultimately lost girls who only have each other to hold on to. Toni Collete, who is the first actress we see on the screen, seems to amaze me with her acting every time she is chosen for a role. All members of the cast, specifically James Franco, are put to the test and audiences really get to see them act a little.

Karen Moncrieff creates an environment full of life’s tragedies and the people who either help heal or help create them. The subtle clues toward the plot of the film are specifically crafted to create an unsettling atmosphere throughout, as we piece together this girl’s story and the lives of the individuals impacted begin to dissemble before us. Moncreiff seems to be giving her audience a message that goes far beyond the events of The Dead Girl ( ’s) story. One that touches each and every being that has been influenced by another and changed, because we are all products of our environment, for good or for worse and it is within these environments that our answers are to be found.