The Dead Girl

Movie review by
Cynthia Fuchs, Common Sense Media
The Dead Girl Movie Poster Image
Murder victim links stories of women's survival.
  • R
  • 2006
  • 93 minutes

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Kids say

age 17+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Women and girls are repeatedly placed in terrible positions by abusive, violent men and regularly make wrong decisions. Still, the movie suggests that these women want to do right but don't have the options that would let them do so.


Woman's corpse found in field (bloody close-ups of hand, mouth, buzzing flies); Arden cuts her hand (bloody); Arden threatens her mother; discussion of serial killing; morgue scenes show bodies on gurneys; woman finds grisly evidence her husband is a serial killer; Rosetta appears beaten (face broken and bruised); Krista smashes a truck with a pipe; serial killer menaces Krista.


Sex scene at beginning involves bondage (with a belt) and ends with woman's naked body (breasts and torso visible from overhead angle); two prostitutes are involved in sexual scenes (one shows oral sex performed on a man -- not quite explicit, but close); costumes are often revealing (bared midriff, cleavage, short skirts); woman burns her clothes (breasts visible); sexual slang ("blow you," "d--k," "wetting your little noodle," "sticking your thing in anything that moves," "suck off").


Profanity includes many uses of "f--k" (at least 60), plus "s--t," "hell," "ass," "damn," "asshole," and "bitch." Someone gives the finger.


Mentions of FedEx, Sears catalogue, Pop Tarts.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Conversation about anti-depressants; cigarette and marijuana smoking; Rosetta appears high and says her mother was a junkie" references to crack (paraphernalia visible).

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this dark, mature movie puts women and girls in relentlessly grim situations. The five interconnected stories all revolve around a corpse left by a serial killer in a field. By turns, the women discover the body, examine it in a morgue, learn the killer's identity, and remember the victim personally; a final segment shows how the girl met her killer. Violence is rendered as effects more than acts: bruised bodies and faces, the bloody and decaying corpse, etc. Sexual images include oral sex and many shots of bedraggled prostitutes (skimpy costumes, bruised limbs and faces). There's cigarette and pot smoking, and a crack pipe is shown. Language is incessant, with more than 60 uses of "f--k" (and plenty of other swearing).

User Reviews

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Teen, 17 years old Written byCade_24 March 29, 2017

Hard Hitting and Brilliant

"The Dead Girl" is a hard hitting and gritty drama surrounding a group of women, all in some way tied to the brutal death of a young woman. Toni Colle... Continue reading

What's the story?

Five films in one, THE DEAD GIRL is Krista (played in flashback by Brittany Murphy). In the first segment, Krista's body is found by Arden (Toni Collette), who lives with her demanding mother (Piper Laurie) and finds brief respite in the arms of serial killer aficionado/grocery bagger Rudy (Giovanni Ribisi). In "The Sister," Leah (Rose Byrne) struggles with the ongoing aftermath of having a sister who's been missing for more than 15 years. A forensics grad student, she's hoping that the corpse Arden discovered is her sibling -- knowing the end will, she imagines, help resolve her family's trauma. In "The Wife," Ruth (Mary Beth Hurt), is married to Carl (Nick Searcy), who leaves her to go "driving" at night. When a chance discovery leads her to knowledge she'd rather not have, Ruth has to make a choice, and none of her options is good. The last two segments reveal specific information about Krista and reinforce the film's point that women must help each other.

Is it any good?

THE DEAD GIRL is a bleak homage to women's survival and defeat in the face of violence and oppression. Karen Moncrieff's second feature expands on the themes of her first -- Blue Car -- investigating the ways that lack of communication among women only exacerbates their bad situations with men.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the role of mothers and daughters in this movie. What messages is it sending about women? What is it saying about the effects of broken families on daughters? Does it suggest that mothers lost in their own grief or rage abandon their children? What are the consequences of that? How does the murder affect the different women connected to the victim? Could a different event have had such powerful consequences?

Movie details

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