An indie film released in 2006 about a murdered woman and the stories of four other women as their lives come together because of her death.
The Dead Girl is split up into five parts which are shown in the following order:
- The Stranger - Arden (Toni Collette), a woman with an abusive mother finds the body in a field.
- The Sister - A coroner (Leah) who believes the body is her sister's, a girl who was abducted fifteen years before the start of the film.
- The Wife - Ruth, a housewife who rents storage units, makes a troubling discovery about her husband.
- The Mother - Melora, the mother of the dead girl, deals with the aftermath of her daughter's death.
- The Dead Girl - The story of the girl, Krista (Brittany Murphy), shortly before she is killed.
This film provides examples of the following tropes:
- Abusive Parents:
- Arden's mother, who is invalid and psychologically and verbally abuses Arden. The events of the film finally give Arden the courage to leave.
- Krista's step-father, who molested her and was the driving force behind her running away from home as a teenager.
- Berserk Button: Don't use the Lord's name in vain around Ruth.
- Bondage Is Bad: Arden asks Rudy to tie her up and rape her in an attempt to emulate what happened to the dead girl. Rudy can't do it because he thinks it's creepy and weird.
- Calling the Old Man Out: Arden does this to her mother in The Stranger.
- Destroy the Evidence: Ruth ends up destroying all the trophies her husband (Carl) kept, setting them on fire and even taking off and burning her own clothes.
- Disposable Sex Worker: Krista, although she's given an unusual amount of backstory, fits this trope to a T. She was sexually abused by her step-father, has an illegitimate child in someone else's care that she wants to connect with (but couldn't), and was just the last out of a string of prostitutes who were murdered by the same serial killer.
- Holier Than Thou: Ruth, who is very religious and goes berserk when her husband uses the lord's name in vain.
- Hooker with a Heart of Gold: Krista is portrayed as one of these. She tries to give her daughter a gift on her birthday, but just can't muster up the courage.
- Hyperlink Story
- Kick the Son of a Bitch: When Krista beats up Tony.
- Mood-Swinger: He seems cowed and apathetic for most of The Wife, but after being pushed a bit too far by Ruth, Carl shows his horrible temper.
- Mommy Issues: A rare female version of the trope with Arden.
- Never Found the Body: Leah's sister was abducted fifteen years ago, and Leah insists (to her mother!) that she was raped, murdered and dismembered and then hidden somewhere she'll never be found.
- Posthumous Character: 4/5ths of the film takes place after Krista's death.
- Promotion to Parent: In a subversion, Krista's mother gets a second chance at parenthood when she discovers that Krista had a child of her own.
- Room Full of Crazy: Ruth finds the clothes and identification of several murdered prostitutes in one of her "empty" storage units.
- Serial Killer: At the end of The Dead Girl you can see Krista getting into a truck with Ruth's husband.
- Soundtrack Dissonance: The last part of The Mother has Melora singing You Are My Sunshine to her granddaughter while she screams and cries in the bathtub.