After being trapped in the Avernus Institute for Troubled Children until her death at 17, Phoebe now wanders the halls as a bitter ghost who refuses to accept defeat as she tries to contact her friend and love interest Sofia so they can finish their bucket list.
But even in death Phoebe isn't free of her own ghosts.
When Phoebe comes face to face with the ghost of her younger self, she allows her grief over the years lost in the institution to turn her cruel as she treats her younger self like dirt on her shoe. It’s not until she realises how twisted her memories are that she begins to treat the younger ghost with kindness.
Dead Girls Don’t Fear the Reaper blends the coming-of-age and gothic horror genres to create an offbeat, darker depiction of girlhood. This 90s/2000s mix of ghosts and glitter sits at the heart of the film. The absurd contrast between the glamour and allure of “The Teen Girl” in magazines of this era that Phoebe has seen, and her own grim reality will be played with deadpan humour to show the ridiculousness of these commercialised rites of passage and our obsessions with them.
The film has little dialogue, so a lot of this will be achieve through visuals and sound: Phoebe in a pink dress in the middle of the haunted house inspired institution complete with creaking floorboards and things that go bump in the night.
The film’s happy/sad tone is greatly inspired by Taika Waititi films that look at tragic events through a young protagonist’s lens of childish optimism and determination. Phoebe’s extreme character and situation will be shown from her delusional optimistic perspective - her reluctancy to accept she is a ghost resulting in awkward, heart-breaking humour.
The tragic myth of Orpheus and Euridice has greatly influenced Dead Girls Don’t Fear the Reaper. When Orpheus travels to the underworld to rescue his lover Eurydice after her death, Hades allows him to return to the land of the living with Eurydice on the condition that she walks behind him on the path back, and if he turns back to look at her she will be trapped in the underworld forever. There are different versions of the ending but in each one Orpheus turns back, and Eurydice is inevitably lost. This film examines this fatal flaw of looking back within the context of fixating on the past and its lost time and regrets, where our protagonist Phoebe takes on an Orpheus inspired role and her younger self is her Eurydice.
Portrait of a Lady on Fire’s reinvention of this myth has greatly inspired our story and how it will be told.
Hello I’m Alexa, the writer and director of Dead Girls Don’t Fear the Reaper. Whilst I have spent my life coming up with stories and film ideas, none have stuck with me as strongly as this one has, so I feel very honoured to be given this opportunity to create it, and I’m so excited! The versatility of ghosts and haunting has always interested me, and how you can be haunted by a person, a memory, something that never was, as well as different parts of yourself. My psychic medium Mum always made sure I was not afraid of real-life ghosts, and I strongly believe we all can make peace with our own personal ghosts within and move on. The story draws a lot from my own offbeat experience of teenage girlhood - both the troubles and the humour - and the ghostly metaphors express it all with more emotional truth than I could ever achieve with realism. This is the second film I have gotten to write and direct at Bournemouth Film School, and for the last one I was very grateful to be awarded Best First-Time Director by Europe Film Festival. I am thrilled to be working with such a talented group of people, and together we have created the blueprints of something unique and exciting that I can’t wait to make come to life onscreen for you.
I'm the producer of Dead Girls Don't Fear the Reaper.
I have been attached to Dead Girls Don't Fear the Reaper for 9 months and it has been a long journey since we started. It is very rewarding getting it to this stage that we are almost able to make the film. However, to be able to make the film we need your help!
This story poses many technical and creative challenges: working with children, having ghosts wander the halls and being on and managing many different locations. I have always enjoyed overcoming challenges such as these and this year I take on the challenge of raising the funds required to make the production happen on time and within budget, whilst fufilling the creative asperations of this film.
I have produced every film that I have been a part of since being here at Bournemouth Film School, therefore I believe that with the help of our incredible crew, I can bring the vision of this film to life. This is also my second time to be collaborating with Alexa, and it is great to be working together again.
I'm Isabella and I am co-producer dead girls don't fear the reaper with Ciara! I have produced a number of projects during my time at university and I'm excited to work with Ciara and Alexa to bring their vision to life. I hope to use my problem solving and organisational skills to guide the project and crew into creating a film we are all proud of. Coming onto the project, I was excited to delve into the gothic aesthetic that Alexa wants to bring to the screen as well as highlighting the topic of mental health and how we deal with this as we grow up. With your support I hope we can achieve this!
Dead Girls Don’t Fear the Reaper is a humorous, poignant exploration of lost time, of opportunities wasted and of events that never were. It’s a story of a childhood squandered, wrapped up in ghosts, visions and creepy teachers. My job, as director of photography on the project, is to work with Alexa and Andreea to create images which depict Phoebe’s journey into the afterlife and map her acceptance of her new self. I’m thrilled to have been given this opportunity and can’t wait to help realise the film on the big screen!
Hey there, I’m Reea - multimedia artist, writer, international superstar, and would you look at that…I also happen to be the production designer of this film. That means I am in charge of the visual concept, covering areas such as set dressing, and props. Working closely with Alexa and Harry, I’ll make sure the end result will be a gothic horror meets teen girl visual delight, inspired by films such as The Craft, Heavenly Creatures, and Lady Bird. Basically a charming bouquet of black eyeliners and plastic tiaras. But…We cannot bring this to fruition without your support. So what are you waiting for? Take out your piggy bank and smash it like you hate it, because we need all the help we can get in order to make this film happen.
I’m Rachel, Gaffer of the film, I’ve found Cinematography plays a crucial role in filmmaking especially to evoke emotion and that’s what I’d like to do. I immediately found a heart-warming relatability within the story that I’d like to represent through lighting. I’m excited to work on this film with the incredible crew to bring this story to life!
I intend to recreate moonlight and cooler tones of colours using a range of blue hues and purples in addition to shaping light with texture and utilising practical lighting as well as manipulating shadows in order to achieve this vision. With likes of, Haunting of Hill House/Bly Manor, Jennifer’s Body and Pans Labrynth as my inspirations.
Hi, I’m Elijah and I’m the sound designer for ‘Dead Girls Don’t Fear The Reaper’and I’m excited to sonically bring you into the world of the ‘Avernus Institute for Troubled Children’. The soundscape we’re building will plant you in the ears of the main protagonist Phoebe as you’ll experience the claustrophobic drone of the institute, the booming footsteps of the ever-present headteacher and the ghostly sound of what it’s like being tied to a world you are no longer alive in. This project is a wonderful opportunity to express my skills in horror sound design as the film precisely explores a coming-of-age narrative with stabs of gothic horror. We’re crafting a unique audio experience for this uniquely bitter-sweet tale. Prepare for a sound design that will haunt and entrance you.
Hello! I’m Iacovos Le Du, I’m an award-winning editor and I’m absolutely thrilled to be editing Dead Girls Don’t Fear the Reaper. The film offers a fresh new take on the ghost story narrative, delving into themes of guilt and lost time beneath layers of bittersweet humour and sparkling visual storytelling. It’ll be an absolute joy to make and for you to watch, and I can’t wait to get started on it.
Hi, I’m Daisy, and I am the 1st AD (Assistant Director) for Dead Girls Don’t fear the Reaper. The idea gripped me from the first pitch. It was simplistic but complicated enough to create an interesting challenge. It tiptoed the line between fantasy and drama, where the ghost’s meet reality in a gripping horror-like story. Every person looks forward to that moment when they turn 18, the turning point into adulthood, even though you are still far from an adult. However, in this tragic tale of a teenage girl, whose whole life was building to that moment, to escape the place she considers a prison, it is heart-breaking when it is taken away from her so suddenly. It leaves the character Phoebe trapped, like the terrified little girl that walked through the gates to the institute so many years ago.
I was drawn to this project by the genre, story, and the challenge of working with children. As I have experience teaching kids in acting and dance, I felt I could put my knowledge and skills towards this film to help make it great.
I am so excited to work on this project, there are so many different elements to bring this film together, and each one is a new challenge. For life would be boring if it was a walk in the park. Instead, I will walk the halls with ghosts.
Hey, My name is Louis and I’ll be the Camera Operator for Dead Girls, that means I’ll be interpreting and working with the Director of Photography and Director to create their vision physically on set, I can’t wait to shoot this film as it has some really technically creative ideas that I can’t wait to see and help create. Help us get this film made!
I'm Mercer, the 1st AC! Having had a brilliant experience working with this crew on a similarly supernatural tale last year, I am super excited to be back for some fantastical focus pulling adventures in the mysterious spirit world.
Hi I'm Sam and I'm going to be sparking this production. I'm really excited to be working with this crew. Being involved with two award winning shorts, I'm confident in my own ability to perform to the level required of me in collaboration with our Gaffer Rachel. Can't wait to get on set and get busy!
Hey! My names Eden and I’m your friendly neighbourhood grip!! (I don’t bite!) Fantasy films and fantastic crews are a match made in heaven so I can’t wait to make and do this film justice! I just hope you have as much fun watching it as we did making it!! P.S No dead girls will be harmed in the making of this production... Ghosts are pretty robust...
Hi, I’m Megan, the Costume Designer for Dead Girls Don’t Fear the Reaper. I’m a Third Year Costume and Performance Design Student, focusing on costume design for screen. I’ve designed a number of projects from period to post apocalyptic and have developed a love for storytelling through detailed, stylised costumes and constructing characters through the tiny, very human elements of dress, from the way someone ties their tie to the stars scribbled on the cuffs of their shirt. I feel this project has unlimited potential, from the dreary reality of Phoebe's childhood to the tempting neon and glitter of teen magazine promises, there is so much to explore and I truly can’t wait to get going and help give even more life to these already fascinating characters.
Hello, my name is Olivia and I am the head makeup artist for 'Dead Girls Don't Fear the Reaper' I am currently in my final year of study at AUB. I am really wanting to pursue a career in makeup for film and TV. I wanted to work on 'Dead Girls' from the get go as I was really interested by the brilliant storyline and the concept of teenage rites of passage and moving onto the next stage of life.
I am really excited to design and work alongside the team to bring this film to reality. What stood out to me the most was the challenge I would need to overcome of creating the ghost of her younger self, I thought this idea was really unique. I believe this will give me great experience for industry and give me the confidence I need to put myself out there for my career after graduation.
Poster and graphics designed by Ness Gagnon.
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On behalf of the entire Dead Girls Don't Fear the Reaper crew, thank you for your support and interest in our film.