Who's in It:
Toni Collette, Giovanni Ribisi, Piper Laurie, Brittany Murphy, Mary Steenburgen, Josh Brolin, James Franco, Nick Searcy, Rose Byrne, Marcia Gay Harden, Mary Beth Hurt, Kerry Washington
The Basics: No, the title's not a metaphor. There's an actual dead girl Murphy, all covered in blood and crud and you get to see all the stories about folks around her and how she got to be that way. It doesn't add up to a lot. Except her being dead, of course.
What's the Deal? I know that Murphy probably makes most of her money from stuff like Uptown Girls, but I always like her better when she's being a junkie or a suicide case or white trash or a skid-row hooker in little movies like this. She's one of the few young actors who can pull off that sort of scumminess and not seem fake.
Things Not to Say on a First Date: After finding the dead girl of the title and going out on the town with Ribisi, Collette's character listens as he talks about how cool it would be to take a freshly murdered person and peel the top layer of material off their eyeballs and then develop it like film into a picture of the last thing they ever saw. So, yeah, definite boyfriend material. But not the murderer. And that's not a spoiler. You never meet the real murderer right off the bat. Everyone knows that.
Who Else Is Good: Hurt as the miserable shrieking wife of a guy who can't stand her. The script condescends to most of the down-and-out characters, but she's good enough to rise above it.
Bottom Line: A small, kind of forgettable indie bummer trotted out during awards season in the hopes of getting a couple of acting nominations here and there.