9 August 2003 | cchase
Make Sure You Rent A Comedy...For Afterward!
Some movies use gore to distinguish themselves from other horror movies in a unique way, and boy, do they ever succeed. DEAD-ALIVE, EVIL DEAD, RE-ANIMATOR. Others, rather than settle for OTT gore, try to creep you out with old-school tactics that wriggle under your skin into places that are anything but comfortable...places that you only visit in your dreams. THE OTHERS, THE SIXTH SENSE and SIGNS are those kinds of films.
And then you get those rarities...those exceptional films that are not for everyone, that manage to be both creepy and gory at the same time, in a way that's not quite easily classifiable, and so they are never considered "mainstream" by mass audiences in the multiplexes, or critics into selling sound-bites rather than writing decent reviews.
Films like TOURIST TRAP, THE FUNHOUSE, George Romero's MARTIN, ALICE, SWEET ALICE, SISTERS and SILENT SCREAM are some prime examples. To this list, we can now add MAY.
The less you know about this film going in, the more shocking the denoument is. And even those who have heard quite a bit about it, shouldn't be too quick to make assumptions. MAY goes in a direction that most films of this genre hint at, but never commit to. The result is a tale alternating between twisted tenderness and tremendous terror, like nothing you've seen in a long while. And in the true tradition of creepy/gory/blackly comic films, there's no middle of the road with this one. You will love it or absolutely hate it, but either way, you will not walk away from it unaffected. First-time writer/director McKee has seen to that, and then some.
Angela Bettis may need some serious therapy, following up her role in the CARRIE TV remake with this one. I'd be tempted to call it a pattern, since May does share a lot of similarities with Carrie White; the overprotective, overbearing mothers, the role of societal outcast set at an early age. But that's where the similarities end. Where Carrie's weapon of choice was her soon-to-be-not-so-latent telekinetic powers, May's power lies in her very deceptive talent to appear shy, docile, reclusive and weird, but supposedly "harmless." Obviously lacking in the social interaction department, she still has a quality about her that elicits our empathy and sympathy. The characters she meets in the story feel the same way and...well, you have to see what happens to belive it.
Indie faves Jeremy Sisto (SIX FEET UNDER), Anna Faris (the SCARY MOVIE series) and James Duval (A RIVER MADE TO DROWN IN) round out the principal cast. Not to mention May's first 'friend' that serves as a catalyst for the story...a doll given her by her mother, which may have you swearing off dolls for the rest of your life!
I'm not going to give away the main plot, leaving that to other reviewers and their assessments. I will say this: if your horror movies usually have to be series sequels with a number plastered in front of them, MAY might be too much imaginative derangement for you to handle. But if you're in the mood for something completely different, then rent it NOW, by all means. Just make sure you have a good, stupid comedy to take your mind off of it afterward. Trust me on this; even if it's DUDE, WHERE'S MY CAR? for the fifteenth time, TAKE IT. You'll feel...well, maybe a little better after watching this.