ucky McKee's "May" is certainly one of the best
horror movies you're liable to see, but it's also one of the worst horror movies
when it comes to repeat viewing. This isn't a movie you'll want to see again and
again. While the excellence in craftsmanship across the board is without
question, the film is simply not audience friendly, and as a result one viewing
will be more than enough for most people, myself included.
"May" stars Angela Bettis ("Carrie")
as May, a troubled young woman who struggles mightily with a desire to love and
be loved, but can't seem to overcome her instinctive urges. Unfortunately her
urges inevitably brand her "different", "weird", and "a
freak". Possible love comes in the form of mechanic and aspiring horror
filmmaker Adam (Jeremy Sisto), whose hands May finds irresistible. Another
attraction is Polly (Anna Faris), a lesbian co-worker who fancies the shy and
awkward May. But when chances at love turns sour and her hopes are dashed, young
May starts to lose it, and slowly but surely gives in to her more dangerous
For its first hour, "May" plays out as a slightly
warped take on single life, young love, and loneliness. It's "Ghost
World" with a noticeably perverse twist, as May maneuvers through the
minefield of courtship and friendship, trying to balance what is expected of her
and keeping her abnormal instincts in check all the while. This means the
casting of May must be perfect, and writer/director McKee has chosen perfectly
in Angela Bettis. The actress plays frumpy and odd as well as she does the cold
and calculating killer that eventually surfaces. Here, May seeks to make true
her mother's motto of, "If you can't find a friend, then make one."
Bettis deserves all the superlatives directed at her. She is that good.
If Bettis is the central core of the movie, Jeremy Sisto
does equally well as the studly Adam, who is strangely attracted to May but
bolts when her strangeness becomes too much. Never really the film's villain,
Adam comes across as human more than anything else. He's capable of callous
actions, but still sensitive enough to lie to May in an attempt to spare her
feelings. The other love factor is Anna Faris ("Scary
Movie"), playing a lipstick lesbian with wild aplomb. Faris is sexy in
the role, and her occasionally air headed attempts to seduce May adds to the
twisted flavor that permeates the movie.
But if the first hour plays out like a kinkier version of
"Ghost World", then the final 30 minutes is "Halloween"
with a gritty, realistic edge. In order to balance the giddy strangeness of the
first half with the bloody second, McKee sprinkles some much needed humor
throughout the film. In one funny scene, after May has realized what she must do
and sets about to get it done, May humorously measures the oblivious Polly for a
future beheading. May's own personality shifts a bit in the second half, taking
on that of a surgeon's -- clear, concise, and purposeful.
While never gratuitously bloody, "May" is still
pretty bloody when all is said and done. There are dismemberments and more than
one ill-advised use of a scalpel or two. May, who assists a vet at a clinic for
a living, knows her way around cutting instruments, a fact that proves deadly
for those who have wronged her. And a sharp scalpel in the hands of a woman who
thinks chomping down on her date's tongue with her teeth is perfectly acceptable
foreplay is a bad, bad thing indeed.
As mentioned, while I found "May" to be one of
the best horror films from both a technical and creative aspect, I would never
voluntarily watch it again. The film closes out with a particularly downbeat
ending, and there isn't enough light moments sprinkled throughout the film to
make repeat viewing bearable. I like horror movies, but "May" is more
than that. This makes the film very original, but it also makes it very hard to