Gate Films presents a film written and directed by Lucky
McKee. Running time: 95 minutes. Rated R (for strong violence/gore,
some sexuality and language). Starring
Angela Bettis, Jeremy Sisto, Anna Faris, James Duval.
The following review reveals several important plot points.
While I have taken care not to reveal anything that could
hurt the experience, those wishing to see May with
no previous knowledge may want to skip this review.
year, there are one or two films released that display a new
film-maker as a major talent. In 2003, we already have two
such films. The first, Laetitia Colombani's He Loves Me,
He Loves Me Not, is one of the best movies released yet
this year. May is the second. And, while it is not
quite at the level of He Loves Me..., it is still a
great movie, and a film no horror fan should miss.
for a veteran director, May would be an impressive
accomplishment. But Lucky McKee wrote the first draft of the
script while in school, so May might well be a student
film, and it is all the more extraordinary for it. For a director
that has never worked before, he manages to pull wonderful
performances from all of his actors, and creates a bleak and
Canady (Angela Bettis) is a social outcast - her "lazy
eye" alienated her from other children during school,
and she has never recovered - who works at a local veterenary
office. She lives at home with nothing but a doll in a glass
case named Suzie. May's mother gave to doll to her for a birthday
present. May talks to the doll, and the doll talks back -
at least in May's head; it is her only true friend.
then she sees Adam (Jeremy Sisto), a horror movie fan. May
is instantly attracted to him, especially his hands. She finally
gets up the nerve to approach him, and they begin going out.
Adam doesn't mind May's strangeness - "I like
weird," he says. "I like weird a lot." Little
does he know just how weird May actually is; Adam's
idea of weird is to watch a revival of a Dario Argento horror
film, May's is an attempt to reenact Adam's student film -
in which the happy kissing of two lovers turns into an act
of ritual cannibalism.
the scared Adam dumps May, she starts a brief relationship
with Polly (Anna Faris), a free-spirited and sultry employee
at the vet's office. But when Polly casually proves that she
does not plan to be monogamous, May takes the final step over
the edge. At the beginning of the film, May observes that
too many people have wonderful parts, but no one has a perfect
whole. Now she sets out to make that whole - using the perfect
parts of people she knows.
first hour of May is without any sort of graphic horror,
and this is what makes the movie such a great achievement.
By focusing the majority of the running length on the characters,
we start to feel for all of them - even May. So once May does
start her slaughter - one of the most horrifically disturbing
sequences in recent years - we feel sorry for her, even though
her acts are awful and unforgiveable.
best horror films all have one thing in common - they never
exploit their monsters. Too many horror movies show the monsters
using their actions for their own enjoyment - only the good
ones show the monster as a tragic creature, driven to their
crimes by the actions of others. May can best be compared
to Frankenstein, with May taking turns as both the
Monster and Doctor Frankenstein.
for all of the good material, May would never work
without great performances from its leads. As May, Angela
Bettis is pitch perfect, capturing every facet of her character's
troubled personality. Both Jeremy Sisto and Anna Faris are
also excellent. Sisto plays Adam with a gait that displays
a condfidence that he doesn't know he has, and Faris proves
that she is a much more capable actress than previously displayed.
is one of the goriest and most disturbing movies I've seen
in some time. It's not disturbing in the same way as, say,
Requiem for a Dream is, but for pure blood and guts,
nothing recent comes close to the pure horrific imagery present
in May. It is certainly not a movie for some people
- perhaps not for most people - but if you are a fan
of the genre you owe it to yourself to seek May out.
2003 Matt Noller