May (2002)

Author: Josh G.
Submitted by: Josh G.   Date : 2008-04-16 14:17

Written and Directed by: Lucky McKee
Starring: Angela Bettis, Jeremy Sisto and Anna Faris

Reviewed by: Josh G.

I believe that I first heard about May in 2003. Some people were talking about it, and I just happened to overhear. “Awesome” was one of the words coming out of a girl’s mouth. I wondered. At that time, I really wasn’t as into horror films as I am now. I was just starting out, and had barely even glimpsed a peak at Dracula, Psycho, or Friday the 13th entries. This was new to me. I eventually realized that I had indeed noticed May before, strolling through the video rental stores. There was a cover idolizing a pale woman, staring directly at me. She had red lipstick, dark eyeliner, and beautiful blue eyes. The group of fans then dealt with discussions about the ending. Why was I just standing there when I should have scurried far away? “Oh well,” I thought, “I’ll probably never see it anyways.” Five years later, and May is by my bedside. The spoiler ending still imbedded in my brain, I went in attempting to block it out. When the first shot appeared, it was impossible. I was going to be thinking of it for the entire movie. So I’m going to keep my mouth shut, and do the best I can not to reveal the final moments. Here she comes, five years in the waiting...

Little May Canady (Chandler Riley Hecht) isn’t perfect. Nobody is. One of her eyes just doesn’t look right, so her mother (Merle Kennedy of Leprechaun 3 and Night of the Demons 2) forces her to wear an eye patch. Feeling like a pirate, an outsider, May finds trouble in making friends. So her mother gives her a present. It’s a doll Mrs. Canady used to have when she was little. But she warns her daughter not to let it out of her glass casing. It’s very delicate. Years later, adult May (Angela Bettis) is still having trouble making friends. Her dolly friend in the box is her best friend to the end, and she’s more shy than ever. Working at an animal hospital, the only other people she communicates with is her foreign doctor (Ken Davitan) and the strange receptionist, Polly (Anna Farris of the Scary Movie series and Lovers Lane). Then one day, she spots Adam (Jeremy Sisto), the young man with the irresistible hands. Could this be true love?

One day, May decided to follow Adam. She cannot stay away. She leans over to him as he dozes off, and rubs her face across his palms. He wakes up, startling her, and May runs away. The next day, May is cleaning her clothes at the laundromat. Adam walks up to her and the two introduce each other, with awkward silence all around. He invites her for a smoke, and as weirdly as May acts, Adam is fascinated. Their relationship grows, and Adam takes May to his place. They begin to make-out, but Adam stops her from advancing. In days to come, May shows up at Adam’s place and he shows her a short film that he made. Becoming aroused, the couple move into May’s bedroom; everything is going wonderful. Then things get very creepy. May bites Adam, and rubs his blood all over her mouth. He gets freaked out, and leaves the apartment. He has made up his mind. May is just too weird for his tastes.

Heartbroken, May’s friend Polly from work interferes, and attempts to cheer her up. She gives May a furry grey cat. One thing leads to another, and the two women share a kiss; Polly’s a lesbian. With her heart still on Adam, May walks up to his house to go out. What she overhears is not pretty. Adam’s roommate and new girlfriend are talking about nutty ole May like she’s crazy. Crying, May then seeks the love of her friend Polly, whom she says has a beautiful neck. It becomes apparent after a few more visits that Polly isn’t as serious about a relationship as May is. Ambrosia (Nichole Hiltz) is Polly’s new play thing, and May cannot overcome her jealousy. May’s ideal love is not perfect. As she has been told in the past, no one is. Only parts of them are. If only dear May could have the parts she desires, and throw out the parts she despises. Perhaps her sewing skills don’t have to be limited to animals. It’s time for a new best friend, and if you can’t find one, make one!

Character studies are always fun to watch for characterization. In May, our title character is insane, unstable, misunderstood, shy, sympathetic, and painfully awkward to watch. Seeing May trying to stumble through a normal conversation is like watching somebody who can’t sing in tune go on and on, not realising they’re failing miserably. The difference is, May know she’s odd, and unlike the musically challenged wannabees on the television, the pain of watching May feels good and exciting. The acting is fair from most, and Polly is delightful as the equally looney secretary at the animal hospital. “We’ll hang out and eat some melons or something,” she says. Polly is turned on by cutting, and she loves a strange sense of foreplay. You’ve got to love her. The way she just stares at the people passing by, gawking. A free spirit if I ever did see one. Aside from May, Polly is the most fun to watch interact with others.

Fairly gory, May is not over-the-top with oozing grue. Chopped up body parts and a brighter colored red blood than what modern horrors are used, this motion picture is polished and dirty. It starts to become more of a slasher film near the end, and that’s perfectly fine. In most horror films, there is usually a scene or entire section that feels as if it ought to have been left out or executed better. Not in May. It’s a clean slide to the finish with no mess-ups or terrible writing. The score switches from an xylophone dab, to a strings and classy tone. May is not the monster that the audience is hoping to see. Sure, she does some nasty things as the time runs out, such as stabbing and throat slices, but she means well. She ‘sees herself’ in the park at lunchtime. A group of day care kids, all blind, affect May’s heart, and she can’t help but volunteer herself to make a connection. Petey (Rachel David), a young snotty blind child, acts inexcusably rude, but May doesn’t mind.

Another glorious piece of character interaction is the relationship between May and her doll. The best part about this is that, you don’t know they are developing in your mind, until something drastic happens that makes you go, “Oh no! That can’t happen! Somebody help before it’s too late!” The beginning is a great lead into the characters, the body involves the main conflicts, and the conclusion is body count havoc. It’s original, and the idea of having a psychopath make a friend is brilliant. I don’t want to give away the ending, but I will say that it involves a little bit of every major and supporting character developed thus far. She’s creepy and she’s part of a Lions Gate DVD release. Parts made me sad, parts made me blush, and the appearance of Blank (James Duval), the freak with the wild gelled up hair, made me laugh to near death. It also has some Italian worship! In Adam's room, his walls are covered in director Dario Argento's work, including a black and white profile picture of him, and an Opera poster with real blades beneath the eyes. This flick moves you like any good terror flick should. It’s funny when it needs to be, bizarre when it’s suitable, and horrific at the exact time you’re craving it. I’m surprised to say this, but May may just be one of the best horror films of the 2000s. Make friends with the quirky loner instantly. Essential!

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