STARRINGAngela Bettis - May
Jeremy Sisto - Adam
Anna Faris - Polly
Nichole Hiltz - Ambrosia
Year - 2002
Score - 3.5 Howls Outta 4
There's a reason why I'm single, people. The perfectly acceptable sane girls want to be my friends, yet they don't want to date me. So I'm stuck with the insane and needy chicks who won't let me wipe my own ass. Like the ex, who slept with a former friend of mine so she could see how I would react to her cheating on me. Or the other ex who carried a sharp nail filer with her to stab other girls, who may be flirting with me, in the eye. Or what about the ex who didn't understand what being dumped meant, as she kept calling my number and leaving me messages that either consisted of her just breathing loudly or making animal sounds as if she were in heat. Yeah, that was real pleasant. Apparently, this film called MAY has a character that's these three exes all rolled up into one person. Surprisingly, I didn't get a chance to date this crazy lady. But then again, I probably wouldn't even be writing this right now if I did.
PLOTYoung May has a horrible childhood due to her lazy eye. May's mother forces her to wear an eyepatch to school, alienating the girl for life. She has no social skills at all, and her best friend is a doll named Susie [eek]. Years pass and a grown up May (Angela Bettis) works at a veterinarian's office with wacky lesbian Polly (Anna Faris), who has a thing for her. May, however, is obsessed with a local mechanic named Adam (Jeremy Sisto) because of his hands - making him her perfect guy. The two date a bit, but May is so socially awkward that she freaks Adam away. She turns to Polly, beginning a fling between the two, but is rejected by Polly when she begins dating Ambrosia (Nichole Hiltz). May begins to realize that the people around her are not perfect, but only their certain body parts are. This causes May to be motivated in creating her own friend - by using other people's body parts.
I don't remember ever being disturbed by a film in quite some time like I was when watching MAY. This film was like David Lynch's wet dream, with its quirky and absurd characters. This is a really edgy character study of a social outcast trying to find love and be accepted in a so-called normal society, only for this character to go off the deep end when she realizes that her idea of perfection doesn't match with the world idea. May is a young woman who lived such a sheltered life, that she has no idea what the real world is. She talks to her doll as if she's a real person. She stalks a man, only because she likes his hands and wants his attention. She's fascinated with blood. She doesn't even know how to kiss or how to act around other people without looking like a fool. This woman is really sad and pathetic, and you kinda feel for her. That's until she begins to create her idea of perfection by killing others to create the perfect being. Then you're just creeped out and glad you don't know this chick.
Lucky McKee does a very good job creating such a weird little film here. We get a lot of character development between the three main characters of the film, though we still never really know them. There's so many personalities to these people that they become very interesting and complex. We already know May's deal, due to her stupid mother. But when we meet Adam, he seems like a normal guy. That's until he shows a film he directed that involves Jack and Jill eating each other's flesh, which actually turns both he and May on. And Polly is just a fucked up masochistic lesbian that she's borderline hilarious, as if you really met a person like this, you'd wouldn't take them seriously - or want anything to do with them. We also get a lot of foreshadowing, with the whole doll subplot and her obsession with body parts that would drive the last half of the film.
The last half is probably my only nitpicking with the film, as it feels really forced. The first half is so much like a psychological drama, that when we get to the slasher aspects of the second half, MAY feels like two different films. I understand that's where the film had to go to drive the point home as to how carnal and savage May's lonely childhood had made her - showing her evolution into a stronger, yet more insane, person. And I thought the murders were really well done on such a tiny budget. Hell, I even cringed at some of them. But it just seemed like a way to gross out the audience, when in reality, May was a creepy enough character that anything she did would scare you. But the murders, again, were really well shot and done. McKee created some really tense scenes there and I was extremely impressed. I didn't think gore could creep me out, but it did.
And the ending - kinda too ambiguous for me. I kinda like the loose ends tied up, even if you do have to leave something open-ended. But I really had no idea what the last five minutes of the film were supposed to mean. It's a very emotional scene, yet I was left confused as to what was happening. I'm not gonna spoil anything if you haven't watched this film, but you'll probably look at the screen and say, "What the hell?" during the ending. It wasn't exactly the payoff I was looking for and was kinda underwhelmed and disappointed at the end.
But there's so much to like and appreciate with this film. It's really rare to find such an intelligent dark horror film these days that can give you both interesting characters and decent amount of gore. I mean, in what other film can you see blind children cutting themselves on glass while they search for May's doll after shattering the glass case the doll was in? It's so disturbing, yet I couldn't stop giggling at how insane it was to watch this go down. Not many films have that effect on me. Lucky McKee, who also wrote the screenplay, did a really good job running the show.
The acting was also important in creating such an unique horror film. Angela Bettis as May is obviously the star here. She's such a great actress, especially through her body language and facial expressions. The scenes where she waits 2 hours outside of Adam's door unannounced [she stalks Adam pretty much in the entire film] with this creepy smile on her face gave me chills. We get a sense of her awkwardness and curiosity to social norms that are very foreign to her. Bettis does a fine job making us feel sorry for May at the beginning and really becoming disturbed with the girl towards the end. Bettis is a revelation here and she carries this film without a pain in the world. I actually was creeped out by May and hoped never to meet her in my life. When you begin seeing the actor as the character and not the actor still, you know the actor's done a great job.
The other two leads were good too. Jeremy Sisto was probably the most "normal" person as Adam. He portrayed a more stable performance than the other actors, creating a real down-to-earth guy who just wanted to understand May and see her perspective. Sisto's character was the character the audience would probably relate to the most, since he sees the insanity around him and wants nothing to do with it. Unfortunately, May can't let him go, just like we can't let go of watching and knowing that May is gonna do something bad to Adam for dumping her. He did a real good job in the role.
And Anna Faris as Polly cracked me up. She was just so bizarre and insane that you couldn't help but laugh at her. Faris plays it very over the top as the horny and twisted lesbian, yet it works. Her chemistry with Bettis is great because they're such a contrast in style and in personality - introvert vs. extrovert. Faris was enjoying herself here and we enjoy the ride along with her.
THE FINAL HOWL
MAY is a film that will really disturb you in such a way that you'll think twice about the people around you. It's well directed, it's excellently acted, and it will leave you feeling something once those credits roll. If you're looking for a character-driven and intelligent horror film, this is a great pick. If you're easily creeped out, this film may not be for you. Take a chance on this one. You might like it as much as I did.