17 March 2015

MAY (2002)


German Title:
May - Die Schneiderin des Todes

USA, 2002
Director: Lucky McKee


Back in 2002 when director / writer Lucky McKee was shooting his second feature "May", I think he wasn't aware of what an incredible film he was making. With a budget of only about $500.000 and a cast that considered mostly of no-name indie actors & actresses at that time, McKee involuntarily created one of the best, most impressive, most influential horror films of the 00s.

"May" tells the story of loner and social misfit May, an odd woman with a lazy eye and a troubled childhood whose only 'friend' is a creepy-looking glass-encased doll named Suzie. May works at a veterinary hospital and leads a calm life, until the day she falls in love with Adam, a local mechanic who at first seems to be interested in her, but rejects her when he realizes that May is much weirder than he originally expected. From this moment on, May's life slowly goes downhill. She snaps, her behavior becomes more and more awkward, flirts with a lesbian co-worker and some random punk dude end deadly, and when her 'friend' accidentally gets broken, she decides to create a new one... Frankenstein-style!

Calling "May" a mere horror film is quite improper, because... well, it's actually soooo much more. It starts out as shrewd mix of comedy, dramedy and semi-rom-com and ends us as bizarre bastard of psychological drama, horror-comedy and fun-slasher. Blending so many genres/sub-genres together could have ended as disaster of epic proportions - but McKee managed to blend all these various types into each other as if it's the easiest thing in the world. While he completely failed to do so with later works like "The Woods" or "All Cheerleaders Die"... with "May", he fully succeeded in creating one of the wackiest, yet most perfect genre mash-ups in movie history, a mash-up that's amusing, entertaining, shocking, heartbreaking and thought-provoking at the very same time.

The main reasons why "May" works so fucking good: the deeply fascinating character of May and the incredible performance of Angela Bettis. I don't exaggerate when I say that Bettis' May is one of the greatest, most breathtaking, most mesmerising, most fascinating acting performances I have ever seen and it's a mystery to me why Bettis hasn't become an actress of the caliber of a Cate Blanchett or Tilda Swinton. They way she moves, the way she looks, her ambigious expressions, her often inscrutable demeanor. Her adorable smiles, but also her frightening temper tantrums. A loner that desperately needs help before things start to get very, very ugly. What I love most about Bettis' performance that she never lets May become unlikable. Even when she's in super-psychotic mode, you're still rooting for her because, like her, you hope and somehow believe that everything will work out right...

The rest of the cast is almost equally fantastic: there's Jeremy Sisto ("Wrong Turn") as May's love interest who involuntarily becomes the catalysator for the tragedies to happen. Anna Faris ("Scary Movie 1-4") as Lesbian who seems to care about May, but actually doesn't care about her at all. Nichole Hiltz ("In Plain Sight") as blonde bitch, James Duval ("Donnie Darko") as silly punk, Kevin Gage ("Heat") and Merle Kennedy ("Night of the Demons") as May's parents.

"May" is also packed to the brim with visually stunning images of May's eerie doll or her very own... um, 'creation', with remarkable stand-out scenes like the one with the blind kids accidentally hurting themselves on the shards of glass, the one with the bloody kiss or all the gorgeously gory kills... though nothing comes close to the awesomeness of the final scene which is funny, shocking, depressing and tear-jerking at the very same time. Seeing May, at first unwilling to grasp what terrible things she did, then quickly realizing that there's something totally wrong, breaking down in tears and ultimately doing something unspeakable to herself - hell, this scene and the final image which can be only described as magic, it gets me every time. I'm getting goosebumps, I'm close to tears, I wanna reach into the screen and pull May out of this misery *sigh*

The soundtrack is terrific, consisting of fabulous tunes by The Kelley Deal 6000 (the adorable "When He Calls Me Kitten"), Tommy James & The Shondells ("Hanky Panky"), The Breeders ("Do You Love Me Now?") and Jammes Luckett's unbelievably eerie "Deviation on a Theme". The cinematography is excellent (Steve Yedlin, "Looper"), editing, costumes and the entire art direction are splendid, and McKee's direction is just frigging perfect.

Yes, it's weird film, but... well, I like weird. I like weird a lot!

Wiki ~ Imdb


  1. Perfect!! It's on my 'must watch' list :)

    1. You... *gulp* you haven't seen it yet? WATCH IT ASAP!!!

  2. Such a fine review for a fine movie of a not-so-fine-in-the-head-but-symphathetic gal!

    I have to schedule a review of this for this Halloween...


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