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A story of dolls and madness leads to a brilliant horror/slasher.

  • Jun 18, 2011
**** out of ****

There will never really be a slasher to save such a sub-genre. I don't like to think that any film deserves that much recognition, and plus, I don't even like the horror sub-genre of "the slasher film" that much, and for good reason. There are slasher films that I love ("The Texas Chainsaw Massacre", "Halloween") and then there are those that I find tasteless and boring ("Friday the 13th"). I'm a fan and an admirer of horror cinema for many reasons, and whenever something good comes along for this genre which I love, I simply dismiss it as a good - or even great- film all-together.

"May" is not the "savior of the slasher cinema", but it is one of the greats. It understands why cinematic psychos are so disturbingly endearing, and it understands that sometimes, it takes a strong and bold filmmaker to make the slasher character sympathetic. "May" is not merely a horror film, but a great drama, a black comedy, and a genuinely successful tale of misfits and those who we like to call "freaks". Some will no doubt find it uneven and filled with flaws, but I find it quite beautiful and moving.

If you have ever felt isolated, alone, or unable to talk to someone; then perhaps "May" will work its charm for you. It's the story of a lonely girl named May (Angela Bettis) who faces childhood with a lazy eye, thus forcing her to wear a patch throughout that time and into her young adulthood. May, as a young woman, isn't much different than she was as a much younger child. She remains socially inept, and unable to talk to those who she feels she is attracted to. There's a young man named Adam (Jeremy Sisto) who she particularly takes an interest in.

But to get the man of her dreams, May has to do something about that eye patch. May is able to get contact lenses - and then glasses- so that she can get rid of the patch, and now she feels more confident. She eventually talks to Adam, and the two strike up a good relationship.

But there is something that I probably should have mentioned earlier in my plot synopsis. When May was just a little girl, her parents gave her a doll encased in glass. May either has serious psychological problems, or this doll is evil, because May seems to think that the damn object is talking to her; and even contributing to her moral choices and what she says. The doll might indeed be showing signs of life; because there has to be a reason why by the end of the film, May has killed her work-friend's (Anna Faris) cat, and has stitched together her own friend made of the limbs and body parts of people she has murdered in a psychopathic killing spree.

I couldn't have written this review without spoilers, so please don't complain. I'm writing this review because "May" is a good enough film to earn it, and I'm putting effort into my writing for the same reason. "May" does admittedly use most of its time building up its titular character. In other, less interesting horror movies, this would have been a problem. However, we care about the May character, and if you're hooked on the film, then you are hooked to the character as well. I don't have any of the complaints that others have. I think that "May" is a spectacular example of its genre, for many reasons, and in many ways.

It's a gruesome flick, but that doesn't mean it fixates on being twisted (even if it really, really is). I can't describe the most gruesome and outlandishly violent scenes to you because that right there would be a spoiler worth bitching about. You really do need to see the film to believe it. It looks beautiful, with its wonderful and masterful cinematography, and I really felt for the main character. This was probably due to the performance of Angela Bettis, who reminds me a whole lot of Sissy Spacek's Carrie.

So there you have it; a sympathetic, sad, and touching slasher film. They have done it. "May" is not merely violent, gory, and satisfying; but it does much more than I wanted or expected it to do. Therefore, it deserves to be remembered, and I imagine that lovers of the horror genre will see why it's a work of art and not a work of high pretension. Of course, people attack films like these for being as different as they are. Or maybe people just can't relate to the May character, I'm not sure. If you fit that slight description, then perhaps it is best for you to stay away from "May", but none-the-less, it would do you more good to watch this than to watch, say, "Hostel". Consider that, and in all honesty, I'd say you're all good.

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More May reviews
review by . November 08, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
As a young girl, May's severe lazy eye made her shy and socially acceptable as a target for persecution. Her demanding and obsessive mother twisted that beginning into something else entirely. The bizarre glass encased doll she gives to her troubled girl becomes May's only friend, and long after mother is gone, the doll continues to be May's truest confidante.      As an adult, May now works in a third rate veterinary office where her interests in things like sewing …
review by . May 08, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
Angela Bettis is one of the more underrated actresses in Hollywood or Indie cinema for that matter but we can't hold it against her. One look at her film resume & we can be restfully assured she is every bit an actress although her name rarely comes up in conversation amongst moviephiles as often as it should. Perhaps she is yet to secure the role which will not only define her as a serious actress & tap into unknown dimensions we've yet to experience. I do have faith she will one day nab …
review by . November 28, 2008
May is not normal. At first, you think there is a possibility that she could be misunderstood, but May is definitely not normal. She gives a whole new meaning to the word 'Freak'. May grows up being different, wearing an eye patch because of a lazy eye. Mommy and Daddy give her a doll to be her friend, a doll that is one of those 'look but don't touch' dolls. If you can't meet friends, then make one. May matures, and we pick up with her as she is working for a Veterinarian as his assistant. She …
review by . March 11, 2004
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: The message is pretty strong, Angela Bettis plays a great May     Cons: May be to gruesome, weird for some.      The Bottom Line: A weird, but powerful film. Not for light-of-stomach.
About the reviewer
Ryan J. Marshall ()
Ranked #2
It's very likely that the only kind of reviews I'll ever post here are movie reviews. I'm very passionate about film; and at this point, it pretty much controls my life. Film gives us a purpose; … more
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About this movie


Starring Angela Bettis, Jeremy Sisto, Anna Faris, Kevin Gage
Directed by Lucky McKee
Writer:  Lucky McKee

Product Description
May never really fit in and growing up with a pirate's patch to cover her lazy eye did not make things easier. Even as an adult her best friend and sole companion is a doll given to her by her mother... until she sees Adam. In awe of his beauty especially his hands she pursues a relationship for the first time in her life. But she soon finds out that people are not 100% perfect... only certain parts of them are! Features: Cast and Crew CommentaryProduction CommentaryInternational TrailerEnglish and Spanish Subtitles System Requirements: Running Time 93 Min Format: DVD MOVIE Genre: HORROR Rating: R UPC: 031398838920 Manufacturer No: 71616
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Director: Lucky McKee
Genre: Comedy
Release Date: June 6, 2003
MPAA Rating: R
DVD Release Date: July 15, 2003
Runtime: 1hr 34min
Studio: 2 Loop Films, Lions Gate Films
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