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May (R)
Lions Gate Films
Official Site
Director: Lucky McKee
Producers: Scott Sturgeon, Marius Balchunas
Written by:  Lucky McKee
Cast: Angela Bettis, Jeremy Sisto, Anna Faris, James Duval, Nichole Hiltz

Rating: out of 5

The bits of bodies are better than their collective whole—at least, according to May’s motto. You could say the same about the movie May—its bits are slightly better than the whole, and sewing them together produced a misconceived version of the bride of Frankenstein rather than a perfect cinematic creature feature. But in the realm of horror, the bride of Frankenstein is often preferred over efforts toward perfection.

Sweet May (Bettis) works at a vet clinic by day and hangs out in her fabric-laden apartment by night, reinventing herself as an amateur seamstress. She also hears voices and earnestly talks to a white ceramic childhood doll named Suzy. Not exactly the ideal girl next door.

As a little girl, May was a social pariah because of her lazy eye. To make matters worse, her mother forced her to wear a black eyepatch over the imperfection. She became a blonde, skinny pirate and an easy target for vicious mockery. The reverberating childhood trauma of being ignored and ridiculed made May weird—and not weird in the cool, eccentric, individualistic manner, but in that disturbing, hair-raising lunatic way.

After a few unsuccessful attempts at friendship in her twenties, May mentally cracks and cooks up the ingenuously psychotic plan of sewing up a new best friend. Like her mother said, if you can’t find a friend, make one. On Halloween night, she gets a heck of a neck from her sex-crazed lesbian co-worker (Faris from Scary Movie), two supple hands from the apple-of-her-eye Adam (Sisto from HBO’s Six Feet Under), and other bits and pieces along the route to her mentally screwed end.

The film is as comical as it is grotesque because May has the teenage ability to gawkily say the wrong thing with dopey charisma every time she opens her mouth. Her grins are maniacal, but cringing results from empathetic embarrassment rather than from any real fear of this wiry psycho.

Even though laughs are pervasive, the gross-outs stand out as the main course of the film. Director-writer Lucky McKee pointedly depicts a single character’s frustration with life, and refuses to hold back on the gore. Blood and guts spew like broken fountains, an eyeball gets gouged out with a dull pair of scissors, hands get severed, and that’s not even the half of the damage.

That being said, I must note that Angela Bettis’s performance is quite good. The young Texas native (who had roles in Girl, Interrupted, Bless the Child, and the title role in last year’s TV version of Stephen King’s Carrie) does a fantastically creepy job of portraying the complexities of awkward, desperate May.

Bon appetit, horror fans. You’ll relish this tasty red treat for years to come. The rest of us, however, will probably opt to save our lunches.

—Sandra M. Ogle


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