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Thursday, June 01, 2006

Blind Pix from NetFlix: May (2001)

Okay, so I just got NetFlix and I am loving it. NetFlix affords me the opportunity to check out totally weird, random movies that didn't play in my city the first time around and didn't get stocked by my video store the second time around. Today's title does not refer to last month, but to the movie, May a sleeper horror flick that recently piqued my interest.

May (2001)

Truly great horror movies make us feel something for the victims. Whether we are rooting for them (Night of the Living Dead) or against them (Carrie) the victims of a horror flick should really stir some kind of feelings. This is not the case with May, Lucky McKee’s ambitious film about an outcast who becomes a murderer.

May is a young woman who grows up a playground pariah because of a lazy eye. Her mother is presented as a deeply unhappy Stepford wife with the desire for a perfect daughter. Understandably, May turns out a little neurotic and unstable. At the same time, she is kind of sweet and endearing in an Edward Scissorhands sort of way.

Poor May always seems to find parts of people that she likes—one man has the right hands, one woman has beautiful legs. Yet when she sees people as wholes, they almost always disappoint her. Funnily enough, I feel the same way about this movie. There were parts that were great. I loved the way May keeps trying to explain to people that she is weird, and they all say, “I like weird,” only to find out that she is not weird in a conventional let’s-all-go-see-a-Troma-movie kind of a way. Few things are funnier than preppy people trying to act like they’re on the fringe of society, and May lets us laugh long and hard at them. That said, the film just didn’t seem to come together. There are some scenes that are just freaky with no emotional payoff at all. If you read anything about this film you will inevitably encounter references to "the scene with the blind children." I can confidently say that that was, in fact, one of the more disturbing things I have seen on film in the last ten years. Disturbing, yes, but it left me irritated and bored--I did not know why I was being disturbed. Disturbing imagery without message, metaphor or context is so annoyingly student-film.

McKee does a good job of portraying May’s mental collapse (her rejection and subsequent breakdown are reminiscent of Robert DeNiro’s major malfunction in Taxi Driver). He has a difficult time chooseing a style and a genre, however. He is clearly deft in romance, horror, comedy and drama—still, most directors will choose one genre, not try to stitch three or four together. McKee is clearly a gifted director, evoking Woody Allen and Brian De Palma in his work. I think with a few more films under his belt, he will really hit his stride.


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