Sunday, October 16, 2011

Lucky McKee: Family Matters (The Woman)

Pollyanna McIntosh, The Woman, Bloody Disgusting, 2011.

Cult Horror auteur Lucky McKee (May, The Woods) cultivates feminist horror films which are alternately dubious, cheezy, disturbing, campy and invigorating. He is one of the few younger Horror directors who is truly gifted with vision. His new film, The Woman, adapted from the notorious Jack Ketchum novel, is a myriad of things. It pulses with life, resounds with artifice, titillates, horrifies and leaves us panting, out of breath.

A low budget look and feel only impacts his mise-en-scene favorably, as the rough hues only make the unspeakable that much closer to us. Character actor Sean Bridgers gets a rare chance to shine in the role of a lifetime - he treads the tightrope of caricature and madness brilliantly. Angela Bettis, the fragile and fascinating star of Mckee's earlier triumph, the creepy cool May, is magnificent as his put upon wife. Pollyanna McIntosh, Lauren Ashley Carter and Zach Rand all lend excellent support, almost spellbound in their respective roles.

A twisted and twisty family drama, which seems cliched but flails to life under McKee's certain hand, descends into madness and terror as a small town family captures a feral woman. The ingenious way in which McKee shapes the narrative to flavor his themes of male patriarchy, female victimization and masculine violence and its transfer from father to son is all apart of the sick pleasure of the picture. Imperfect, yet so integral in its refusal to curtail to the current mediocrity of the genre which attempts to confine it.

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