Monday, October 5, 2015

31 Days of Horror- Day 5: May (2002)

(dir. Lucky McKee)

*First time viewing

All May wants is a friend, and if she can’t find one, she’ll make one…piece by piece.

May’s offbeat tone takes some viewer adjustment. In fact, it was a half hour or so before I finally decided I was enjoying the movie. May plays like a rom-com, but the romances never come to fruition and the comedy is often too uncomfortable to actually laugh at. Every single one of May’s awkward attempts to find companionship, whether humorous or horrific, are tinged with sadness. It’s the emotional complexity of the formally bullied May, played by Angela Bettis, that grounds the film throughout her strange romantic entanglements and her progression from odd to insane. Co-stars Jeremy Sisto and Anna Faris are equally given complex motivations and despite their respective romances and break-ups with May, they aren’t turned into easy villains in May’s story. While the film’s heightened take on personality prevents any of the characters from feeling like people you’d encounter in the world, the emotional reality of their actions display a complexity and honesty that many movies, romantic-comedy or horror, are severely lacking. When things get bloody, and oh boy do they get bloody, McKee still keeps the tone and emotional balance intact. Instead of leaving viewers to anticipate gore and gleefully enjoy the kill scenes, he leaves them sympathetic of May’s loneliness.

Scare Factor: 2/5 May gets gory, but the horror here is based on the very human fear of being unloved. Sad, charming, and occasionally beautiful, May likely won’t be what you expect, but it’ll tug on your heartstrings for some time to come.

**Available on HBO Go

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