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May | review | dvd | Lollipop
(Lions Gate Films)
by Chad Van Wagner
Geek culture is upon us. We have arrived at the point where a young filmmaker (by the name of Lucky McKee, in this case) can take all the standard clichés of the classic '70s horror film (teen angst, the cute, nice guy with the shithead friends, the awkward but pretty girl) and make use of them in such a subtle way that it's not immediately apparent that he's using clichés in the first place.
May (the film) is about May (the character), a girl who, due to a minor deformity (a lazy eye) and an obsessive mother, has, shall we say, less than perfect social skills. May's only friend is an unbelievably creepy doll that never leaves its protective glass box (symbolism alert). May falls in love with parts of people (a guy's great hands, a woman's neck), but has a problem accepting the person as a whole. May likes to cut things up and sew them back together.
Take a wild guess where this is going.
While it's certainly got its share of B movie conceits, May is about a solid character (played with creepy, nerdy, yet oddly sexy efficiency by Angela Bettis) who just wants a real friend. And even when she becomes an utter monster, she's our monster, and that's the film's ultimate accomplishment. May might be constructed out of standard, stolen parts like the title character's "friend," but it never feels like a standard horror movie.
While all this is well and good for the film students out there, it should be mentioned that May is creepy. Like 28 Days Later, it takes a genre and, while it might not exactly turn it on its head, reinvents it from the ground up, and in doing so, makes for a massively entertaining flick that both the geeks and the popcorn crowd can sink their teeth into.