The Woman (2011)
Director: Lucky McKee
Lauren Ashley Carter/Peggy
Pollyanna McIntosh/The Woman
Hardcore family man Chris Cleek (Bridgers) finds a butt naked savage woman (Pollyanna McIntosh) wandering about in the woods. So what's a man to do? Well capture her, chain her up in his barn, have her meet the wife and kids and attempt to “civilize her” of course! And THEN he has some real fun (sick).
Lucky McKee crashed onto the genre scene with a stab in 2002 via his outstanding first flick MAY, he then let me down a tad with his 2006 follow up THE WOODS. To his credit, the flick reeked a of a tug of war between him and the Studio System so I don't lay the blame fully on him. And now the chap is back to his independent roots with THE WOMAN, a vile and disgusting horror party, one that was co-written by the master of the vile and the disgusting himself: Jack Ketchum (after his own novel of the same name, the third of a trilogy, which consists of OFF SEASON, which has yet to be made into a film and OFFSPRING (which was made poorly, or so I was told). So my thoughts on this cinematic beeyath? Yuck! But kind of in a good way!
I wanted to take a shower and thoroughly clean my myself with bleach after watching THE WOMAN. It's very well made for the type of flick it is, but for sure, it won't everybody's cup of blood. Now, there was a lot of controversy about this one; being hailed as misogynistic piece of work. Funnily enough, I didn't see it that way; I perceived it more as a ardent feminist piece being that the key male characters in this Death Zoo were sadistic, rapist, murdering a-holes while the females, shit even the savage dame, came off as caring human beings. Granted women were victimized here BIG TIME, but as the end credits rolled; for me this was a men suck, girls are victims, perceived as objects, bla, bla, bla... who can overcome the "evil males" type spiel... told in a very f*cked up way. How f*cked up? Try rape, physical abuse, pedophilia, cannibalism, voyeurism on for size! All of the sicko toppings baby! At first THE WOMAN came off as PARENTS (in its severed tongue in cheek attitude) with a dash of THE STEPFATHER (Sean Bridgers perfect dad exterior) tossed in for good measure in its display of the ideal all American family but with a bleak undercurrent gradually bubbling to the surface.
If this wasn't a satire on the happy go lucky, BBQs, all is well, perfect family motif, I don't know what is. And as the clock ticked forward; it became something else. On the upside; the performances here were pretty much outstanding. Evil Will Ferrell look-alike Sean Bridgers put out a brave and entertaining (in a warped way) show, he looked the part of the ideal pops, nailed the “pleasant" facade which made his cruel acts even scarier when they surfaced. When it came time to go dark, the man did it with gusto. Bridgers was the backbone of the affair for me; if he didn't work, none of of it would have. Then we had Pollyanna McIntosh who went all out as the feral woman, with a nasty bite and a nastier bush. Another courageous showcase that should be applauded. Both performers were well supported by McKee regular Angela Bettis who gave a visceral internal show, the affable Lauren Ashley Carter (I just wanted to hug her) and the utterly creepy Zach Rand. Visually; McKee stabbed out some pretty nifty stylish moments and showed off a keen instinct as to when to sugar coat his imagery or to go raw with them for the better of the picture. At the end of the neck snap this was a multi-tone type of experience and Mckee was on the money behind the camera to serve that. Music was also a main factor here; am talking pop rock and synthesizer shite; some may say that Mckee overdid it in that respect; personally, I didn't mind it, it upped the satirical tone, the humor of the piece and kind of made the nastier stuff easier to swallow.
With that; I had a hard time watching this one. Maybe I was having a bad case of blue balls that day; but I really wasn't in the mood to have my nose rubbed in the gutter. But am trying to put that aside to vomit this drivel. Now, the tricky thing when doing a satire; is that when you decide to get serious, it may not go down too well cause you laid your foundation in a cheeky way. So yeah at a certain point suspension of disbelief had to be applied for me to keep going with this one's sick games. I also thought McKee overdid it with the superimposed images gimmick; the ploy started to get on my nerves after a while. Same went for the pacing of the thing. The middle section lagged; and I caught myself thinking “just get to the point already” a couple of times. Then we had the “teacher wants to help” (played by the lovely Carlee Baker) subplot which was see through from the get-go and felt forced to eventually provoke a plot turn that I saw coming clits away. The "how" behind the teen daughter's “disposition” fell into the same pit. If that was supposed to be a surprise, big FAIL, as I figured it out pretty early on. Yeah the flick telegraphed some of its punches and that lessened their impact for me. Finally; the ending felt a tad slap-dash in its execution and the final frames didn't leave me on a satisfying note. I didn’t fully believe them.
So all in all; I respected THE WOMAN's audacity, its satirical streak, its freaking harsh way to make a statement and its "go for the gold" performances, but it's a movie that I never wanna see again...and I guess that can be perceived as the best compliment I can give it. So you gonna bend this one over and have your way with her or what? Watch out! She bites!
Things get red-wet ugly here. We get a bit off finger, a ripped throat, flesh chewing, ripped out organs and more!
T & A
Tits and bush... but not in an erotic fashion. I stayed limp. With that I could look at Carlee Baker fully dressed for hours on end. Do with that what you will.
THE WOMAN was a solid film but much like nailing a chick on the rag, you gotta be in the mood for it. Bravely acted, gleefully appalling, smartly shot for the most part, with a bleak sense of humor and an even bleaker mean streak; THE WOMAN will get some of you off and chase the rest of yall away. Now that I think of it, it was a feminist piece that used misogyny to ram its message across. Ballsy move! Gotta respect that! On that; it did have its flaws; like telegraphing some of its punches, an overuse of superimposed images, a satirical tone that sometimes played against its plausibility factor and an ending that felt a pinch shot on the fly and that didn’t full-fill me 100%. Overall, every genre fan should see it! It goes for the crotch with a big pair of scissors and makes no apologies for it.
Stay tuned after the end credits, for a wonderfully executed and shot bit that made ZERO sense to me.
Pollyanna McIntosh also played The Woman character in Offspring (2009)
My pick to direct Off Season? My bud Eric Red. He'd do wonders with it. Word has it that Ketchum and him have been talking about it for a while.