A lonely young woman traumatized by a difficult childhood and her increasingly desperate attempts to connect with the people around her is sent into a murderous tailspin.
I can’t believe it’s been fourteen years since the release of Lucky McKee’s MAY. There have been many great horror films since then but nothing comes close to touching the sheer perfection of the movie. I’ve seen MAY numerous times over the years and I can honestly say that it’s just as powerful on your twentieth viewing as it was on your first. MAY was Lucky’s directorial debut and the stars were perfectly aligned when this thing went into production. Fourteen years later, Lucky is still the guy to watch on the horror scene. His films all have been a success and each one is always different than the next. MAY does remain my favorite thus far and I’ll tell you all why. If you’ve never seen it, you’re missing out on one of the most disturbing and tragic horror films of the last twenty years. Oh yes, there will be spoilers, don’t say I didn’t warn you.
May (Angela Bettis) is a young woman who had a rather difficult childhood. Her only friend growing up and as an adult is a doll her mother made her. It’s enclosed in a glass case and she was warned to never take it out. She works as a veterinary assistant but she’s a rather awkward girl. She wants to connect with people but it just seems all her attempts end in failure. That all changes when she meets Adam (Jeremy Sisto), a young filmmaker who embraces her weirdness.
Things seem to be going great until the night she watches his short film. May mistakes its message as something he might actually enjoy. It freaks him out and wants to distance himself from her as much as possible. May is broken over this. She just wants the perfect person to be with. She looks for it in her co-worker Polly (Anna Faris) and Blank (James Duval), a guy she meets on the street. She even tries to connect with a group of blind kids she volunteers to help with. What’s a girl to do when all she wants is to find someone so she doesn’t feel alone?
Angela Bettis is nothing short brilliant as the socially awkward young girl. She won numerous best actress awards at prestigious film festivals and deserved many more. Her portrayal is comical, frightening, desperate, and moving. Anna Faris proves once again why she’s one of the greatest comedic actresses of her generation. Sisto and Duval are always solid performers with Duval delivering one of the most hysterical lines of the film. What’s so great about MAY is that it’s more than just a horror film. Its various themes elevate it above being just another slasher. The theme of loneliness plays a giant role and with every mistake May makes, she pulls herself deeper and deeper into isolation. It’s not her choice but she just doesn’t know how to connect with people, no matter how hard she tries.
The film has many dark moments but none are as unsettling as the scene with the blind children breaking the glass case her doll is in. Each time I see it my stomach drops and you’re filled with mixed emotions. You feel for the character and understand her reaction but are horrified at the screams and what the children go through. Lucky makes all the right decisions, he knows when to disturb you and when to pull back. He paces the movie slow at first, building to the final act where she completely breaks from reality and is swallowed by her own twisted world.
I sometimes wonder why MAY hasn’t been given a proper special edition disc. The one released has a solid commentary but there’s so much more I would love to hear about this production. Enough time has passed and one of these amazing companies like Scream Factory or Arrow should be jumping all over this. MAY is a masterpiece, a one of a kind experience that will frighten you and break your heart at the same time. ***** (out of 5)