Tom Humberstone


horror week - day 9

May (2002)

"I like weird. I like weird a lot."

Quick summary: May is lonely - having grown up with an eyepatch to treat her lazy eye, overbearing parents, and an eccentric personality - it was always tough to make friends. As an adult, things aren't any easier. Will May find acceptance and a happy ending with amateur horror director Adam?

Rather fittingly, May is like patchwork of similarly themed films - a modern version of Frankenstein, Carrie and Psycho. The humour is jet-black with Anna Farris being a comedic highlight ("You're funny. Want to watch me file?"), and there's no skimping on the gore.

I think what interested me most about the film was the way in which all of May's potential friends and love interests repeatedly announce their attraction to 'weird' only for May's brand of weird to be too much for them. Adam in particular, seems extremely keen to prove his 'twisted', counter-cultural horror credentials - attending an Argento screening, making a short film about a couple who start devouring each other, asking May for gruesome tales about her job - only to be put off by May's very genuine responses.

May is a subversive anti-Rom-Com - in which the shy, awkward girl doesn't take off her glasses and immediately find acceptance. She isn't adorkable. Her home-made clothing isn't some cute moment masquerading as character development. Viewing it with 2016 eyes, it reads like a critique of the manic pixie dream girl trope - a bit like Ruby Sparks but, I would argue, more satisfying.

I noticed upcoming Star Wars (+ Brick, Looper, and Breaking Bad) director Rian Johnson's name pop up in the credits as editor.

Tagline: "If you can't find a friend. Make one."

I also watched:

Intruders/Shut In (2015)

"You have no idea what I'm like."

Quick summary: Anna is agoraphobic and can't even leave her house to attend her brother's funeral. So when a bunch of robber archetypes (one reluctant, one psychotic, one leader) break in to steal her inheritance, she finds herself unable to runaway. But who is trapped with who?

I'd actually planned to watch something else (Inside) but the dvd was playing up so I settled for something on a streaming service that looked interesting. I'll be honest, I picked this because it had Martin Starr in it.

It wasn't bad. It starts off as a standard home invasion in the Panic Room tradition and the tension is well directed enough (not as interesting as Panic Room's sweeping camerawork to build the sense of space, not as edge-of-the-seat intense as Haute Tension) before switching things up about halfway through and pivoting to something more like Saw.

That switch-up infuses the film with an unpredictable energy that was really refreshing - before becoming something all-too-familiar. In the end the messaging and themes of the film became too muddled and messy that I had no idea what it was trying to say. That would be fine but the film appeared to abandon its b-movie conventions in order to go deeper.

Ultimately, a decent enough thriller but not much more.

This has reminded me that I still need to watch Walter Grauman's 1964 film Lady In a Cage.

Tonight: Last night for this year. I'm tempted by The Den, Cub, Lady In a Cage, Trouble Every Day, The Strangers... We'll see.

Check out the archive of the horror week here.