Maybe I Won't
Kytte rented May last weekend, a horror movie I heard about a while ago that dropped of my radar, and I was reminded of on a recent trip to Best Buy. I thought about buying it blind, but decided not to, so when Kytte loaned me her rental, I thought, "hey, great, now I don't have to rent it either!" I'm goddamn glad I didn't buy it or rent it.
May starts out by ruining the film's entire premise, which is really all it had going for it. The opening credits are done over scenes of clothes being cut and stitched, before cutting to a scene in the title character's patch, where in rapid succession we learn about her lazy eye, her rejection by the other kids because she wears a pirate-like eye patch, and her overly-protective-yet-obsessive mother's attempts to help May compensate by introducing her to the world of making dolls. Then, the film's "horror element" is blown nary four minutes into the movie, when May's mother tells her that "if you can't get a friend, make one."
And that's basically it: May sees perfect parts of people, but she can't see perfect people, so she decides to make a perfect person by cutting people up and sewing herself a new doll-person. People have compared that to Frankenstein, but it's not even in the same ballpark: the Doctor's motivations for creating his monster ran much deeper than an underdeveloped, overly-sensitive goth's lack of social adjustment. Don't worry, I didn't ruin anything for you that wouldn't have been spoiled either on the box cover or in the first five minutes of the film.
My problems with this movie (and I've obviously got them) is that it spent zero time developing Young May as a character. None. We are treated to one scene where kids reject her, one scene where her mother tries to help her and most likely passes along some of her own mental quirks. And that's it. We're supposed to accept, from this tiny amount of film, that May is a seriously maladjusted individual, and that these are all logical reasons for her to cut herself with a scalpal and sew pieces of corpses together to make a new person. Didn't work, not for a second. Maybe it's because I've seen too many people in the world who have a lot worse problems than an overbearing mother and a small personal handicap, and not a single one of them grew up to be a murderer. That may be it in a nutshell (pardon the pun): this film had zero verisimilitude. Armageddon had a more believable premise.
Which only goes to show me that indie film does not always equal good film. May was far, far worse than other indie horror flicks that have come along recently - two that come to mind are Cabin Fever and Frailty. The first nailed you with some of the same gross-out tricks that May pulls, but managed to tell it in a way that didn't lose the viewer. The later is practically the form of psychological horror; while there's very little actual blood and violence, it is disturbing on a far deeper level than May, which only leaves you wondering why her parents didn't put her in counselling a little sooner, especially her father who, for the two seconds we see him on film, seems normal.
Gosh, I'm being awfully harsh. Then again, I just wasted a lot of my time.
Tuesday, January 20, 2004
Maybe I Won't