CC: May (2002)

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Friday, February 14, 2014

CC: May (2002)

Hard to believe but I consider this film to be as close to romantic as possible for a Lovecraftian type story.  On first blush you might assume this to be more in the “American Psycho” vein of horror movie, but once the human meat puzzle moves in the final scene it moves straight into “Re-Animator” territory for me with a strong helping of “did that really just happen or are we inside her madness now”.

May is a 2002 American horror film written and directed by Lucky McKee in his directorial debut.  Starring Angela Bettis, Jeremy Sisto, Anna Faris, and James Duval, the film follows a lonely young woman (Bettis) traumatized by a difficult childhood, and her increasingly desperate attempts to connect with the people around her.

May (2002)

  • Genre: Drama – Horror – Thriller
  • Directed: Lucky McKee
  • Produced:
    • Marius Balchunas 
    • Eric Koskin 
    • Richard Middleton 
    • Scott Sturgeon 
    • John Veague
  • Written: Lucky McKee
  • Starring: Angela Bettis, Jeremy Sisto, Anna Faris, James Duval, Nichole Hiltz, Kevin Gage, Merle Kennedy, Chandler Riley Hecht, Rachel David, Nora Zehetner, Will Estes
  • Music: Jaye Barnes Luckett
  • Cinematography: Steve Yedlin
  • Editing:
    • Debra Goldfield 
    • Rian Johnson 
    • Chris Sivertson
  • Studio:
    • 2 Loop Films 
    • A Loopy Production LLC
  • Distributed: Lions Gate Films
  • Rated:
  • Release Date: 13 January 2002 (US)
  • Running Time: 93 minutes
  • Country: United States
  • Language: English

May Dove Canady is an awkward, lonely young woman, who suffered a troubled childhood due to her lazy eye.  She has very few social interactions, her only "true friend" being a glass-encased doll named Suzie made by her mother and given to May for her birthday with the adage "If you can't find a friend, make one."  May works at a veterinary hospital, assisting with surgeries.  Her optometrist fixes May's lazy eye, first with glasses, then with a special form of contact lens.  As May attempts to be more social, she becomes friends with Adam, a local mechanic.  She has a fixation on his hands, which she considers to be the most attractive part of him, and they start dating.  Meanwhile, May's lesbian colleague Polly begins to flirt with May, while simultaneously poking fun at her for her oddness.  One day while feeling especially low, May remarks that Polly has a beautiful neck. Polly then gives her pet cat "Loopy" to May, ostensibly because of her "bitch" landlord.

One night May invites Adam to her apartment.  Adam shows her a film he made for his university titled Jack and Jill.  The film reveals a story of two young lovers who go on a picnic and end up eating each other.  May becomes aroused by the cannibalism in the film and, during an intense make-out session, bites Adam on the lip.  Bleeding profusely, Adam is finally disturbed by May's strange personality and leaves.  May feels guilty and blames her doll Suzie for encouraging her to make bad choices.  She shouts at Suzie and shoves her in the cupboard.

May begins working at a school for disabled children.  She is especially interested in the blind children and identifies with a lonely girl named Petey David, who makes her a clay ashtray with May's name carved into it. Meanwhile, May finally gives in to Polly's wiles and starts a short affair; Adam stops calling her and May goes to his house, where she overhears him say that he's glad he could get rid of May.  Heartbroken, May goes to see Polly, only to find Polly with another girl named Ambrosia.  Totally miserable, May returns home.  When Loopy refuses to come near her, she becomes enraged and throws the clay ashtray at her, killing Loopy.  May becomes delusional, thinking that her doll Suzie is talking to her through its glass case.

May takes Suzie to school and tells the blind children that Suzie is her best friend.  As the children struggle to take the doll out of the glass case, it falls and shatters, with May and the kids cutting themselves in the process. Carrying the now-destroyed, blood-covered Suzie, May returns home, devastated.

The following day, May meets a punk boy named Blank.  He is interested in her remarks that people cannot be entirely perfect, only have perfect "parts".  May doesn't like Blank, but she likes the tattoo on his arm.  They go to May's house and when he opens the freezer to get ice, he finds the cat's corpse wrapped in plastic wrap.  Blank panics and calls May a freak, infuriating her; she stabs him in the head with a pair of scissors.  Suddenly, she realizes that the people she had considered her friends were not friends at all; there were only parts of them that were friends.  She concludes that a perfect friend can only be made of all the perfect parts of people.

On Halloween night, May dresses in a homemade costume similar to Suzie's dress and goes to Polly's house. She slits Polly's throat with scalpels from the animal hospital.  When Ambrosia arrives, May admires her legs and stabs Ambrosia in the sides of the head with the scalpels.  When May goes to Adam's house, she finds him with Hoop, a girl with hoop earrings.  May stabs them both.

At home, May designs her "new friend", Amy, a Frankenstein-esque life-sized rag doll made from Blank's arms, Polly's neck, Adam's hands, Ambrosia's legs, Hoop's ears, and Loopy's fur to substitute for hair.  The head and torso are different scraps of fabric stitched together and stuffed.  Once the macabre doll is finished, May realizes that Amy can't see her.  In a rush of misery, May gouges out her right eye, the lazy one, with the scissors.  Crying in pain and bleeding, she puts her eye on Amy's head and begs the doll to look at her.  A few moments later, May then smiles when her creation comes to life and touches her face with Adam's hands.

Roger Ebert granted the film four stars out of four, and called it "a horror film and something more and deeper, something disturbing and oddly moving" and characterized the denouement as "a final shot that would get laughs in another kind of film, but May earns the right to it, and it works, and we understand it".  Variety magazine critic David Rooney turned in a review that was more middle of the road, stating that the film was "More successful when the title character finally embarks on her bloody mission than in the dawdling buildup".  The New York Times critic Stephen Holden opined that "the performances are a cut or two above what you would find in the average slasher film. But in the end that's all it is".  Bloody Disgusting ranked the film #17 in their list of the 'Top 20 Horror Films of the Decade', with the article calling the film "criminally under-seen at the time of its release... The plotting itself manages to sidestep the usual slasher tropes as it slowly and inexorably unravels, all leading up to a quietly haunting conclusion that is as heart-wrenching as it is unnerving."


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