Long time readers of my writings (I imagine they number at least one) will know that I’m something of a horror nerd. After all, I spent all of last October talking about it (and hopefully this October) and I seem to be trying inadvertently to become Flickering Myth’s resident horror dude.
Of course with this particular series being about loners and by extension the darker side of loneliness, the horror genre is full of isolated oddballs who often enjoy partaking in gruesome murder as a means of relaxation and fun.
However, while in most cases we feel little to no sympathy for the murderous loner butchering innocent people (Norman Bates for example), there is one film that to my mind manages to humanise its “monster” and make us feel sympathy for them. That film is Lucky McKee’s (now that’s a name) criminally underrated horror May.
The film follows May, a lonely and rather peculiar young woman who has no real friends besides a glass encased doll named Suzie. Despite her social awkwardness, May manages to strike up a new friendship with a work colleague and also begins a romantic relationship with a local mechanic named Adam. However, May’s peculiar and somewhat disturbing behaviour soon leaves her even more isolated than before, driving her to commit horrific acts in a desperate attempt to find companionship in her otherwise lonely existence.
The underrated Angela Battis (who really needs to be in more films) is phenomenal in the title role. Socially awkward, quirky to the nth degree and talks to a glass-encased doll, May is a bit of an oddball, to say the least, and the doll talking is admittedly a bit unnerving (although it is quite funny at times).
However, Battis manages to make the character seem like an otherwise friendly and sweet person, despite her somewhat unnerving eccentricities. Eventually, you find yourself liking the character and you soon start to sympathise with her lonely plight.
After all, don’t we just want someone who isn’t a glass encased doll to call our friend at the end of the day?
Even when her peculiar behaviour inevitably leads her to fall off the deep end into crazy town and switches from quirky to stabby, Battis’s endearing and tragic performance ensures that you still feel a certain degree of sympathy for her.
Although she does push her sympathy luck when she decides that cutting people up is the best approach to end her loneliness, creating what can best be described as a “Franken-friend”. Still, you can’t help but feel a sense of pity for her when she’s tearfully crying for her self-made friend to come alive and hang out with her.
Battis’s performance is simply great and it only begs the question as to why she isn’t in more films these days.
While Battis might not have become a major star (even though she really should be in my view), her supporting cast is made up of more than a few familiar faces.
Popular TV actor Jeremy Sisto (a familiar face to fans of Law & Order and Suburgatory) pops up as May’s love interest Adam in a decent performance that’s somewhat overshadowed by his sporting of a glorious hairdo that makes him look like a rejected member of Van Halen tribute act.
Anna Faris (who currently appears in popular TV sitcom Mom) also makes an appearance as May’s work colleague Polly, a slightly one-note character who seems determined to sleep with every woman from here to Timbuktu. It’s not Farris’s finest performance but it might still raise a few laughs if you’re so inclined, but she’s much better when she sticks to comedy. Also, keep an eye out for Ken Davitian whose hairy butt crack you’re probably still trying to burn from your minds after having seen it in Borat.
Now I’m willing to admit that this film is not going to be to everyone’s taste. There are some rather silly moments in the film which do raise an unintentional laugh or two. The tone often feels inconsistent with it being dark one moment and then slightly more goofy and weird in another. And while I personally liked Battis’s performance, I’ll admit that it does get a bit wobbly sometimes, although it’s good for the most part. Also, the film while being a rather short 90 minutes does take does take its sweet time building up to the inevitable bloody rampage when May finally snaps.
However, despite the various flaws, I would still recommend that you at least May a watch to make your own minds up about it. I personally like May a great deal and feel that it to be one of the most underrated and under-seen horror films of the 2000s.
Give it a watch if you’re curious. And would someone please give Angela Battis more film roles while you’re at it.