Ultra-disturbing Character Study
A man brings a feral woman into his house…
Lucky McKee’s THE WOMAN, is clearly his best feature since MAY. Again, with the phenomenal Angela Bettis in the mix, this twisted take on family, suppression and feminism is amazing in its tension and suspense.
This venture into an alpha-male that brings a feral woman into his root cellar is clearly one of the most disturbing films ever made. And that’s not a bad thing by any means. If this foray into the abyss does not bring about a visceral emotion from within, you may not be breathing.
Using music to help shape the tone, McKee delivers on all fronts. The best element, however, is that part of the horror takes place during the day, giving us 24-hour coverage of pressure filled hell. Loaded with excellent lighting to maintain an often juxtaposed mood between what the real world should be like and what it actually is in the Cleek home, is exceptional.
Besides a strong story that delves into the psychology of relationships, child rearing, the suppression of women in a male dominated society, McKee delivers these topics in a subtle fashion. For instance, the captive woman (Pollyhanna McIntosh) isn’t just put in a root cellar. This place of imprisonment is significant because the woman is virtually kept underground – secluded from the world, just as the Cleek family is sequestered. However, the important feature is that Chris Cleek (Sean Bridgers) has plucked this animal woman from the wild environment about their home, only to shove her back into the wild environs of the soil to control her. It’s his way of saying he can manhandle and dominate nature inside and outside the home – as well as below.
There wasn’t one weak actor in the feature, and the performances were rock solid. Bridgers was absolutely fantastic and should easily rise to the top ten of anyone’s “worse villains in horror” list.
And though many say it’s trash and exploitive, they’re not allowing themselves to think about the many layers and nuances to the film, as well as the eclectic personalities that inhabit it.
There is much to explore in this feature and it’s a definite “must see.”
4 out of 5 stars
(Photo from Imp Awards.)