Fright Fest Review #13: May (2002)

You may have thought I was going to make a pun here.
You may have thought I was going to make a pun here.

Subgenre:  ?

Summary:  A socially awkward young woman grows increasingly detached from reality.

Review:  May is a hard film to classify, and an equally hard one to summarize without spoiling too much.  So if this review seems purposefully vague, that’s because it is.

May is a sweet but painfully shy woman, ostracized from an early age due to her lazy eye.  Though she makes a decent living as a veterinary assistant, she lives a lonely life, with only her dolls to keep her company.  She pines for the hunky Adam, who she sees regularly but is afraid to talk to.

One thing I loved about May is that for most of its running time it doesn’t feel like a horror movie.  With just a few tweaks to the plot it could easily be another quirky dramedy in the vein of Juno (thank God it’s not).  Aside from a few early instances of dark humor, the horror elements don’t reveal themselves until the third act.

Despite solid supporting performances by Anna Faris and Jeremy Sisto, May rests on the petite shoulders of Angela Bettis, who shines in the title role, bringing sympathy and depth to a character that easily could have been one-dimensional.  Thanks to her performance, along with the well-paced screenplay, May’s actions later in the film are just as tragic as they are disturbing.  Even during the movie’s darkest sequences, she remains strangely likable.  Though she’s surrounded by self-professed “weirdos,” May is repeatedly shunned whenever she presents them with the real thing.  In a strange, demented way, she’s the only genuine person in a world of posers.

The Verdict:  May is as likable, offbeat, and deranged as its heroine.  I give it seven wacko wallflowers out of ten.

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