Friday, October 14, 2011

Woman, The (2011) - 5/5

Lucky McKee blew me away with the disturbing "May" and his Masters Of Horror episode "Sick Girl" was an exercise in extreme dark humor and his over the top social commentaries. Thusly, his latest and most controversial work "The Woman" continues to push the envelope for his style of horrific individuals and elevates his status as one of the best cult directors out there. This film makes the toes curl, makes one hate humanity, and never lets one let their jaw get up off the floor. This is horror at some of its greatest strengths.

A seemingly well established family living on the outskirts of town find themselves at a new set of moral crossroads when the over domineering father finds a wild woman living in the forest and captures her so that he may 'civilize' her. As his obsession with this new project grows, the rest of the family will have to make decisions about their lives and come to a head about how far is too far.

Knowing the series of Jack Ketchum novels that this film continues from (luckily avoiding being a sequel to the horrible "Offspring"), I fully expected "The Woman" to continue with its slasher format utilizing the animalistic tribe people as the villains...Lucky McKee and Ketchum obviously had other ideas for this one. The twist in "The Woman" happens to be that the audience fully sides with the vicious and violent wild woman. This dark and disturbing take on how a "normal" American family and their deranged father hits a bit too close with how humanity can be its own worst enemy - not outsiders. With a stunningly well written script and McKee's eye for making the most mundane moments seem obscene, it's a partnership of idea and style made in horror heaven.

Controversy does reign over the use of men and women (and their social values) in this film and it's easy to see why. For such a simple plot, it's viciously effective in deepening how one sees how easy things can spiral out of control. "The Woman" never shies away from this controversial subject. It's a hard film to swallow and after my viewing at the most recent Mile High Horror Film Festival, it took a few days for me to digest it fully. Rarely does it feel like the conventional horror film with the first two acts that rarely use jump scares or significant amounts of gore to scare the audience. What the characters do, to each other and our leading wild woman, is what is so horrifying. The father's demented sense of entitlement. The mother's fear of everything. The children's desperate attempts to cling onto whatever role model they can. It's not until the final act that the film kicks into rampage mode and by're hooked and want to see justice served.

"The Woman" blasts the audience with both a vivid and unnerving tension with its frighteningly real plot and well crafted soundtrack, then it uppercuts that with dark humored style thanks to the ever impressive McKee at the helm. The acting is beyond superb and it creates this overbearing horror film experience that is a must see for fans of anything with depth to the horror. McKee strikes again and "The Woman" is the aftermath of just how impactful a horror film can be in this day and age.

Written By Matt Reifschneider

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