The Woman (2011) USA
Not every “Villain” searches for redemption and not every “Woman” needs a man.
An amazingly gruesome and touching indie horror has hatched from two great story tellers (Lucky McKee and Jack Ketchum). As a lover of horror and all things feminist, I am over the moon with THE WOMAN.
The story feels as though it fell straight out of a “Leave it to Beaver” episode, which is refreshingly funny with a slight hint of camp until you discover that the world of the film is repressive and misogynistic. Chris, a seemingly perfect dad and father of three, goes hunting one day. Much to his surprise, the game (TheWoman) he finds is more of a challenge than he can ever imagine. He begins this dark journey of capturing her and making his family assist in training her to be more conformed to their standards. This of course goes awry when some of the females in the house try to rebel.
Each portrayal is done quite well.
Angela Bettis as the “cookie cutter” wife Belle is quite fragile, and though some might wish that she were stronger sooner, she was convincing as the mother who is just too afraid of her husband to buck their system. She would also be less convincing if she hadn’t the perfect “abusive husband”/partner in Sean Bridgers as Chris Cleek. For a bit you can easily believe that she’s just afraid of her own shadow, until she receives the first “out-of-nowhere” smack from him without words, to simply ‘keep her in line”. Then there are the kids. Obviously McKee and Ketchum played into the theory; Your parents are your first role models, and they do this well. They give each of the three children their own surprising and somewhat tragic story which all ties back to this “perfect family on the outside” and “dysfunctional one on the inside”.
Then there is the WOMAN. Pollyanna McIntosh should win an award for finally treating a female villain/anti-hero-hero/monster with sincerity, savvy, intelligence and strength. She’s not just some wild beast caricature but a mother, a hunter, and a survivor all in the beautiful packaging of A WOMAN.
What makes the film sing in my soul are the nuances of control, conformity, stereotypes and lies which are often placed in the script subtly with cruel irony which really speaks to the general constructs of male dominated society. Everyone in this film gets what they deserve and AMEN, AMEN, AMEN to indie films for running away from traditional “Hollywood” clean endings. This is the way the mold should be broken when it comes to new movies in the horror genre. BRAVO!!!!
Go see it now!!!!!
Written by Lucky McKee & Jack Ketchum
Directed by Lucky McKee
Lauren Ashley Carter