Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Woman (USA, 2011)

Nine Things About the Movie The Woman

1. This upsetting movie is based on Jack Ketchum’s novel of the same name. If you don’t know Jack Ketchum, he writes award-winning, and controversial, horror novels.

2. It’s the sequel to the movie Offspring. But you don’t really need to have seen that movie first. In fact, Offspring was pretty terrible. This movie pretty much stands alone..

3. There’s a very early scene in the film during a barbecue, when a boy named Brian witnesses a girl be bullied and abused by other kids. Brian just looks the other way and shoots basketball. It’s a very chilling scene, and lets you know right away that something is Not Right.

4.  The main plot is about about a feral woman roaming the woods outside of town (if you have seen Offspring, you get the backstory of that). She is found by Chris, Brian’s father. He is a nice conservative lawyer, and he takes her back home. Then he chains her up in the cellar.

5. Chris wants to make the woman he found “civilized”, which really just means he wants to do terrible things to her. He makes his family witness and participate. He especially wants to make sure his son follows in his footsteps.

6. One thing that makes the movie so disturbing is the way we learn about the rest of Chris’s family - his wife and two daughters. Nothing outright is told to us, but we slowly figure out that the whole family is disturbed… for different reasons.

7. The performances of the cast are all solid. Given the sensitive and horrific subject matter, the actors stay true to their characters. This is especially true of Zach Rand, who plays Brian, and Pollyanna McIntosh who plays The Woman.

8. The final act of the movie is outrageous and savage. It’s a combination of physical violence, psychological terror, and unexpected plot twists that made my jaw drop. It’s up to the viewer to decide if it has a happy ending or not.

9. The Woman goes into the Hall of Fame of dysfunctional family movies. It is mercilessly misogynistic and yet ferociously feminist. It’s not for all audiences. But it is a very effective portrayal of the various cruelties that humans put each other through.