MAY (2002)

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May

MAY (2002)
Written and Directed by Lucky McKee
Available on limited edition Blu-Ray from Second Sight Films

From a young age, having been diagnosed with and bullied for having a lazy eye and forced to wear an eye-patch to improve it, May has been on the quest for perfection. Whilst working as a veterinary assistant at the local animal hospital, she spies the perfect boy for her – an auto body repairer named Adam who has the most perfect hands!

Whilst her weird personality intrigues Adam, May’s social awkwardness and dark appetite could prove to be more than he can handle.

“If you can’t find a friend, make one!” – Something that is taken quite literally in this creepy cult horror from The Woman director Lucky McKee, in his first feature film as writer and director.

Angela Bettis is terrific as lonely, social misfit May who, from a young age, has found solace in her best friend – a doll named Suzie. Gifted to her by her mother, Suzie has been sat encased in a wooden box with glass front throughout her childhood and even now into adulthood after her mother forbade her from ever opening the case and playing with the doll. Nevertheless, a friend is a friend and for May those are short to come by!

With a warped fascination with the gory side of veterinarian practices, May is a odd character indeed. This doesn’t seem to put off love interest and crush Adam (Jeremy Sisto) initially, neither does it May’s lesbian colleague Polly (Anna Faris), but May’s disturbed mind and loneliness can only manage so much before it snaps!

This quirky film follows May’s spiral and descent from an already fractured place with her romantic and social liaisons proving awkward for the audience to watch as it is for the characters involved. Despite her best efforts, it’s clear that May is just a bit too much to handle and, with that, the countdown to her madness being fully realised begins.

Bettis wonderfully switches between two personalities as the quest for the perfect partner fully takes hold. It’s both frightening and tragic, with May’s desperation driving her to do what is necessary to feel seen and be loved. When the horror comes, it’s unflinching and is delivered brutally but with a touch of black humour. May’s constant drive for perfection has made her realise that nobody truly is perfect, but parts of them are…

Filmed in a raw style with very few locations makes the film feel quite gritty and real – an intimate portrayal of one woman’s psychotic breakdown. We’re a product of our upbringing so, having seen the childhood events at the beginning of the movie and the way she is treated by her mother who is seemingly neurotic, it’s hardly a surprise May ends up the way she does.

The supporting cast of Jeremy Sisto and Anna Faris are terrific as the handsome auto body repairer cum horror filmmaker Adam and the lusty, high energy receptionist Polly, whilst Ken Davitian, who you may recognise as Borat’s manager Azamat, provides humour as the foreign veterinarian who is a bit slap-dash and corner-cutting when it comes to saving pets’ lives. Donnie Darko star James Duval also makes an appearance as a young punk rocker named Blank who accidentally discovers one of May’s terrible deeds.

MAY is quite a grungy effort and feels rather bleak at times, but this is what the film is aiming for. Life ain’t a walk in the park and we see this played out before the typical horror fare is delivered in the final quarter of the movie. An uncomfortable watch.

Rating: ★★★½☆

May Second Sight Limited Edition Bluray
May Second Sight Limited Edition Bluray

Second Sight Films have brought out a bumper-packed limited edition release of MAY, as well as offering the on-disc special features of this release as a standard edition Blu-Ray. The limited edition release comes bundled with a rigid slipcase featuring new artwork by Bella Grace, a 70 page book with new essays from Joseph Dwyer, Rachel Knightley, Mary Beth McAndrews and Heather Wixson, and six collectors’ art cards.

MAY – Second Sight Blu-Ray Special Features

New audio commentary with Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

A new film audio commentary with Australian film critic and author, Alexandra Heller-Nicholas, whose clear and witty analysis of the movie is a joy to listen to.

Audio commentary with director Lucky McKee, cinematographer Steve Yedlin, editor Chris Sivertson, and actors Angela Bettis, Nichole Hiltz, and Bret Roberts

As expected, this relaxed audio commentary with Lucky McKee and cast and crew is insightful on the making of the movie, and provides some neat background on the film which any film fan will relish.

Audio commentary with director Lucky McKee, editor Rian Johnson, composer Jammes Luckett, production designer Leslie Keel, and craft services guy, Benji

Another interesting commentary with Lucky McKee but this time with crew members. Lots of laughs to be had with this bunch of friends, and we also get to hear more on the development of Suzie the doll by its creator, Leslie Keel.

The Toymaker (24 mins 49 secs)

A new interview with writer and director Lucky McKee. Lucky talks about his time at USC film school and how May started life as a short film assignment for school to learn how to do different cuts and techniques on film. He discusses how he started as a writer but wanted to direct, and how his interest in filmmaking brought together the group of friends who’d work on each others short movies, many of whom ended up working on May with him and are also interviewed on this disc. Ge also talks about the casting process for the film and scenes that were removed.

Perfect Hands (11 mins 28 secs)

A new interview with actor Jeremy Sisto who plays May’s love interest, Adam. Jeremy talks about his links with Shannon the casting director from whom he got to audition for the part, before discussing what it was like working with Lucky, Angela Bettis, James Duval and Anna Faris. He also shares his experience on working on May.

Blankety Blank (16 mins 59 secs)

A new interview with actor James Duval who stares as Blank the punk rocker in May. James is quite enthuiastic in this interview and shares how proud he is of the movie. He talks about the connection of the character of Blank, a role which he landed after first auditioning for Adam. He reveals his enjoyment working with Lucky who brought out his inner clown, the two sharing many laughs on set. He talks about the organic way of working with Lucky and that, despite the film’s content, it was very light-hearted on set.

How To Execute A Murder (13 mins 12 secs)

A new interview with cinematographer Steve Yedlin who started volunteering on short films during his time at USC. He talks about how he first worked with Rian Johnson on Evil Demon Golfball From Hell for a school project. He also shares his love for the script of May, and discusses elements of cinematography on the film, such as lighting the scenes and lenses used.

Peeling Back The Layers (19 mins 24 secs)

A new interview with editor Rian Johnson, who talks about meeting Lucky and their circle of friends. He reveals he was never a horror guy, but the story of May appealed. He mentions how he initially wanted to be an editor on leaving school but has since gone into directing. For May, he did manage to direct a little scene of the the blood seeping into the spilled milk. He speaks about how collaborative the whole process is working with Lucky and the others, and how Lucky knew what feel he wanted for the film edits, which Rian knew how to deliver in the cutting room.

Jack and Jill (20 mins 54 secs)

A new interview with editor Chris Sivertson who had a brief appearance in the film and made the short Jack and Jill film we see in May that the character of Adam created. Chris talks about his ideas behind the short film, and also about the feature of May itself, from the casting and Angela’s performance to seeing Rian’s cut of the ending scene for the first time.

In The Cut (17 mins 34 secs)

In this new interview with editor Kevin Ford, we learn about his childhood friendship and rivalry with Lucky, and how the two bonded over filmmaking. Knowing he wanted to be an editor since the age of 11, his career path in editing led him to work on May, and was brought on for the behind-the-scenes photography.

Blood, Gore and Rock ‘n’ Roll (24 mins 8 secs)

In this new interview, composer Jammes Luckett talks about her friendship with Lucky, starting at USC where they ended up in bands together, wrote music and shared ideas. She was involved in his first version of May as a short film at USC, and years later she worked on the feature with him, doing the marketing and even bits on set like a walk-on background part. She also talks about how Lucky was also a fan of her solo music and how she ended up working on the music for May years before the feature came to life.

From Frankenstein to May: Miranda Corcoran on May (21 mins 8 secs)

A video essay style featurette on the history of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and how May appropriates it with its story of loneliness and desire. A very detailed and interesting analysis on the links between the two from Mirana Corcoran.

Bits and Pieces: On the set of May (14 mins 43 secs)

Behind the scenes footage from the May shoot, including the laundrette scene, the hand reveal in the cool box and the scenes with Blank on the couch and in the kitchen.

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About Bat 4447 Articles
I love practical effects, stop-motion animation and gore, but most of all I love a good story! I adore B-movies and exploitation films in many of their guises and also have a soft spot for creature features. I review a wide range of media including movies, TV series, books and videogames. I'm a massive fan of author Hunter S. Thompson and I enjoy various genre of videogames with Kingdom Hearts and Harvest Moon two of my all time favs. Currently playing: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Yakuza Zero and Mafia III.

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