The Films of 2011 – #9 The Woman
Clocking in at Number 9 is my “favourite” horror film of this year. To say I “enjoyed” it feels wrong when dealing with a film with subject matter as bleak and uncompromising as this.. Perhaps then I hated it but with great relish.
Based on a novel by one of America’s darkest new voices (Jack Ketchum), Lucky McKee’s film demonstrates an evolution of his directing powers since 2008’s “Red.” What we have here is the tale of a grunting, animalistic, wild, cannibalistic female (apparently left over from the end of Ketchum’s “Offspring”) who stumbles into the path of pillar-of-society, local lawyer and father of two, played by Sean Bridgers. Bridgers’ character decides in his infinite wisdom that he will capture this force of nature and train her to behave in civilised society. Divulging much more would rob the film of its twists & overall power, so I guess you’ll have to watch it now to find out what happens.
To say this film is brutal would be an understatement. Scenes between The Woman and The Lawyer ooze tension from every sweaty pore and clammy palm with the threat of violence or worse hanging in the air at every moment. There is no doubt that this is one of those films that will linger on in your mind.. Case in point, for some masochistic reason, I subjected myself to Megan is Missing, The Human Centipede 2 and this over the course of one weekend, and yet of the 3, this remains the most resonant.
The film, whilst profoundly powerful, isn’t entirely perfect – overwrought rawk ballads blare away on the soundtrack for so long that it begins to feel like a bad joke, and some of the peripheral characters are portrayed by actors who may well deserve a lifelong career in low budget independent fare. However, by the time the credits roll, this will be the least of your concerns. The beautiful Pollyana McIntosh’s turn as the guttural grotesque around which this drama unfolds is a genuine revelation – one that would suggest we shall be seeing plenty more of her in the future.
Ketchum & McKee have created a film that feels like late-era psychological Cronenberg mixed with body-horror fetishisation of early Clive Barker writing. Horror has a new voice, and it’s well worth a listen.
Have a look at the trailer below, and seek The Woman out if you’re brave enough.
Please come back at the same time tomorrow to see my pick for Film #8 of 2011. With any luck it will feature less ritual humiliation and dismemberment.
The Clockwork Shorts 2011 retrospective can be browsed for your pleasure right HERE