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The Woman (Review)

The Woman (Review)

The dark side to the American family
Aug 22, 2011
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The Woman
Genre: Crime, Drama, Horror Release Date: 18/8/2011 Runtime: 101 minutes Country: USA


Director:  Lucky McKee Writer(s): 
Jack Ketchum

Lucky McKee

Cast: Angela Bettis, Carlee Baker, Lauren Ashley Carter, Marcia Bennett, Sean Bridgers, Shana Barry
The Woman (Review), reviewed by Tom Clift on 2011-08-22T12:23:05+00:00 rating 3.5 out of5

Less of a horror movie and more of a jet-black satire of good ole’ fashioned American family values, The Woman tackles gender politics in a way you’ve never seen them tackled before. A disturbing deconstruction of misogyny and the abuses of women in both genre films and in greater Western society, the movie is a very new twist on a fish-out of water tale, as director Lucky McKee blurs the lines between civilization and brutality in a manner that is memorable, disconcerting, mordantly cheery and unflinchingly bloody.

From the outside Chris McKee (played by Will Ferrell’s look-alike Sean Bridgers) appears to be an all American father with the perfect nuclear family to match. Behind closed doors however, he is a psychopathic woman-hating monster who domineers his wife and daughters with the constant threat of violence, and is already training his adolescent son to follow in his footstep. So insane is the family patriarch that when he discovers a feral woman of unknown origins living in the woods near his secluded family property (played with brave intensity by Pollyanna McIntosh), he decides the best thing to do is to chain her up, bring her home and try to civilize her.

wom51 e1313977830495 The Woman (Review)

Although the film is named after the McKee’s primitive house guest, it is the insidious, abusive relationships between the core-family members that prove most disturbing.  Bridger’s performance is terrifyingly believable and enormously unsettling as outwardly-chipper, inwardly hateful head of the family, a man who feels justified in striking out whenever a woman challenges his authority. At other times, the exact nature of his abuse is left to be inferred by viewer, and is all the more unpleasant because of it. The notion that this man can teach a woman to be human when he barely qualifies as member of the species himself is borderline laughable, and I don’t think I’m spoiling anything to say that it ultimately comes to no good end for anybody.

At times, The Woman has an unfortunate lack a polish that one can only assume is reflective of its rather insubstantial budget. Several of the supporting performances also leave a lot to be desired, and some of the editing — especially in the beginning and at the climax — makes the film feel more like a run-of-the-mill independent horror movie than in actuality it is. In spite of this, McKee takes the premise of his film far, delivering a final product where the horrific violence actually serves a greater thematic purpose. It is no accident who lives and who dies by the end of this visceral tale, and audiences will be left with little doubt as to what the real animals actually look like.

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