Today The Gore Splattered Corner welcomes a very special guest, our friend Chris Cummings. Chris who is a regular contributor and reviewer for Nerdly also writes for his own site The Cinephiliacs and is currently working on his debut novel Silversoil, you can check out their Facebook page here for updates. We are very honoured to have Chris over to The Gore Splattered Corner, and also very excited to announce he is preparing an exclusive short story for us to add to our upcoming fiction section (stay tuned for details)…
The Woman (2011) Chris Cummings.
I wanted to begin this little review by saying what an honour and pleasure it is to be guest-writing for “Stigmatophilia’s gore splattered corner of insanity”. This gory, grimy little internet-cave has been my go-to place for brilliantly written and entertaining writing regarding all things horror since its inception, and I am so happy to be putting my two pennies in the drawer here.
I decided, after much deliberation, that I would write a review of a recent film, and once I decided on something recent, I thought I’d make it a film that stands out to me as one of my favourite horror movies in the last fifteen years. The Woman.
Let me say the name “Lucky McKee”, and many horror aficionados will be familiar with the name. The guy who directed cult-favourite sewing-human-parts-together flick “May”, and “The Woods”, took to the camera in 2011 and created a film about a feral woman who is captured, locked in a cabin/bunker by a masochistic bloke masquerading as a “family man” and tortured as the psychopathic fellow and his family attempt to civilize the wild woman. There’s obviously more to it than that, but I won’t spoil all the twisty turns, or the specific plot points, in case you, person reading this, have yet to see this film.
The woman herself is played by Scottish actress Polyanna McIntosh (Exam), and, by golly, gosh darn-it, fuck-a-duck, is she good. Her performance is exceptional, especially when one considers that her dialogue is limited to screams, groans and grunts. The psychotic faux-family-guy is played by Sean Bridgers (Deadwood), and his subtle nastiness is very well executed. He is vile, but in a way that doesn’t, most of the time anyway, feel forced or cartoonish. He is the neighbour who wishes you a good morning before going back indoors and nailing his pet budgie to the wall. Yeah, that guy. Angela Bettis, who worked with Lucky McKee in May, plays the wife of said loon, and she does a good job of portraying a downtrodden lady who fears her husband’s capabilities.
There is tension in the scenes where the family are in shot together, with the father attempting to teach his teenage son how to get what he wants by any means necessary, while the mother does her best to keep her daughters from getting too close to the monstrous side of their Dad. It’s all very uncomfortable and makes for an interesting, and twisted dynamic. The scenes in which the family meet “The Woman” are some of the best, and allow us to see the individual aspects of each family member’s inner thoughts.
“The Woman” is one of those films that will divide opinion. Some might not like it, some might call it a less-extreme version of other movies in which feral characters are abused, and some might find the scenes of torture to be a little too much, but I think this is a film all about survival, about the power of a woman, and about how good, and I use the term loosely, can often overcome evil, whatever that means.
A committed cast, a solid screenplay, and a fantastic lead performance makes this one of those horror flicks I go back to on a semi-regular basis. Horror, to me, should cause discomfort, and this does that. It should also provide plenty of blood and wiggly insidey bits, which this also does. I’m not the biggest fan of many of today’s current horror movies, but “The Woman” surprised me in a good way, and gave me a warm feeling that there are still some voices in today’s scene worth listening out for.