May is the kind of horror movie that you think won’t get under your skin, but by the end of the film, you’ll have goosebumps that feel like they’re never going away. It stars Angela Bettis (The Toolbox Murders, Carrie Remake) as the awkward, asocial young adult who never really had any friends but her doll, Suzie, who was given to her by her mother with the quote, “If you can’t find a friend, make one.”
Throughout the movie we are shown various aspects of May’s life, as she tries desperately to gain friends to stop being lonely. Of course, having very little social contact from her childhood has its downside of being socially inept come adulthood. I liked this idea of combining the trope of the lead character as the underdog and ultimately, becoming the monster. Normally, one would think that the monster is what makes a horror film horrifying, and that the monster usually does not inspire sympathy from the audience. This is where the genius of director Lucky McKee comes in. He decides to mix these two tropes together, and it comes out very nicely. Oftentimes, horror movies who go down this road do not really tie these two things seamlessly. Once the underdog becomes a monster, he loses all the sympathy that he has gained from the audience, because his human part becomes thoroughly drowned by his monstrousness. In May, however, the exact opposite happens. When May becomes a monster, she becomes more human. We, as the audience, are given the chance to see the two seemingly-opposing sides to the character, and I think this is why this horror film works best. May ultimately becomes a monster, but I still felt like I rooted for her. I felt her loneliness during the start of the film and finally, her happiness at finally gaining the “perfect” friend towards the end of the film.
This film reminded me of another horror movie I watched recently, Excision. Both films display a similarity in terms of how both of the lead characters are awkward women, and go through drastic steps in order to have some sense of achievement in their lives. Where they differ, however, is through their intentions. Excision’s Pauline (played by AnnaLynne McCord of the 90210 TV series that nobody seems to be watching anymore these days) does whatever she does because of her obsession with blood. May, on the other hand, just wants someone to be there for her. Ultimately, both of their motivations end up in a body count.
I think May is just a hyperbolic way of portraying the repressions brought about by society today, especially in terms of friendship and perfection. Let’s face it: nobody is a perfect friend. How many times have we thought about having that perfect friend, one who does not have any flaws at all, and one who’s always by our side whatever happens? That’s all May ever wanted. And by the end of the movie, it certainly looks like she finally got it.