May was a film that I have wanted to see since I was in high school. My friends had been talking about it for a quite a while, at the time it was released in the cinemas here in the Philippines. They kind of kept bugging me to see it but I never did. I kept wondering what it was that was so special about this film. While they were “fan-girling” over the film, they managed to basically just tell me most of the story’s main points. They managed to spoil the main plot twists of the film so before I even watched it in class, I knew that she was going to murder people and sew their body parts together. I also knew that in the end, the “doll” would come alive. As a movie-enthusiast, this frustrates me because I now did not have the capacity to genuinely react to these scenes. I already expected these things to happen.
What I didn’t expect to happen though, are the most awkward scenes I have ever witnessed in a movie. I think most of my horror for this film was not from the killing and slashing people to bits part of the movie but the part where May had to interact with people. The interactions with Adam were the worst. The film had already built up that May admired this man very much. The first time they met, I felt what people usually call “second-hand” embarrassment. If I were in that situation, I would probably be extremely traumatized by my actions. I felt so embarrassed for her I had to look away or cover my eyes. It was a different kind of horror I felt, but it was horror nonetheless. I guess, in that aspect, the movie had effectively employed the use of affect horror, eliciting emotions from the audience by “horrifying” them with these extremely awkward scenes.
“I never had a boyfriend before”. Oh God.
One would expect, initially, a character like May to be the victim of the monster. She’s an awkward, wiry girl who looks like a good strong gust could blow her away. She’s also got the strange doll Suzie that she talks to, pertaining to Suzie as her best friend. I can’t help but feel that this strange girl, despite the weird quirks, was going to be the victim of the horror story. She looked like she was innocent enough. The doll’s glass case slowly cracking and breaking looked like it was caused by something supernatural. If I hadn’t known about the plot twists in the first place, I would have thought this supernatural force would victimize May.
This is one of the few films in class where the main character is the essential monster character, kind of like the film “Voice”. It could be argued that the Frankenstein creation that May made could also be the monster, as it surprises the audience with its supernatural coming-to-life. But the central monster character is definitely May herself. It is definitely the changes in her personality, the slow breakdown of her already fragile sanity, and the actions she made to create her “friend”, that leave the audience in amazement and fear of what human beings are capable of doing just to feel like they have a friend.