October Horror Movie Challenge: MAY (2002)


Stephen King has gone on multiple times to discuss the real-life influences behind the title character of his first novel, Carrie, namely two girls whom he knew of in high school who were spectacularly awkward and unpopular and the brunt of much social injustice. One of these girls he reveals eventually went on to marry and raise a family only to later then kill herself. I wonder if someone like this was lurking in the back of Lucky McKee’s mind when he made MAY (2002). The key difference is that May Canady, as superbly portrayed by Angela Bettis, is more forcefully weird than Carrie White ever was. With Carrie, you always got the impression that her ridicule was more circumstantial than due to any defunct within her actual character, barring timidity and naivety. But May is strange; she thinks wiping blood on her face from her boyfriend’s bitten lip is what you’re supposed to do. When she finds out that it isn’t, she splinters. Regardless that this criticism is entirely deserved, May’s humiliation is palpable, achingly so. In certain moments I felt like this was not a movie I should be watching. This was something private; May’s shame was too raw, too real to be accepted as mere entertainment. The film takes the painful awkwardness we all feel at some point in our lives, hoping it will never be seen by another living soul, and blows it up on the big screen for all of us to watch. The movie falls back into a more routine horror pattern during its climax, but then this too is pushed just an inch further into the nocturnal with the closing shots. Whether you accept it as reality or delusion, it matters not. It simply reasserts the sad fact that May is, in the end, alone. You probably know a girl just like her.

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