20 October 2011

The Woman

Directed by: Lucky McKee
Written by: Lucky McKee & Jack Ketchum

Lucky McKee's gory latest lambasts conservatives; it's also a girl-power allegory, a cheeky genre-twister, and exploitation cinema par excellence. Sean Bridgers stars as the patriarch of an ostensibly ordinary American family who abducts from the forest a feral woman (Pollyanna McIntosh)—who seems to be possessed by the Exorcist demon when she utters her guttural, Germanic-sounding growls—and enlists his family in civilizing her: washing off decades of grime, disinfecting and bandaging her wounds. The rape he handles by himself.

It's the kind of story Tarantino would adore: men mistreating women, then getting their comeuppance through spectacularly graphic violence. Initially, the movie playfully reverses horror's typical captor and captive dynamic: the nice-seeming people are the wardens; the "monster," the detainee. There's a joke here too about how basic care might seem, to the unfamiliar or uncomprehending, assaultive, like when you take a dog to get shots: hot water and hydrogen peroxide could be implements of torture even when used correctly.

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