stars Sean Bridgers, Angela Bettis and Pollyanna McIntosh; Lucky McKee directs.
We had high hopes for Lucky McKee's The Woman, we really did. The horror film, about a man that finds a feral woman and adds her to his family, opened in Houston over the weekend and our anticipation had us wiggling in our seat. Guts, gore, bloody attacks and counterattacks by the father of the family (played by Sean Bridgers of HBO's Deadwood), his much abused wife (Angela Bettis) and the woman he's captured (Pollyanna McIntosh), all wrapped around a story of feminism and revenge. With the story set at the family farm, the action was sure to include hatches, pitchforks and other very sharp tools that were sure to be handy. (It sounded like Christmas come early.)
Viewers who saw a midnight screening of the film at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival reportedly became sick while watching it. One unhappy audience member supposedly said, "The Woman ought to be confiscated, burned. There's no value in showing this to anyone."
On the other hand, critics have been singing its praises since that screening, applauding it for being, as Benji Carver of www.filmschoolrejects.com, claimed, "a harrowing and often darkly hilarious horror satire about family values, feminism, and the nature of violence..." Carver gave it an A- rating. (Read his review here.)
We couldn't wait to see who was right.
Then we saw it. And yes, there's guts and gore. Yes, the crazy father is appropriately crazy. Yes, the feral woman is animal-like and wild. Yes, there's lots of beating and believable bleeding. All the elements were there, but two-thirds into the film, we were yawning. Before the credits rolled, we were already thinking about the grocery shopping we had to do on the way home.
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Well, damn. The Woman didn't scare us at all. Never mind throwing up, we never even once gagged. We found the use of children in the cast disturbing, but hey, they weren't our kids, so after a while, even that didn't bother us all that much. We looked for, but didn't find, any feminist moral to the story. Carver's "darkly hilarious horror satire" wasn't anywhere to be found.
It's violent, creepy and wanders into sadistic territory, as we expected. It's just that it didn't do it with much style or elements of surprise. There wasn't anything new about it. At all.
Instead of nightmarish images that other horror films seared into our brain, The Woman came and went without much of a flicker. All in all, we have to file it in the "Two Hours of My Life that I'll Never Get Back" category.
The Woman is showing at AMC Studio 30, AMC Willowbrook 24 and AMC Gulf Pointe 30 through Friday. For tickets, visit www.amctheatres.com.