May is a very different kind of horror movie. Mainly, it is entirely dependent upon it’s cast of characters who range of delightfully quirky, to downright scary and quirky. Yes, while the film does share some unfortunate traits among other horror films (off the top of my head I have to note the terrible box art) for the most part May keeps itself above par with the rest. The film keeps its sense of humor about it, while still recognizing the sad and disturbing bits lurking underneath the surface. It’s a haunting drama that begins charming and ends tragic.
The central character of May is someone keenly relatable. She was born with a noticeable trait, one lazy eye, which set her apart from the rest of her friends. Her mother helps the best she can by giving her a doll encased in glass, noting that if you can’t find a friend, you could always make one. This tidbit of info is lodged in the back of both May’s mind, and the mind of the audience. I’m pretty sure we all know where this is headed. What makes the film work however isn’t seeing what will happen, but how it happens.
May makes new friends at the veterinarian clinic she works at, and forms a strange crush on the boy across the street who seems very good with his hands. She likes this, and it’s a wonder to focus in on May’s attention while she spends time with her new acquaintances. While rarely looking at them in the eyes, she pays very close attention to the parts she does admire, be it hands, neck, or legs. As someone who spent the early days of her life with the distraction of an imperfection, it is interesting to see her get distracted by the perfected parts of other people.
Like our old horror friend Carrie, May is subject to criticism for her oddness, but the movie reflects our current age and its appreciation for uniqueness. May’s new boy friend (emphasis on “friend”) notes, “I like weird,” but the guy is smart and knows when weird is getting a little, well, too weird. She likes his experimental horror films a bit too much, has some serious kissing issues, and frequently yells at someone he has never seen in her apartment. He takes a few steps back, and she starts to come forward.
The last act of the film turns into a bit of a slasher picture. I’m sure many of the people who probably pick this one up on a whim are probably hoping for something like that. Artistically, I was a little turned off by the sudden up-turn in violence. Something about the first three quarters of the film, where you know you’re watching a horror film, but there’s that feeling inside where you hope it doesn’t have to be, is simply fantastic. I wish we only just knew so much about what May was doing, rather than see so much of it. That’s just me.
May is something very different catered to the horror crowd. I’d say it’s probably one of the best overlooked horror films I’ve seen. Like some of the best, there are truly haunting moments hidden away in the picture, and when they come alive they aren’t soon forgotten.