Hey, bloggers! It's February again and in the horror world, that means it is Women in Horror Month! How apropos is it that the post I had scheduled to run today would actually fit into this? Freaky!
It's been a heck of a long wait for this one, bloggers! I had totally forgotten about The Woman until I saw it at the video store the other day (yeah, a video store! They still have those!). The Jack Ketchum book of the same name that this movie is based off of is a true masterpiece in horror, as it is one of the most horrific tales I have ever read - in a good and a bad way, if that is possible. Ketchum is known for his balls-out horror yarns that pull no punches, and this adaptation is no exception. (Psst, you can read my review of the book here.)
As established in the previous film Offspring (which by the way is an okay little horror flick despite its bad actors and low budget - I also reviewed that movie here - am I a shameless self-promoter or what?!) and the books, the titular character The Woman is the last of a clan of feral cannibals who once savaged the woods and caves where they lived. When lawyer Chris Cleek, a.k.a. The Worst Father/Husband/Man in the History of the World, stumbles upon The Woman while out hunting, he decides to capture her and keep her locked in his cellar in an attempt to teach her how to act more civilized. His brow-beaten wife and daughter and his douchebag son are brought along for the ride.
The Woman is an interesting little concoction because the book and the screenplay were written simultaneously by author Jack Ketchum and director Lucky McKee. This is probably the reason why the book and film follow each other so closely, except for the fact that the movie sets a much different tone than the book. Ketchum's The Woman was a very dark, gory, and disturbing look not just into what Chris does to The Woman but into the dynamics of this intensely screwed up family. Though The Woman herself no doubt has a gross, cannibalistic, and brutal nature, that doesn't even seem to compare to the atrocities committed by Chris Cleek alone. His power over the people around him is so severe that you find yourself hating every character at one point or another because they can't take down this one little man.
And I'll be damned if Pollyana McIntosh (what a name, eh?) doesn't deliver with every fiber of her being in her portrayal of The Woman. She gave a standout performance in the same role in Offspring, especially in one of those last moments where she starts eating a guy's brains out of his head, so it's great that the filmmakers had the foresight to keep her character around and center another story around The Woman. One thing I wish Lucky and crew would have done was to include subtitles for The Woman's strange made-up language. I mean, mostly you get the gist of what she's saying from her expression and gestures but especially in the part where she asks Peg for help from her father, calling her "Mother" because she is somehow able to sense that Peg is pregnant, I think it would have helped to have the subtitles to show early on the connection formed between Peg and The Woman.
Offspring, the filmmakers leave nothing to the imagination and show the audience these kills with all the blood and intestines and organs in their arsenal.
I think The Woman is looked at as a "love it or hate it" movie (or an "understand it or don't understand it" movie) and it may not be for everyone (especially this guy) but I'm one of the ones that loved it. It is probably the best adaptation of Ketchum's work so far, and though the handling of the material at some parts is not to my liking, the performances, editing, and effects more than make up for it.
P.S. Jack Ketchum rules!