Star – Pollyanna McIntosh
Genre – Horror
Run Time – 1 hr 40 minutes
Certificate – 18
Country – U.S.A.
Awards – 12 Wins & 4 Nominations
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Whereas most feminist in Hollywood are getting their knickers in a twist over the metoo thing some are on screen kicking male ass that way, The Woman (2011), an example of. The striking Scottish Actress Pollyanna McIntosh of The Walking Dead fame is one of those chicks. This mid budget horror film is a good kick in the nuts for misogynist man-kind. Every male in this is a b*stard and every woman is angry because of it.
It’s the sequel to ‘Offspring’, a film I have not seen yet, and taken from the book of the same name, both released simultaneously. The Woman is directed by the wonderfully named Lucky McKee, a laid back career horror film director who does just enough work to pay the bills, just his fifth film in ten years. This is above average though so expect something special from him soon.
Pollyanna McIntosh … The Woman
Brandon Gerald Fuller … Baby
Lauren Ashley Carter … Peggy Cleek
Chris Krzykowski … Roger
Sean Bridgers … Chris Cleek
Angela Bettis … Belle Cleek
Marcia Bennett … Deanna
Shyla Molhusen … Darlin’ Cleek
Zach Rand … Brian Cleek
We pick up from film one as a feral woman covered in grime with rotting teeth in the backwoods down by the river with what appears to be her child. A wolf, apparently tamed by the feral woman, appears and circles the infant. The woman is the last remaining member of an apparent cannibalistic tribe that has roamed the northeast coast of America for decades (as seen in the 2009 film Offspring).
Chris Cleek (Sean Bridgers), a country lawyer, lives with his dysfunctional family not too far from those hills and woods. His oldest daughter, Peggy (Lauren Ashley Carter) is at high school with anxiety issues and his only son, Brian (Zach Rand), a sociopath in the making, 3-year-old Darlin (Shyla Molhusen) making up the numbers. His downtrodden wife Belle (Angela Bettis) is on the end of his bullying the most.
While out hunting deep in the woods, Chris happens upon the woman, who is bathing by the stream. Intrigued, he returns with a net to capture her. He punches her out and returns home with to chain her in a barn cellar, and directs his family to participate in “civilizing” her.
Over the following days the dysfunctional Cleek family seems to go along with it, even the wife. Brian is misogynist and enjoys causing pain to others. This woman will be perfect for that. Dad gives the appearance of a smart, charming man to friends and work acquaintances but a real bastard at home.
Dad’s first attempt to break the woman results in her angrily biting off and eating the end of his ring finger. This is no ordinary woman as she grins menacingly back at her potential next feed. Chris and the wife begin to argue over her presence as Chris clearly enjoying the power over the woman in the barn. The youngest daughter, Darlin (Shyla Molhusen), is more sympathetic and attempts to befriend the imprisoned woman.
The misogynist behavior accelerates by bathing the woman with boiling water and later decides to scrub her down with a high-pressure power washer. Peggy rushes to the woman’s aid and turns off the washer. A Chris’s action worsens the woman anger seethes and he and only hope she doesn’t get lose.
The message is clear in this film – all men are b*stards! I don’t mind that vibe and have seen thee Sapphic slashers before but if you watch them in the cinema all the girls roar for the women and you feel small. Guys in the third world may treat women badly but not in the west. I just don’t believe all this #metoo crap.
As horror films go its nothing special and not enough violence until the end, more a message piece. It’s well written though and has its own sharp and smart style that lifts it above general American horrors in this genre. The gentle twist at the end works if you have not seen Offspring and that ending ambiguous, bloody and mischievous to set up film three.
Pollyanna McIntosh is powerful in the lead as the Amazonian meet eater and you know what’s coming for the men as her eyes narrow through the film and she plots her escape. It’s a bit bloody in that menstrual metaphor way these films often end up and the males so ghastly in the film you can’t help but want them to be bludgeoned and chopped. Several aspects of the film were left on the cutting room floor, most notably an entire subplot concerning Peg’s psychological state and her sexuality, including a sexual relationship between her and her teacher. That cut is obvious in the film and you do wonder why it was cut in the first place as the film clearly has sexual tension throughout and what it’s about. Good fun horror though and one to catch on TV if you like your horror.
Imdb.com –6.0 /10.0 (18,345votes)
Rottentomatos.com – 71% critic’s approval
Metacritic.com – 58% critic’s approval