Challenging horror from the minds of Lucky McKee and Jack Ketchum
(18) 98 min
There has been a spate of interesting indie horror recently, films like Deadgirl, The Loved Ones and Red, White & Blue have brought a real intelligence to the genre. A challenging leftfield take on the idea of what is horror. The Woman continues this trend bringing subversion to suburbia.
Supposed regular ‘family man’ Chris Cleek (Sean Bridgers) captures a feral woman (Pollyanna McIntosh) he encounters in the woods, imprisoning her in their fruit cellar telling his family he intends to ‘civilise’ her and ‘free her from her baser instincts’. It’s a twisted ‘project’ for the whole family, his son, Brian (Zach Rand) takes to the task with sadistic glee taking out his petty frustrations on this chained captive woman. His wife (Angela Bettis) is questioning but compliant while elder daughter (Lauren Ashley Carter) is the only dissenting voice.
There have been some accusations of misogyny but they are completely unfounded you never once feel empathy for the male perpetrators, the only sympathetic characters are female. It’s a particularly intense, near mute, performance from McIntosh bristling with repressed rage and simmering hatred. You know there will be bloody retribution but this is a unique take on the revenge format (as seen in the likes of Last House on the Left and I Spit on Your Grave). By positioning the gruesome action within the domestic setting director Lucky McKee and co-writer Jack Ketchum hold a mirror up to the violence inherent in society. You might not like what you see.