The Woman Review

The Woman (2011)

Starring: Pollyanna McIntosh, Sean Bridgers, Lauren Ashley Carter
Directed by: Lucky McKee

Based on the novel written by Lucky McKee and Jack Ketchum, The Woman is a surefire disturbing mess. And I mean that in a good way!

In The Woman, a country lawyer jeopardizes the lives of his family when he captures and tries to civilize a woman who just so happens to be the final remaining member of a violent, cannibalistic clan.

I have to say, I need to read more Jack Ketchum. From what I understand, this is actually the third installment in a series. The second, The Offspring, will be reviewed soon and, well, I'll need to be brought up to speed on the first installment. If there's ever been an author who could disturb the hair off your arms, this is the guy to do it. And for those wondering, you don't necessarily have to watch the previous installments to be able to get into the movies. They work very well as stand-alone titles.

The Woman is easily one of my top favorite disturbing movies. The plot is multifaceted, focusing not just on the titular Woman, but also the various troubles plaguing the Cleek family: teen pregnancy, abuse, rape. It's a fucked up scenario.

I liked how the story arc, with all the characters and side plots, reveals the fact that it's not always the uncivilized that are the monsters. As a matter of fact, there is way more to this family than meets the eye and you don't get that until you think you've learned all there is to know about them already.

One of the best parts of this movie has to be the characters. For some of them, namely the father, Chris Cleek (played by Sean Bridgers), and the son, Brian (Zach Rand), there is a stark contrast between how you initially see the character versus who they really are. Chris's changes seem to come about early on, but capturing the woman (Pollyanna McIntosh) is merely the tip of the iceberg for this sicko. Sadly, Brian's deal is more so falling into line with the perverseness of his father, though a little bit less in the range of brutality and more sexually. They're both rather huge assholes, though.

The women of the family have their own issues to deal with as Peggy is showing textbook signs of pregnancy and Belle must struggle with the mental anguish of knowing her husband has captured a feral woman.

Darlin's just a li'l darlin', so that's at least good.

For the hour and forty-three minutes this movie runs, there is some of the best overall atmosphere you can get from a movie of this kind. Much of it is spent in the basement-turned-dungeon where the woman is kept. In this sick little torture dungeon, he essentially keeps her strung up like she's auditioning for a spot in Soundgarden's video for Jesus Christ Pose.

The juxtaposition of sanity between the perfect white bread homestead and the bat shit insane idea of forcefully trying to integrate the woman into society help add to the tension and atmosphere of the film. I personally truly enjoyed watching this movie move to a psychotic crescendo towards the end. It does begin a little slow for the first 20 minutes or so, but when it begins to pick up, it doesn't let any slack out at all.

There are some really good practical effects in The Woman. Much like its predecessor, it's rather gory when the blood flows. Early int he film, there's a scene where Chris gets a little too close and the woman takes a finger off. I loved watching her spit his wedding band out onto the floor. Just desserts and all. The gore really picks up towards the end of the film, though, but I won't spoil any of that. You'll just have to see the movie to understand.

Depending on how you view things, The Woman is definitely a disturbing film to behold. On one hand, it's just morbid, this family takes a woman from the wild and tries to force her to become a "normal" human. On the other hand, they themselves are far from normal. What they're doing is more barbaric than most anything one can really imagine, all in the name of normality.

This is a very good film, regardless of how you take it in, so at that, I would suggest it to all Jack Ketchum fans, all horror fans,, all fans of disturbing movies, goddammit, everybody needs to see this movie! As I said before, it's part of a trilogy, but works as a stand-alone feature. You will not be disappointed by the gore, the dialogue, the twists. It's all good in this neighborhood!




Special Effects

Overall Rating: Down To The Bone

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