It’s always gratifying when a film lives up to the heaps of hype dished upon it by early reviewers. Too often mediocrity is promoted as top notch product due to inde industry relationships, and when a buddy is at the helm of promotion, you can almost guarantee you’re being sold a steaming hot pile of dog shit, or at least something that resembles the natural excrement. Writer/director Lucky McKee may have some pals in high places, they didn’t need to conjure complete untruths or outrageous hyperbole to sell The Woman: this is a strong enough film to win viewers over with its brutally straight forward degn.
The story behind the picture is both creepy and strangely believable; there are some people in this world that will do some strange, sadistic shit, and a few of those personalities are brought to light in this unsettling showcase. There’s nothing typical about the Cleek family, which is a major part of the paradox, as this group looks like the Brady Bunch to the uninformed eye. The Brady Bunch they are not, they’re something far more nister, and “the woman”, a wandering, primitive stranger is about to learn that the hard way. But that’s not the deepest beauty the picture proffers. It’s the revenge element of the picture, and the sharp humor that builds to a violence ridden summit that make the picture so damn memorable.
The performances from our focal cast (Chris, Belle, Peggy, Darlin', and Brian Cleek, as well as the stranger) are gnificant in the sense that they’re not mply sound performances, they’re performances molded to a bowl of dark sadism and double personalities. From the outde in everything seems so squeaky clean, but behind closed doors there’s, a masve character dismilarity that each actor treats with care. Sean Bridgers is particularly eerie in his portrayal of the family father. His nonchalant and poignant free humor stings, but still manages legitimate laughs. Genre veteran Angela Bettis does a fine job as his conflicted wife, and industry neophyte, Lauren Ashley Carter is superb as the emotionally distressed daughter who stands as one of the extreme few players with a semi-logical thought process. Praise issued to “The Family”, I must applaud Pollyanna McIntosh, who sells her character through pure phycal acting. For a figure with… virtually zero dialogue (there are some cool growls, grunts and snarls), she sure as hell is memorable.
The hype you’ve read in regards to this film is deserved, in a major way. It’s chilling, frightening at times, gory in some sequences (FX wizard Robert Kurtzman handles the sticky stuff and gnawed flesh), and extremely memorable. A shitload of heart and pason went into the making of this film, and it shows from moment one until the final credits have closed.