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The Woman

by

Jeff Nelson

The Woman is a dreadful movie that I recommend staying far away from.

The Woman
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Mainstream moviegoers and hardcore horror fans hold a very different opinion on torture porn. A lot of the general population claim a lot of movies are torture porn when they really aren't. However, many horror fans believe that none of these films fall into this category and that it's a very different subject. Well, The Woman certainly does deserve the label of torture porn. It originally premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, where it stirred up quite a bit of controversy. A man apparently shouted out during the screening calling it garbage and misogynistic. This created a lot of interest from many moviegoers. Whenever controversy surrounds a movie being disturbing, this unusually attracts many moviegoers. Director Lucky McKee is known to have disturbing content in his work. I enjoyed McKee's May, otherwise, I have not been a fan of either of the movies they have been involved with. However, I was still interested in checking out The Woman to see if it is worthy of whether or not of the high amount of controversy.

When hunter and backwoods lawyer Chris Cleek brings home a feral woman he found lurking in the woods, he locks her in the shed and orders his family to actively participate in her "civilization." They take to the task with varying enthusiasm. The more The Woman resists the family's attempts to make her human, the farther away the family gets from true humanity. Doesn't this sound familiar? Sure, a few of the story elements are swapped around, but the general concept and some major events are very similar to other movies such as Deadgirl and The Girl Next Door. To put it simply, everything from the plot to the characters are distasteful. To be honest, I don't see McKee's attempt of making this movie have components to show power in female roles. The entire flick does nothing but try o shock the audience time and time again with treating The Woman, the daughter of the family, the wife, and the school teacher like dirt. He can call it social commentary all he wants, I call it misogyny. For a movie that promises to be brutal and unflinching, it doesn't come close to the disturbing content seen in other recent flicks. When there isn't very much shocking content, what does that leave us with? A flick trying way too hard to shock the audience. Mainstream audiences will find this upsetting, but hardcore horror fans will find this to be nothing compared to other recent movies. From the beginning to the end, there are no characters to feel attached to. While I was rooting for the mother in the beginning, that soon disappeared after her character proved to be useless and weak. The feral woman is over-the-top, yet a letdown. The role has a few brutal moments, such as biting off a finger, but I expected a much better revenge sequence than what is provided. It felt that The Woman overcame her imprisonment too easily. To put it simply, the script is a mess. It starts off poor and only goes downhill from there. I found myself laughing at quite a few lines of dialogue and then realized that those scenes weren't meant to be funny. I simply don't understand who would fund this screenplay.

Nobody should be expecting excellent acting out of this. Even with the genre considered, with a screenplay such as this, it isn't fair to expect anything good out of this cast. The most effective performance is by Sean Bridgers as Chris Cleek. He's the most despicable character, as he's meant to be. The feral woman may be primitive and from the wild, but who is really the uncivilized monster? He represents the character just as he should. I enjoyed Angela Bettis's acting talent in other movies, such as May, but she really doesn't do anything. I don't understand what made Bettis choose to portray such a meaningless role. The rest of the acting is amateurish and gets extremely horrible at times. As I mentioned, if you still end up watching The Woman, you shouldn't' be expecting good acting from this.

I can't imagine The Woman being too difficult to film. There aren't too many sequences that require gags. Even the appearance of the flick is extremely tacky. It looks as if it's a home movie at times. The cinematography is absolute garbage. Horror movies have always been known to be able to create an eerie and well-crafted atmosphere on an extraordinarily low budget. The Woman continues to fail. The gore effects look just fine, but the overall look of the flick is what will turn off a lot of audiences. The score and music utilized by the filmmakers can heavily change the atmosphere of the entire story. The one used in this flick is strange. All of the music is strange and doesn't seem to fit. This has got to be a choice purposefully made by Lucky McKee, although I don't think this risky choice paid off. The strongest part of the visual effects department of The Woman is the make-up used on the primitive woman. Her looks are definitely convincing.

As one could easily tell by what I have written above, I didn't enjoy The Woman. From the initial buzz that I heard from the Sundance Film Festival, I was curious to check it out. However, it ultimately left me feeling highly disappointed. There aren't very many redeeming values about this flick. The best thing to be said about The Woman is the performance given by Sean Bridgers as Chris Cleek. The entire concept of the picture is strikingly similar to some other movies that have been released over the past few years. I wouldn't be surprised to hear that what occurred at the Sundance Film Festival was setup in order to promote the movie. It certainly doesn't deserve the controversy it has stirred up. I doubt many audiences will be happy with this one whether they're looking for shock value or an overall good horror flick, this just leaves you feeling pissed off that you wasted your time on it. The Woman is a dreadful movie that I recommend staying far away from.

My Rating = One Star

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