May was a movie that was weirdly fascinating to watch. The main driving force being how queer, socially-awkward, and creepy the main character really was. Although the movie may have started with a rather morbid and dark tone when we are introduced with a scene where our main protagonist May is screaming in pain while covered in her own blood, majority of the film focuses on the cringe-worthy interactions May has in her daily life.
We find out that early in her childhood, May was already “othered” as the weird kid with the lazy eye. Kids could be really mean sometimes and we see May suffer for it by having no friends growing up. Well that’s if we don’t count in Suzie, the mega creepy glass-encased doll given to May by her mother, as a real friend. Flash forward to the future, we still see May having the same problems. She has difficulty having real social interactions with people and would rather have full conversations with her creepy doll. During this part of the film, it really felt like I was watching a cheesy-creepy rom-com movie where the weird girl finally meets the perfect guy for him. When we see May interact for the first time with Adam, she literally rubbed her face on his hands. I honestly cringed so hard in this scene and if it was any other guy in Adam’s position, he would have probably immediately run away from May’s weirdness. But hey, turns out Adam likes weird so yayyyyy for May. However even this weirdo-loving guy, weird enough to make a romantic-horror film where the girl and guy eat each others flesh, couldn’t handle the weirdness of May. For Adam, queerness is ok from a distance like how it was in the film because it was still away from his reality. But when its right there in front of him on the bed, biting him, the weirdness becomes all too real and starts becoming repulsive and unattractive.
At this point of the film, we saw just how vulnerable May suddenly became which smartly enough, was also physically symbolized by the cracking of Suzie’s glass case. When she met Adam, for a moment of her life, she could actually be just herself and feel normal thus allowing her to let her guard down. Even allowing some aspects of herself to be modified by this other person such as when she picked up the habit of smoking from Adam. It seemed like May just couldn’t catch a break because after having her heart utterly broken, she gets taken advantage off by her gay co-worker Polly. And just as when she was about to begin trusting another person, Polly reveals that she really didn’t want anything serious from May and just wanted to fulfill her sexual desires.
At this point, May’s psyche completely shatters just as the glass encasing of Suzie did. May’s struggles felt just like the struggle she had when the kids were trying to remove Suzie out of her case. No matter how hard she tries to fight back, things just wouldn’t go down the way she wanted. This is where we start to see the quote of May’s mother, “If you can’t find a friend, make one”, really come to life. May was finally ready to take control of her life no matter what it takes. Completely out of her mind, she decides to make the perfect friend by amputating the “beautiful” parts she sees from other people and stitching it all together to make a frankenstein-esque monster. And just like what O’Flinn said in his article “Production and Reproduction: The Case of Frankenstein,” the monster isn’t separate and apart from you but rather a magnified image of yourself that you have projected. Even going so far as to naming the monster Amy which is an obvious anagram for May to demonstrate this fact. I actually liked how the film drags you along believing that it’s a doll-comes-to-life horror movie. In a sense it may have actually been fulfilled with May creating the human doll. The real monster of the movie however turns out to be our beloved May. All the rejection, all the pent up anger and frustration broke her, turning her into a cold-blooded murderer.
It was pretty obvious that the film had a rather low budget but It actually used this fact to great effect. The movie had a rather Hipster-Rom-Com-Horror feel to it that fit the queerness of the character May very well. The practical effects weren’t the most realistic I’ve ever seen, but nonetheless, it was still entertaining seeing all the eye-gouging, neck-slicing action. My favorite part of the film however would have to be the film’s great use of its soundtrack. Songs have the power to make you feel different kinds of emotions and May was able to use music to give more emphasis on what the images on screen is trying to say.
In the end, I found it to be an “ok” movie. An average horror film that would be easy to recommend to watch in one of those horror film marathons you would have during Halloween or any other movie night.
Harry M. Benshoff, “The Monster and the Homosexual.” Horror, The Film Reader (Routledge, 2002).
Paul O’Flinn, “Production and Reproduction: The Case of Frankenstein.” Horror, The Film Reader (Routledge, 2002).