May (2002)

Rating: B-

Dir: Lucky McKee
Star: Angela Bettis, Jeremy Sisto, Anna Faris

Redefining the term, “spooky little girl”, May (Bettis) has no friends – save a doll given to her by her mother. She works in an animal hospital, and sews her own dresses. AROOGA! AROOGA! Loonie alert! She becomes obsessed with Adam (Sisto), who “likes weird” – only his definition covers stuff like Dario Argento flicks, and that hardly prepares him for the bundle of bizarreness which is May. When he rejects her, as does a lesbian co-worker (Faris), May’s sanity shatters like the glass case inhabited by the doll.

This kind of movie stands or falls on the central performance, and Bettis gets it just about right. She comes across as Nightmare Before Christmas‘s Sally made flesh, managing to evoke our sympathy while making it absolutely clear this is one odd cookie. [Mind you, we’d just watched Gummo, compared to which, May is a paragon of normality] The film doesn’t have any surprises or twists; it simply proceeds towards the conclusion predicted by an early suggestion: “If you can’t find a friend, make one.” If it never reaches the Grand Guignol heights the concept deserves – save perhaps one horrendous sequence at a school for the blind – this is still a creepy and cautionary tale about the difference between strange and strange.