The Woman (2011)
By: Ryan Morrissey-Smith on July 11, 2013 | Comments
Monster Pictures | Region 4, PAL | 1.78:1 (16:9 enhanced) | English DD 5.1 | 104 minutes (Full Specs)
The Movie
Cover Art
Director: Lucky McKee
Starring: Sean Bridgers, Angela Bettis, Pollyanna McIntosh
Screenplay: Jack Ketchum, Lucky McKee
Country: USA
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Reviewing Lucky Mckee's The Woman is quite a difficult task. McKee and writer Jack Ketchum have created something major here, but something that is about as divisive as films can get. Made famous by the walkouts at film festival screenings, The Woman balances on the horror tightrope, dipping into both social commentary and black comedy.

The plot is simple enough - When a successful country lawyer captures and attempts to "civilize" the last remaining member of a violent clan that has roamed the Northeast coast for decades, he puts the lives of his family in jeopardy. However there is far, far, far more going on in this film.

The Woman has been called misogynistic yet it could be argued that the males in the film are written as the worst characters, and what ends up happening to them would be the opposite of misogynistic. So yes whilst the women are treated poorly, the men don't get off lightly either. There is also the spectre of domestic violence hovering above the whole film. Both the mental and physical abuse suffered by the wife is difficult to watch and when she does speak up she pays a heavy toll, which tends to base this film in reality. Extreme as it is, it does help to ground the film.

The way the family function (or dysfunction) is another intricate part of the film. The father runs the family as the King - what he says goes, no exceptions. There is a heavily hinted at incest sub-plot throughout the film, which you can truly believe could happen as the family have learnt their place. The father rules - what he says goes, no exceptions. Sean Bridgers puts in an amazing performance as papa Cleek. As menacing as he is bland, his true nature is covered by a thin veil of pleasantries, and it is such a good performance that he manages to play this monster of man with black comedy and a touch of satire whilst staying truly and wholly believable. All the other family members (Angela Bettis, Zach Rand, Lauren Ashley Carter) also play their parts well, but this film would be nothing if it wasn't for the feral rage monster that is The Woman played by Pollyanna McIntosh. She puts everything into the role, and it is one of the most intense performances you are ever likely to see.

At the climax of the film when all hell has broken loose and you truly find out the real nature of the family, the violence comes thick, fast and bloody. A toll is exacted on the family, whilst at the same time (and I'm being vague so as not to spoil it) a great deal of mercy and care is shown - something which the 'civilised' did not afford the 'uncivilised'.

The Woman is a thought provoking experience that some will write off as unimportant, but this film is what horror is all about. There is evil in the banality of life, there is evil that happens behind closed doors, there is evil that lurks beneath the surface of everyday people. The Woman is quite simply an amazing film.
The Disc
Monster Pictures' 1.85:1 presentation looks ok, but is never outstanding or out of the ordinary. The blacks aren't totally black and obviously there were some minor issues with the source, but nothing that takes away from the viewing experience. The Dolby digital 5.1 track is crisp and clear, all the levels are great – none of the quiet dialog, loud music issues that many DVDs suffer from.

There's no commentary of offer in the extras, which is a shame considering the thought provoking nature of the film. We do get a making of feature, Deleted Scenes, and a strange short film Mi Burro, along with a music video for 'Distracted' by Sean Spillane.
The Verdict
The Woman is an incredible film, not just an incredible horror film. It won't be to everyone's taste, but for those seeking out a great horror flick, you'll find it here.
Movie Score
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