I was pretty lucky last year to have had one of my stories appear in an anthology called Dark Doorways published by the mighty Post Mortem Press. The anthology was made ultra-awesome in that four of my favorite authors are also in the book. F. Paul Wilson, John Marberry, Lucky McKee and the mighty Jack Ketchum. McKee and Ketchum’s contribution was both a novel excerpt and a screenplay scene from their collaborative effort “The Woman.” I had been meaning to watch the movie and finally an opportunity presented itself to sit down, kick the feet up and watch it.
It didn’t take long for the feet to come down and watch the film with my mouth open.
The following hour and forty some minutes were spent literally trying to remain somewhat comfortable watch one of the most uncomfortable films I’ve seen in a good long time. This is not a bad thing. If McKee (who directed based off of the script he and Ketchum wrote based on their novel) had intended to make you uncomfortable as hell and not allow you to look away, then he wins.
The woman in question is played by Pollyanna McIntosh. She is a feral, brutal thing that scares the Christ out of you almost immediately. She oozes predator without a single word.
When a local lawyer goes hunting, he sees the woman washing by the river. He decides he’s going to take and ‘civilize’ the woman because it’s the right thing to do.
By the way, he has three kids and a wife that he wants to help him.
Oh, and he’s an abusive bastard.
On this level, the most uncomfortable and disturbing scenes are the ones with his family. The amazing Angela Bettis plays Belle, the long suffering wife and you can understand everything this woman has suffered from her husband Chris with just the expressionless hollow stare she manages to maintain for the bulk of the film. Chris doesn’t even raise a hand to anyone in his family until nearly the halfway point and when he does, it’s as stark and cold and stinging as can be. Sean Bridgers who plays Chris gives a very subtle and great performance; the family scenes are the most suffocating I’ve ever seen.
Ah, but the woman!As the film rolls on, it gets progressively more brutal on all levels and when the ends hits, it hits pretty fucking hard. This is one of those films that forces you to pick a side and there are a few to pick believe it or not. Solid performances from the bulk of the cast and a great final sequence.
This movie doesn’t move without McIntosh though; she owns it and makes it her bitch. She’s so damn believable at being unbelievable. She is both sympathetic and fucking terrifying to watch.
I feel badly for not getting to see this one sooner, but I’m a hell of a lot prouder that I’m in the same book with the two men who wrote this amazing movie.
By the way-NOT a date film. Just sayin’…
Great movie all around. Check it out-currently it is on Netflix.