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  May Make Friends
Year: 2002
Director: Lucky McKee
Stars: Angela Bettis, Jeremy Sisto, Anna Faris, James Duval, Merle Kennedy, Kevin Gage, Nichole Hiltz, Chandler Hecht, Rachel David, Nora Zehetner
Genre: Horror, DramaBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 3 votes)
Review: When she was a little girl, May Kennedy (Angela Bettis) was afflicted with a lazy eye, and was forced to wear a patch over the other eye to correct it. This meant she didn't fit in and didn't have any friends, and the situation is the same now she's grown up - well, that's not true, she does have one friend, a doll in a glass case that her mother gave her, which she confides in. May now works in an animal hospital, where her lesbian co-worker Polly (Anna Faris) is taking an interest in her, but May is growing infatuated with Adam (Jeremy Sisto), a mechanic who she sees on the way to work every day. May loves his hands most of all, and now that she is wearing contact lenses to correct her eye condition instead of glasses, she plucks up the courage to talk to him. However, Adam might not be as ideal as she had hoped...

Written by the director Lucky McKee, this film plays as a quirky drama for the most part, until the bloody last act where the sensitive protagonist goes off the rails spectacularly. The film gained a cult following perhaps because it was not the usual stalk and slash rollercoaster ride, but instead took care to build up the character of May and her eccentricities, with Bettis' fragile and engaging performance never letting May turn so creepy that we don't care how she ends up. Not until her actions in that last half hour anyway, which provide an emotionally needy twist on the old Frankenstein clich├ęs that we're all too familiar with.

With her contact lenses in place, May dresses up and follows Adam into a cafe, where she watches him from a different table. When he falls asleep, she tiptoes up to him and starts stroking his hand and resting her cheek against it, until he abruptly wakes up and May embarrasses herself by falling over and exiting the cafe in a hurry, Despite this display of oddness, Adam is intrigued and the two strike up a tentative relationship: certainly tentative on May's part as she's never had a boyfriend before. However, the awkward May starts to act a little too strangely for Adam, especially when she bites his lip hard enough to draw blood just as they are getting intimate.

This is when the slinky Polly makes her move, and seduces the confused May by paying her more attention than anyone else. Once again, May is let down, and decides to fill the gap in her life by volunteering to look after blind kids, but even this sends her into a more mixed up place when they inadvertently terrorise her after she brings in her friend Suzy the doll for them to admire. Every time May gets frustrated, the glass in the case will crack just a little more, so you might wonder why she thought it was a good idea to let the kids get hold of it, but it could be explained as another step on the road to insanity. She could have joined a dating agency or something.

May's problem is that she presumes the objects of her affection will be perfect, like the doll preserved in its case, but her hopes are foiled by them every time, sometimes her fault, sometimes their's. Unfortunately she confuses physical perfections with perfect personalities, and when people don't live up to her expectations - Dario Argento fan Adam likes it weird, but not that weird, and Polly is, er, overgenerous with her love - she tries to fashion the perfect friend in the manner of her doll. Bettis is excellent throughout, but when May finds her purpose in life, it's like watching a different performance, and subsequently she loses your sympathies until her pathetic, self destructive tendencies surface for the ending. A rare horror with no real villains, May makes you forget its funereal slowness by presenting some fine actors to their best advantage by dint of its twisted and poignant humour. Music by Jaye Barnes-Lucket.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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