The Woman – Blu-Ray Review

The Woman is the sequel to the truly abysmal Offpsring, which is also including in this set. These films were joined by Darlin’ recently and so became a trilogy. They all kind of work as standalone films. This one was directed by Lucky McKee, who is probably best-known for the film May, which became a minor cult hit on video. Weirdly enough it’s actually co-edited by Ryan Johnson, later the director of Brick, Star Wars: The Last Jedi and other films. The Woman is based on a Jack Catchum novel; Catchum also co-wrote the script, and was mentored by Robert Block. McKee also directed an episode of Masters of Horror—pretty interesting for someone who had only made one feature.

The film probably thinks it has a much deeper commentary on the treatment of women than it does. It’s about a truly wicked country lawyer who finds a member of a cannibal clan (‘the woman’ of the title) and tries to make her civilised in his home, where he reigns as the family patriarch. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what it’s about. The lawyer treats the female members of his own family equally bad (spoiler: his son ends up being a rapist). As you might imagine, the movie ends up having a revenge aspect to it. It’s pretty violent, gory and sadistic—all the stuff you want in a horror movie.

It’s nothing special, but is undoubtably the best of the three films—but again, that’s not saying a huge amount. In the end, it’s an OK horror movie with a pretty obvious message. But then horror is not known for being the most subtle genre on the planet.

The Woman has a horrible soundtrack that sounds like outtakes from a bad ‘90s alt-rock band. I’m not sure when the film is supposed to be set, but it sounds dated for 2011, when it arrived.

Pollyanna McIntosh (‘the woman’) is in all three, and is the main link between them as a feral person who is the last member of this cannibalistic family. She doesn’t have that much to do, although many violent things happen to her, but she does have a presence at least. McIntosh has made more of a name for herself on television (a season of Hap and Leonard, 24 episodes as Anne in The Walking Dead, and also a part in the recent show Lodge 49), and she also was the writer and director of Darlin’.

If you like the movie, it’s a very nice set, but it’s probably not the best blind buy, especially given how bad Offspring is. Both films have a 4K restoration, which is overkill, and each film has various commentary tracks—The Woman has four, including two that feature McKee. There are various short films, making-of documentaries, a panel discussion from 2011 about the state of American indy horror, trailers, image galleries, and a lot more, including a booklet.

★★★

Ian Schultz

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