Sometimes I feel like I am out of the loop, like my finger has long ago slipped from the pulse of what is acceptable to society.
With music it was around 2002 or 2003, I describe practically everything since using the exact phrases my old man used to deride my musical taste as I grew up.
With so-called blockbuster movies it was basically more gradual and progressive, in fact since the mid 90s I have for the most part been able to spot duds in advance and avoid them. Armageddon, Wild, Wild West, anything Tom Cruise, Transformers, not for me thanks.
But aside from obviously teen-targeting fare horror has mostly been my constant, reliable ally.
Until now perhaps…
The Woman was listed in more than a few end of year ‘Best of’ lists as one of the better horror movies of 2011. It was hailed as ‘savage and unique’ in some quarters, or ‘uneven but with a classic finale’ in others.
That was enough to make me wonder why I hadn’t heard of it before, so I made haste to secure a copy and check it out.
Am I out of the horror loop too? Let me directly address some statements made about The Woman;
- The Woman is not a pro-feminist film.
- The Woman is not a film promoting or even portraying misogyny.
- The Woman is not creative and well directed. It is not well acted. It is not ‘memorably gore-filled.
- The Woman is a piece of cinematic shit. The only things that The Woman hates are logic, reason, entertainment, creativity and credible horror.
The one sentence overview is as follows; a smalltown lawyer Chris Cleek spots a ‘feral’ woman and taking her home to meet the wife and three kids before getting all ‘Elliott meets E.T.’ and informing one and all that “I’m keeping her”. Shennanigans ensue of course.
I fail to see how anyone can watch the first hour of this mess without wanting to slit their own wrists, it is so boring, inane and ridiculous that it defies all logic. Consider what occurs first time Chris spots the Woman through his telescopic rifle sights, she gets the full on bad 80s metal band video treatment, complete with an awful song, slo-mo camera work and even a shower – well river bathing – scene where he no sooner imagines her topless than hey presto it is so.
I laughed only to prevent me from crying it was so amateurish. Continuing the lousy music angle the film is absolutely ridden with ear-bleedingly awful indie rock and pop that means the only thing worse than watching this crap is listening to it.
But it gets worse. Only hours after the Woman bites off his finger and Chris is introducing her to the wife and rugrats.
We get no less than three scenes where it seems that this particularly dirty woman needs cleaning. Hackneyed writing that starts sub-plots that go absolutely no-where, or worse to somewhere where you must continue watching. The direction is absolutely god-awful – please re-visit the ‘intro to The Woman in the creek’ bit as a fine example, and the twist more or less totally defeats the purpose of the first two thirds of the film.
By the way gorehounds, the gore and violence in the film is equally moronic, no partially redemptive qualities here I’m afraid.
About the only thing I could pretend to agree to is that the character of Chris Cleek is a truly unique character, but a single faceted cartoon of one. Please don’t be mistaken for assuming unique means anything remotely positive. Where the ‘acting’ of everyone in the film ranges in quality from ‘wooden’ to ‘wet cardboard’, Sean Bridgers, effort might be best described as ‘over-acting annoying uncle’, the one guy at a family barbecue or gathering that you wouldn’t want to get stuck speaking to for more than a minute.
Except here the usually chipper family man is the central point in the damn film.
So to recap. Based upon the testimony of critics who hail this as ‘one of the best horror films of the year’ I am officially well out of the loop.
I found the plot of The Woman hackneyed, lazy and trite, the direction misguided, the acting uniformly woeful and the blood and guts finale ludicrous and hardly redeeming. I hated every character in the film whether I was supposed to or not, and where I was supposed to not like them undoubtedly for reasons other than the film-makers intended.
I am not ‘a woman hater, I am proudly ‘The Woman’ hater. I hated a lot of films from 2011, here was the first I absolutely reviled from start to finish.
Final Rating – 3 / 10. Critics need to redefine what horror is for them, for me it would be watching this black hole of worthlessness again.