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Film / May

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May is a 2002 horror film written and directed by Lucky McKee, starring Angela Bettis, Jeremy Sisto, and Anna Faris.

May Dove Canady (Bettis) a lonely young woman who seeks to develop some sort of meaningful connection with another human being. This is somewhat complicated by how shy, socially awkward, and just plain weird she is. As each attempt fails, the already unstable May starts going further and further down the rabbit hole...


This film contains examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: While she isn't shown very often, May's mother comes across as more than a little condescending and emotionally abusive.
  • Accidental Murder: May accidentally kills Lupe when the cat in question refuses to be petted while she's in a Heroic BSoD moment after Suzie was destroyed by the blind children in school.
  • Alpha Bitch: Ambrosia. She treats May very poorly because she's jealous about Polly.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: May is somehow autistic, schizophrenic or mentally impaired because of her severe lack of social skills, fetish for blood, unusual behaviour and the fact that she considers her doll Suzie as her only true friend.
  • Asshole Victim: Ambrosia. Unlike May's other victims who do have some redeeming qualities, Ambrosia's entire character arc is just her being bitch to May (who had tried to be polite to her) for seemingly no reason other than possible jealousy over Polly's affection for her. Suffice to say very few tears were shed for her demise.
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  • Ax-Crazy: May, post Sanity Slippage.
  • Black Comedy: There's a good amount of this in the movie. A good example would be when May, having kept Lupe, Polly's dead cat for several days, decides to spray the body with air freshener to stop it smelling.
  • Blood Is the New Black: May returns to her apartment absolutely covered in the blood of herself and the class of blind children after they accidentally break Suzie's case and cut themselves on the broken glass.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The surgical tools in the animal hospital, and the ashtray that Petey makes for May.
  • Chekhov's Skill: May's sewing skills. She puts them to good use at the end, with the creation of Amy.
  • Companion Cube: A darker example - May starts out (apparently, we don't know for sure) just pretending Suzie is real, but then she starts to actually believe it. Oh, and of course there's Amy.
    • Then there's the corpse of Lupe. May hugs her, strokes her, and talks to her, until she decides to keep her in the freezer.
  • Creepy Doll: Suzie, a little bit. Most notably when you can hear her whispering, or the glass on her case cracking - not that these are real, this is all in May's head. She certainly looks very creepy, too. Also Amy, the life-size doll made out of body parts.
  • Creepy Loner Girl: May starts out as this, and gets worse as the movie goes on.
  • Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: May appears this way in most of the movie posters, such as this one.
  • Emotionless Girl: May, once she's decided to make Amy. Although when Amy doesn't come to life, she becomes very upset again.
  • Eye Scream: May gouges out her own eye with a pair of scissors in order to finish Amy.
    • And prior to that, she starts clawing at her eyes after having worn the same set of contacts for several days, a horror that most contact lens users have run into before.
  • Fetish: May appears to have one for blood (especially after viewing Adam's film), and Polly promptly develops a fetish for cutting after May cuts her thumb with a scalpel, requesting that she do it again.
  • For Halloween, I Am Going as Myself: Sort of. May is able to get away with having blood stains all over her forearms and lugging a large, heavy and normally suspicious-looking wheelie case around in public, as she commits her murders and transports the bodies during Halloween.
  • Foreshadowing: Lots:
    • There's May's focus on certain body parts for each person (Adam's hands, Polly's neck, etc.).
    • Her homemade clothes, many of which are sewn together out of old outfits.
    • There's her comment to Suzie about how Suzie has always "seen [her]".
    • Her job at the animal hospital.
    • Her complete lack of any disturbance at anything violent or gory and thinking that Adam's movie was "sweet".
    • Her mother's comment that "If you can't find a friend, make one."
    • Polly calling May "doll" as a term of endearment.
    • May gouging out her lazy eye at the very beginning.
    • May telling Blank she likes his Frankenstein's Monster tattoo.
  • Frankenstein's Monster: Amy.
  • Freak Out: May has a huge one after Lupe's body is discovered in her freezer. She snaps and murders Blank, the guy who made the discovery. Following the murder, she suddenly gets the idea to make her own friend...
  • Friend to All Children: May. She jumps at the chance to do volunteer work with blind kids, during which she forms a brief bond with a young girl named Petey. Petey makes May a clay ashtray that the latter happily keeps.
  • Genre-Busting: It's a weird, creepy, depressing romantic dramedy-ish... thing... that ends up becoming a slasher/Frankenstein movie for the last twenty minutes or so.
  • How We Got Here: The very start of the film shows May screaming in agony and holding her bloodied hand over her lazy eye.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Adam and May have a noticeable difference in size. There's even one scene where Adam is having to crouch down to meet May's eye level. The infamous hand nuzzling scene his hand is bigger than her face.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Adam's film is a black and white short about a couple who go for a picnic and then start to devour each other. May becomes turned on by it.
  • Innocently Insensitive: Polly sleeps with May under the impression that it's a casual fling between friends. May, however, thought it was serious, and so is absolutely devastated when she finds Polly hooking up with Ambrosia.
  • Instantly Proven Wrong: A pretty dark example. May is playing with a knife in the general direction of Polly's throat. Polly calmly leans up against her and says "It's OK. I know you would never hurt me, May." May then slits Polly's throat.
  • Kids Are Cruel: As a child, May was ostracized by her classmates on her first day at school - simply because she wore an eyepatch.
  • Le Film Artistique: Jack and Jill, the film Adam made which he shows May.
  • Lipstick Lesbian: Polly. She's very feminine and she likes dating women, including Ambrosia. Ambrosia also counts as this trope.
  • Living Emotional Crutch: Adam, which makes their breakup all the more... dangerous.
  • Loners Are Freaks: May is seen by Adam after he dumps her and the other people as a weird woman because of her unusual behavior.
  • Lonely Doll Girl: That'd be May. Later she becomes a Living Doll Collector.
  • Madness Makeover: Interesting example. Contrary to the usual pattern of becoming more sloppy and disheveled as one goes crazy, dowdy May becomes much more stylish and sexy as she plunges into homicidal insanity.
  • Manic Pixie Dream Girl: May isn't one, but both Adam and Polly think she is. Then her quirkiness stops being charming and becomes just plain weird... and things go downhill from there. The whole film can be seen as a deconstruction of this trope (as argued in this video by Rantasmo), with Adam and Polly's fetishization of only certain things about May, and their leaving her when they realize that they don't like May as a whole person, reflected in how May literally fetishizes only some of their body parts and dismembers them in order to create a "perfect friend" with only the things that she likes.
  • Marionette Motion: A brief example occurs when Amy comes to life.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: The ending. Has Amy really come to life, or is May hallucinating that she has (either due to the pain of gouging her eye out, her already unstable state of mind, or both)?
  • Meaningful Name: Polly is a double example. First, she's polyamorous. Second, John William Polidori was a member of Mary Shelley's circle of writers who was with her when she wrote Frankenstein, the relevance of which only becomes apparent when May starts putting together her plan.
  • Mood Whiplash: As noted above, the film starts out as a quirky romantic dramedy. However, the moment May kills Lupe, the entire film quickly descends into horror.
  • No Social Skills: May has a severe lack of social skills due to living in isolation for most of her life.
  • Odd Couple: From the brief glimpse we see of them, May's parents seem totally mismatched. Her father seem like a blue-collar worker and seems to be more laid back and accepting of his daughter. His wife, who also happens to be way out of his league, is a lot more domineering and obsessive about perfecting her flaws, leading to many unforseeable issues down the road.
  • Protagonist Journey to Villain: May gradually descends into homicidal insanity after feeling "rejected" one too many times.
  • Psycho Ex-Girlfriend: May, after Adam dumps her.
  • Psychopathic Womanchild: May's breakdowns about her doll accidentally destroyed by the class of blind children and about her new "friend" Amy not moving are no different from that of a crying, petulant and upset child.
  • Really Gets Around: Polly has no qualms with no-strings-attached sexual encounters. Unfortunately for her, May wrongly assumed their night together was more meaningful than it was.
  • Sanity Slippage: May, slowly and steadily, right up until she kills Lupe (it is debatable as to whether she actually meant to kill her or not) and keeps the body. Then she moves on to humans...
  • Self-Harm: At one point May cuts into the tip of her thumb with a scalpel, apparently as a form of relaxation. She then tries it on Polly, who unexpectedly finds that she likes it.
  • Serial Killer: By the end of the film, May has killed five people and one cat.
  • She's Got Legs: Ambrosia again. May certainly thinks so, too, and uses them as parts for Amy.
  • Shrinking Violet: May's only comfortable social interactions are with Suzie, and she's so shy that she can barely talk in the presence of other people at all, even when they're clearly interested in getting to know her. However, once she resorts to murder, she becomes much more confident.
  • Significant Anagram: When deciding on a name for her creation, May rearranges the letters spelling out her own name from the broken ashtray to form "Amy".
  • Slashed Throat: How May kills Polly.
  • Stalker with a Crush: May towards Adam after he dumped her. It's Subverted when May decides to kill him, his new girlfriend, Ambrosia and Polly while taking their pieces (Adam's hands, Ambrosia's legs, Adam's new girlfriend's ears and Polly's neck) and creating Amy.
  • Stripperific: Ambrosia. She wears a very revealing outfit.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: Let's face it, in any other movie, the disturbed young lady with poor social skills would probably find the void in her life filled by working with disabled children. Here it just winds up in a bloody mess - literally!
  • Symbolism: Blank's tattoo of Frankenstein's monster. Interesting in that after May kills Blank, she aims to create a friend made out of different body parts.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The trailer and synopsis on the back of the DVD (although it's slightly more vague than the trailer) completely spoil the fact that May decides to make her own friend.
  • Tranquil Fury: May enters on this state after killing Lupe and Blank while she's preparing to kill Polly, Ambrosia, Adam and Adam's new girlfriend.
  • Twist Ending: May creates a Frankenstein's Monster.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: After the beginning, May's parents completely disappear from the story. There is no mention of them at all. While this might be partly justified as May is an adult living her own life, still given that she's their only child you'd think she might be entitled to the odd phone call here and there. And lets face it; there are certainly moments when the poor thing could seriously use some advice on how to maintain a healthy relationship...
  • Woman Scorned: One of the driving forces behind May's descent into insanity is Adam dumping her, then finding out that her night together with Polly wasn't as meaningful as she'd though it was.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: May is a particularly heartbreaking-cum-vicious example. She starts out the movie with good intentions just a wee bit odd. All she wanted was a friend, a real one but her eccentric nature prevents this from happening. One rejection after another and suddenly years of isolation and repressed self-hatred come crashing down on the poor girl's head.