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Horror doubleheader

THE WOMAN

Here’s a film that will make you appreciate your family. A rural psychotic husband/father takes in a feral woman from the woods and tries to civilize her. In the process he alienates his wife and daughter, but forms a strange bond with his son.

I would have given the film higher marks if it didn’t go into self-destruct mode in the last twenty minutes. The film is quiet and restrained for the majority of its running time before it goes completely crazy. Usually I like crazy in my films, especially when they test my patience the way this did. It’s got a two hour running time and honestly this would have been a much more effective short film had the director condensed its best elements. The stuff at the end just nullifies everything that preceded it. It makes watching this movie feel like a waste of time.

But hey – it happens. Sometimes when you make movies about abducted feral women you have to fly off the handle a little. Spoilers the rest of the way.

I was buying the idea of this crazy father trying to “civilize” the woman – until the discovery that he’s also got a feral daughter in his barn. That is what plummets the whole movie into irrelevancy. Because the whole family is involved with that one – not just the father. And we know so little of the backstory to it, that it’s pointless having it in there. You might as well keep a giant monster in your barn. It will have identical implications for your story. All that says to me is, this whole family is sick and they have bigger issues than just a sociopath for a father.

For awhile you think that’s where the story is headed. How will they deal with this crazy father figure ruling the roost? But if everyone is to blame for keeping a family member in the barn, then which member of this family can we identify¬† with? They have a little 5-7 year old girl who’s just about as innocent as they get, so there is some hope for the future of this family. But it’s not looking good.

On top of it all, it’s just not fun watching abusive families in movies. Especially when the outcome is so uncertain, as it is here. The son is in alliance with the father. He’s as sick as his old man. The older daughter is as spineless as her mother. It’s all so sad and hopeless. I was surprised by the tone of this film – I anticipated something more entertaining. It just became a big downer of a movie.

TUCKER AND DALE VS EVIL

A good antidote to the sad tone of The Woman are the two best characters in horror to come around in a long time: Tucker and Dale!

This movie meshes funny characters with a great concept to create a gory and wildly entertaining time in the woods. I feel like this is the movie that’s been missing from the horror genre. Even though it is a comedy with horror movie conventions, even down to a climactic third act chase. This is a real clever spin on the genre, where the “killers” are actually just bumbling hillbillies who are mistaken to be more dangerous than they are. Brilliant concept! This is funnier than Scary Movie, more intelligent with its gags, and bloodier too. So why isn’t this a major release?

It’s not a perfect movie by any means. But this is the first feature from Eli Craig. It’s still competently made, the comedic timing is perfect, and the casting was excellent. So I am pretty confused why it didn’t get more love in theaters. I suppose like with many movies it will find its audience on video and on demand. I have no doubts about that. This is just too good to pass up. See it immediately.

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