Be prepared for a unsettlingly creepy and weirdly gory viewing with The Woman (Bloody Disgusting Selects), directed by Lucky McKee, based on a book by Jack Ketchum and Lucky McKee, also titled The Woman. If you expect to be surprised, you’ll be in a good position for watching this seemlingly straight-forward story about a family that takes in a feral woman.
The Netflix description had setup certain expectations for me which the movie destroyed coming out of the gate. The description on the envelope claimed we would watch the family breakdown as they attempted to “civilize” a feral woman, but from the first scene the family dynamics alone sent a shiver down my throat.
A sticky, icky candy-coating shines right from the scene where the family are guests at a barbeque. From his perch on the deck, the father gazes out at his miserable and uncomfortable teenage daughter and scolds his wife. Around the corner, the adolescent son practices free throws, while ignoring a group of boys tormenting a little girl. You can’t put a finger on it yet, but there’s something wrong in this house.
The action gets rolling when the father finds a wild woman living in the woods. He immediately prepares for her capture by putting the family to work on clearing an outbuilding, a project which they all undertake immediately and without question. Back in the woods, he traps the woman, knocks her out, and then takes her to the building and restrains her. He enlists his family in the project of helping “fix” her.
Ultimately, “The Woman” is a film that’s as much about power as it is about horror. The movie delivers both the gore and violence one expects from a horror film, but it packs the emotional punch of a well-rendered drama as it explores the power inequalities within the family and between the sexes. Don’t be surprised if certain dialogues make you cringe just as much as the scenes of bit-off appendages or torn-off skin. Like with any good film, expect the ideas in the movie haunt you in the days that follow.