With perhaps one of the most ambiguous titles of the year, The Woman begins with just that; a woman. Not just any woman, this woman is a feral creature captured by would-be a well-meaning family man Chris who wants to ‘free her from herself’. 90 minutes of gory twists later and the only thing she frees herself from is him.
After a bout of mysterious preparations the woman is revealed to the family as a project of sorts. What could go wrong with teaching her how to fend for herself, anyway? Well, in all honesty, a lot, and this is something Chris learns at the cost of a finger. As the film develops we discover that the woman is not the real threat facing the family and, through the growing malice shown by father and son and the reserved attitudes of the elder females of the family, the film is as much a film about a lacking moral compass as it is a wild woman. The awkward family moments increase in frequency and a stark slap resounds throughout the rest of the film. The wife’s jealousy and the father and son’s lust intensifies making for unsettling viewing.
The Woman compliments its strange subject matter with copious use of slow-mo and a soundtrack that underlines the inherent weirdness in the family. The twists soon come flying out of nowhere and you find yourself watching a film far removed from original expectations.
The woman herself, played to wild perfection by Pollyanna McIntosh, is merely a catalyst for a film about so much else. It is the domestic violence that is perhaps the film’s scariest attribute – that is if, of course, if you don’t include your face being bitten off and savagely eaten in front of you or the danger that lurks in the kennels…
Best line: ‘So, erm. You like to bite.’