Monday, October 1, 2012

The Woman (2011)

Chris Cleek (Sean Bridgers) finds a feral woman in the woods, while hunting one day. Eventually, Chris captures The Woman , and he decides to hold her captive in his cellar. Chris wants to civilize The Woman (Pollyanna McIntosh), and with the help of his family, they try to transform her into a normal person.

At first, the Cleeks seem like your traditional American family. Chris is the strict father and husband of the household, and everyone fears the consequences of questioning his authority. Belle (Angela Bettis) is the obedient and silent housewife, and the children seem normal enough. Peggy (Lauren Ashley Carter) is the oldest daughter in the family. She’s quiet, and doesn’t cause any trouble. Brian (Zach Rand) looks up to his father, and he wants to follow in his footsteps. And Darlin’ (Shyla Molhusen) is the youngest child in the family. She’s innocent, and Darlin’ just wants to enjoy life as a normal kid.

But you begin to see the serious problems within the Cleek family, as the story unfolds. Peggy is hiding a serious secret, and she refuses the help from her caring teacher, Ms. Raton (Carlee Baker), because she fears the backlash from her father. Belle is a complacent housewife, but she decides to take a stand against Chris’ violent and cruel behavior, and eventually, Belle snaps. Brian admires his father. He’s a role model for him, but Mr. Cleek isn’t someone, who you should look up to, and Chris’ cruel treatment of the woman begins to influence Brian’s feelings towards women.

And then there’s Mr. Cleek. Chris takes his job as “man of the house” seriously, and he keeps a close eye on his entire family. Chris just seems like a normal family man, who’s passionate about protecting his loved ones, but you get to see the dark side of Mr. Cleek’s character, as the story progresses. Mr. Cleek is a sick and twisted man, who hates women. There’s no conflict within this character, and his sinister actions don’t phase him at all. I will remember Mr. Cleek as one of the most evil characters I’ve seen in any type of horror film, and Sean Bridgers’ performance was very convincing. Is he trying to do the right thing by “civilizing” The Woman? Or is Mr. Cleek trying to vent his hateful feelings towards women by torturing his prisoner? These are two questions that popped in my mind during this film, because Mr. Cleek ALWAYS believes he’s doing the right the thing.

And Pollyanna McIntosh was just fantastic as The Woman. The make-up effects provided The Woman’s savage look, but McIntosh is the one, who brought life to this character. Her rage was just excellent, and her cold, emotionless stare could feel frightening. McIntosh was a very believable intimidating threat, and she could destroy anyone in her path. But I could also feel sympathy for this character. The Woman was held prisoner by Mr. Cleek. She was tortured, raped, and beaten. The Woman is forced to suffer, but I always knew she would strike back at some point. Revenge was inevitable, and for the most part, The Woman’s brutal triumph towards the end did feel glorious.

The Woman is a character driven horror film. Peggy and Belle are the innocent members of the family. They’re just looking for a way out, but they fear the wrath of Mr. Cleek. Brian and Chris are the monsters of the family, and both characters are genuinely evil, especially Mr. Cleek. The imprisonment of The Woman causes an emotional split amongst the Cleek family, and the conflict eventually leads to an intense argument between Belle and Chris. The turmoil within the Cleek family reaches a dangerous boiling point towards the end, and I really cared about the main cast of characters here. Sean Bridgers was the true star of this cast, and this film does feature some pretty good acting.

The Woman is loaded with some very graphic scenes of gore, and the violence can feel shocking. If you can’t handle repulsive gore and violence, then you should stay away from this one, because The Woman can be a very disturbing film, and most people won’t be able to tolerate this bizarre story of a dysfunctional family.

Final Rating: 7/10

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