Thursday, December 13, 2012

A review of "The Woman"

Confessions of a Film Junkie: A review of “The Woman”
By: Brian Cotnoir

Author of "The Woman"
Jack Ketchum
 In October I attended the horror movie convention “Rock N Shock” in Worcester, MA.  Rock N Shock is your typical fan-based convention that has merchandise stands, a film festival, and Meet N Greet sessions with celebrities.  This year’s convention had a slew of great celebrities such as Anthony Michael Hall, Sid Haig, Bill Moseley, Danny Trejo, Peter Criss (drummer of Kiss), and a whole bunch of other notable celebrities from horror films.  One of the celebrity guests I met at Rock N Shock was an author named Jack Ketchum.  Now, before this convention I had never heard of Jack Ketchum and I have never read any of his books, but after getting the chance to hear him speak at the Fangoria Panel and getting to meet him, I decided to check out some of his work.  I’ve found out that some of his novels have gotten adapted into film , so I decided to to review a film based off one of his novels; “The Woman”.    
"The Woman"
    “The Woman” was realeased in 2011, and it is about a lawyer named Chris Cleek who lives out in the woods with his family, and one day while on a hunting trip one day he comes across a mysterious feral woman living in the woods.  Mr. Cleek decides to trap the woman and hold her captive on her property and even recruits his family to help domesticate and civilize the feral woman.  But are the Cleek’s really the decent and honest humanitarians they appear to be or do they have some ulterior motives for why they want to keep this mysterious feral 

This is a great horror/thriller film with a great story, graphic visuals, and plenty of thrilling twists.  I think one of the reasons why I enjoyed this film so much is that it was co-written by the book’s author, Jack Ketchum.  I think films that are adapted from books are always better when the screenplay is written (or co-written) by the book’s author, because many of the author’s ideas and opinions from the book make its way on to the screen.  I would say this film (and the novel to) should proudly boast that it features the Most Dysfunctional Family you will ever see in a film. I really like how the father in the film, who is this total sadist, expects complete obedience from his family and will settle for nothing less than total perfection. In some ways I saw this character as complex and interesting and I would actually say that his character is similar to that of Alex DeLarge from “A Clockwork Orange”.  I also like how we are introduced to the rest of the Cleek family.  There is little dialogue spoken by the family early on in the film, and instead the film just uses the atmosphere to let you get a full understanding of the character, which in my opinion is a lot better than having all the characters be introduced through an exposition.                                                  
The Most Dysfunctional Family that I've ever seen in a film, The Cleeks.
      I also really enjoyed the soundtrack to the film which features Original Music written by Sean Spillane.  The songs of Spillane really take “The Woman” from already great film and propel it to Freaking Fantastic film. If you’ve never heard of Sean Spillane, then you should definitely check out his music; especially his songs “Distracted” and “Patient Satellite”, which both appear in the film.       
                                                       "Patient Satellite" by Sean Spillane

"Not Quite John C.  Reilly"
Chris Cleek
However, there are some minor faults with the film.  Even though I liked the character Mr. Cleek, I did not really like the actor who played him.  I don’t even remember the name of the actor who played him in the film because for most of the film I was just referring to him as “Not Quite John C. Reilly” because that’s who is acting reminded me of.  He was not scary, he was not terrifying, he was just quirky, neurotic, and massively anal retentive, and I just feel he didn’t do his character any justice with his portrayal.  He starts out as this nice calm Mr. Cleaver from “Leave it to Beaver”, and he just sort of stays at that same tone throughout most of the film.  Even most of the parts when his character acts violent he just has that same calm cheerful demeanor on his face, and I just did not think that he was a great acting choice.  I also did not like the way the oldest daughter, Peggy, was written in the film.  In the film she just comes off as the emotional basket case, and really not a ton of signs as to why she acts the way she does, which is pretty mysterious, but the reveal at the end just sort of came out of nowhere, and it was not like I said “Oh, wow what a shocking twist”, my actual reaction was “Are you serious? That’s all.” 
Oooh, now that sure does look unpleasant
   This film has twists, it has blood, it has gore, it has rampage, and ending that will just leave you with a ear-to-ear smile. I am regretting not buying a signed movie poster of “The Woman” at Rock N Shock, and if Jack Ketchum comes back again next year, I will make it my mission to get one from him. 
So do yourself a favor and see this film.  Horror movie fans I guarantee you that you are just going to really like “The Woman”.

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