'May' is definitely an odd little movie, there's no question about that. It's not what most people expect in a horror movie - that is to say a predictable slasher, or even a taut thriller. It's something else entirely and it's difficult to come up with a word that explains it. Regardless, it is a good movie: In fact it was named 'Best Horror Movie of 2003' by the excellent 'Rue Morgue' magazine.
'May' is the story of a girl named, well, May. She's not all that socially adept and is preoccupied with finding some form of happiness in another human being. After several rejections May decides to approach the problem from another direction. Turns out that although parts of people really attract her, she finds as a whole, nobody's really all that perfect. The logical solution of course, is to harvest the pieces she likes and make her own new friend. Don't say you haven't thought of it yourself...
The acting throughout the movie is very strong, with Angela Bettis turning in a strong performance as the socially naive and very weird May (as someone says about her: "I like weird, but not that weird!"). She manages to portray her fragility as well as her crumbling state of mind very well indeed. She's helped along the way by an excellent Anna Farris, playing a lesbian co-worker. Farris has some of the best lines in the movie and delivers them perfectly, adding a lot of dark humor to the film. The cast is rounded out by Jeremy Sisto (of 'Six Feet Under' & 'Wrong Turn' fame/shame respectively) who turns in a capable performance as the focus of May's obsession.
The movie spends a good amount of time building up character and for the first half acts more as an examination of people, rather than an overt horror movie. Director McKee manages to infuse the movie with a juvenile sense of charm, while mantaining mature subject matter throughout. When things finally begin to come to ahead the pace of the movie intensifies slightly, but never actually reaches a fever pitch.
'May' is never really scary - the viewer has a pretty good idea of what's going to happen before it does. Even though there's plenty of blood and gore in the latter half of the movie, it's not viciously done and serves to create an enjoyable macabre atmosphere in the film. Although it might not rack up the frights, 'May' can be pretty disturbing at times, with some scenes that are certain to stay with you long after you've turned the television off. The movie closes off with an excellent ending which paints the entire movie in a very different light. Very enjoyable.
It's perhaps not accurate to describe 'May' as horror, as it's very different from the kind of movies that term usually relates to. It's really more of a disturbing drama, and most likely won't appeal to the majority of horror fans. Moving at a slower pace then might be desired, early events can border on the tedious.
McKee's done an excellent job filming the movie, imbuing it with the feel of an independent film while avoiding the pitfalls of a low budget flick. 'May' is an excellent piece of work, but will likely appeal to a smaller range of viewers than its more traditional hollywood counterparts.