MAY (2002) Reviews and overview

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‘Be careful… she might just take your heart.’

May is a 2002 American psychological horror film written and directed by Lucky McKee (All Cheerleaders Die; The Woman; The Woods), making his directorial debut.

The film follows a lonely young woman (Bettis) traumatized by a difficult childhood, and her increasingly desperate attempts to connect with the people around her. It stars Angela Bettis, Jeremy Sisto, Anna Faris, and James Duval.


May Dove Canady is an awkward, lonely young woman, who suffered from a terrible childhood due to her lazy eye. She has very few social interactions, her only “true friend” being a glass-encased doll named Suzie made by her mother and given to May for her birthday with the adage “If you can’t find a friend, make one.”


May works at a veterinary hospital, assisting with surgeries. Her optometrist fixes May’s lazy eye, first with glasses, then with contact lens. May becomes friends with Adam, a local mechanic. She has a fixation on his hands, which she considers to be the most attractive part of him, and they start dating. Meanwhile, May’s lesbian colleague Polly begins to flirt with her.

May invites Adam to her apartment and he shows her a film he made for his university titled Jack and Jill. The film reveals a story of two young lovers who go on a picnic and end up eating each other. May becomes aroused by the cannibalism in the film. During an intense make-out session, she bites Adam on the lip and it bleeds. Disturbed by her strange behavior, Adam abruptly leaves…



“It follows the traditional outlines of a horror or slasher film, up to a point–and then it fearlessly follows its character into full madness. We expect some kind of a U-turn or cop-out, but no; the writer and director, Lucky McKee, never turns back from his story’s implacable logic. This is his solo directing debut, and it’s kind of amazing. You get the feeling he’s the real thing.”

“ …May is a tragic and gut wrenching look at a girl who would do anything to become the ideal person for the people in her life, and eventually unwound from the aftermath of imperfection and idealistic visions of our loved ones.” – Felix Vasquez Jr., Cinema Crazed


“More successful when the title character finally embarks on her bloody mission than in the dawdling buildup … Mustering some psychological nuance through its comments on loneliness and rejection, this section is more entertaining than the slow setup, which too often presumes to be smarter and funnier than it actually is.” David Rooney, Variety

“The plotting itself manages to sidestep the usual slasher tropes as it slowly and inexorably unravels, all leading up to a quietly haunting conclusion that is as heart-wrenching as it is unnerving. If you haven’t seen it yet, give this one a try.” Bloody Disgusting


“With each rejection, the audience becomes more complicit in her craziness as May kills and dismembers people in an attempt to achieve the impossible: finding someone to have and to hold. Mad props to director Lucky McKee for creating a character so relatable that we want nothing more than for her to succeed.” Jovanka Vuckovic, Rolling Stone

“Whip-smart and bugnuts, May delivers grisly goods, too, with a terrifying mishap at a kids’ rec room and a scene of blood caked so thick and far up May’s arms that it resembles evening gloves. There’s nothing silly in May’s chilling final image. Like The Descent, it’s the ultimate abandonment of tough reality for the simple solace of madness.” Nick Rogers, The Film Yap


Cast and characters:

  • Angela Bettis as May Dove Canady
  • Chandler Riley Hecht as young May
  • Jeremy Sisto as Adam Stubbs
  • Anna Faris as Polly
  • James Duval as Blank
  • Nichole Hiltz as Ambrosia
  • Kevin Gage as Papa Canady
  • Ken Davitian as Foreign Doctor
  • Merle Kennedy as Mama Canady
  • Rachel David as Petey David
  • Nora Zehetner as Hoop
  • Will Estes as Chris, Adam’s roommate

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