The Woman, or Feral Sex Slave

The Woman

Hold onto your Stockholm syndrome, lads and lasses! This one’s a doozie. Bloody Disgusting indeed. Every time I see that buzz-saw skull, I know I’m in for a real treat.

The Woman. Now, there’s a simple title. What could possibly hide behind such mystifying ambiguity? Surely it couldn’t be a blatant rape fantasy disguised as a would-be noble message of anti-misogyny? Oops, spoiler alert. Truth be told, I went looking for a bad movie based on title alone, and it seems as though my nose is sharp, and my criticism sharper. Let’s crack this nut, shall we?

The WomanThe description should send a message to any interested in rape roleplay, as it suggests a woman living in the wild is captured by a sadistic lawyer who then tries to “civilize her.” This is no Tarzan and Jane story we’re dealing with, I’ll have you know. Torture, nudity, molestation, rape, it’s all there. Quality entertainment. Ever wanted to watch a child perform nipple torture with a pair of pliers? This is the flick for you! There’s no way to look around it, because it’s basically the entire movie.

Plot-wise, there isn’t much to go on. The “protagonists” are a family of four consisting of a chronically depressed (and pregnant) daughter, a delinquent son, a submissive mother, and a complete monster of an abusive father. The father goes hunting, finds the woman living in the woods, knocks her out, and ties her up in his cellar. Then, because he’s such a generous soul, he lets his entire family participate in her civilization. Rather, he forces them, but the film is about sensationalizing rape so that goes without saying.

The WomanThe concept driving the film is designed to cause its viewers to question the difference between “feral” and “civilized.” You would obviously side with the woman after seeing what the lawyer and his son do to her, but I’m of the opinion that it’s easier to express and propagate feminism without portraying its exact opposite to an offensive extreme. As a viewer and not a director, I’d have to say that all The Woman did was piss me off. As such, my review comes down to a matter of taste, and I find this particular film profoundly distasteful.

I shan’t be attaching an alternate review this time around due to the fact that I can’t seem to find a concurrent opinion, and I’d prefer nobody else be subjected to this sensationalist garbage. If you look up an alternate review on your own, you’re going to come across the Sundance festival incident. All you need to know is, there were plenty of walkouts. That’s all. Have a great time not watching The Woman.

Mama is Not Fond of Your Sanity

Mama

Javier Botet is pretty good at playing women. Not normal women, in the sense that normal women wouldn’t eat someone’s face or raise feral children in an abandoned shed. The latter’s what we’re looking at here, because mama-mia, this movie review’s about Mama! In all seriousness, it scared the jack-ripping shit out of me, and I can honestly say that it’s yet another Guillermo del Toro masterpiece. Let’s talk about it.

A man murders his coworkers and wife, kidnaps his daughters, and crashes his car out in the snow wilderness. They happen upon a small cabin, which is where dear daddy decides to kill himself and his daughters rather than have them all face starvation and solitude. That’s when you meet Mama. Mama kills daddy, and raises the girls in her own unique way, unique here meaning they become like animals.
MamaSo daddy’s brother hires a search party to hunt the three down. His girlfriend Annabel is in a rock band, and she’s not fond of children. BUT ALAS. The two old guys and their bloodhound find the two beastie girls, and Doctor Gerald Dreyfuss swings things in court so Uncle Lucas gets the kids. There’s a compromise, though. In exchange for giving them a big, child-suitable place to live, Doc wants access to the kids so he can do a case study.

Of course Mama don’t like nobody givin’ love to her kids; It is ALL downhill from there. I genuinely like this movie, so you’re getting zero essential plot spoilers. You’ll thank me later.

Now, let’s talk a bit about what makes Mama scary. The character and the movie, I mean. My favorite bit is that each and every jump scare is telegraphed. Yes, this is scary. It is about to get even scarier. Will seeing it coming help you? No. No it will not. Even on the third view, the bigger scares still make me wince. Of course, knowing that Mama is always watching tends to creep you out.

MamaMama herself is terrifying. A quick Google search of “Javier Botet” will give you a pretty good idea of the physique you’re dealing with. Tall, lanky, bony. Handsome guy, but now when he’s playing freaky-ass women who like to kill people. They keep her unseen for the most part, but you get plenty of opportunities to gander at her pretty, pretty face later on.

Lilly and Victoria are the girls, by the way. Forgot to mention, but they get to scare you too. Between their creepy little crawl and their tendency to do cute yet startling things, you’ll love them! Wonderful little actresses, the both of them. Take any Stephen King movie, and the kids are all mental defects who like playing and singing and being stupid. Don’t get me wrong, Mama’s girls aren’t right in the head either, but at least their performance is convincing.

Speaking of actresses, Jessica Chastain is distractingly attractive as Annabel. Yes, quite the tasteless thing to note, but it can take away from the tension at times. Let’s be serious: a punk rock bass-playing lass with short black hair, raccoon makeup, and a gruff, sassy attitude. Survey says: Yes please.

MamaOh, and one last thing before the alt review. That scene where it’s supposed to be “late” and the sun’s blazing through the curtains? Happens a few times, but the movie’s good enough to make it forgivable. Also, Lilly eats moths. Several times. Icky. They’re Mama’s signifier, so moths mean Mama. Just thought you should know.

You know what? No alternate review. Maybe I just have a unique taste in movies. Maybe everything I like to watch is actually god-awful. But guess what? I don’t give a fuck! Too many critics are bogus. Mama is a damn good horror movie, and you should check it out. Slight chance of a once-off effect after you’ve seen Mama face to face, but still worth a rewatch or four. And with that, I’m done.