Title: The Woman
Director: Lucky McKee
Writers: Jack Ketchum, Lucky McKee
Stars: Pollyanna McIntosh, Sean Bridgers, Lauren Ashley Carter
I watched The Woman not too long ago (whenever it came to Netflix) and then, recently, decided to read the novel by Jack Ketchum as it had been sitting on my "to read" list for quite a while. It actually wasn't until I sat down to write this review that I noticed Mr. Ketchum wrote both the book and the movie, which makes perfect sense because the dialogue was basically pulled directly from the book. Verbatim, almost. Even the story line was essentially the exact same - save for a handful of small changes. But nothing like the changes you see in other adaptations. It was strange. Book purists would love it, I'm sure.
The story itself wasn't terrible - I've always been oddly fascinated by stories of feral humans and The Woman gave an interesting take on that. A feral woman is trapped and held captive by Chris Cleek, a misogynistic sociopath who wants to teach her to become civilized. Not all members of the Cleek family are excited about this new "project", however - though, the son is an obvious chip off the old block - and this split eventually leads to the book and movie's final, bloody conclusion.
The movie soundtrack was odd and ill-fitting. I'd go so far as to say it was my least favorite part of the movie. Soundtracks are supposed to help the audience know how they're supposed to feel during particular scenes. Sometimes a movie's soundtrack can even save it should it find that it suffers from a weak plot or poor acting. That is not the case in The Woman. Honestly, this movie had some pretty heavy scenes and to set them to indie-pop type music just served to negate the seriousness. All of the music is by one artist, Sean Spillane, who also did the soundtrack for Jug Face, which also stars Lauren Ashley Carter. However, I don't remember the music in that movie being as off-putting.
I'm confused what this book/movie intended to say about women. Obviously, it's a topic that the writer intended to explore - he did entitle it, The Woman. Yet, almost all of the women are savagely brutalized, at some point, by the father and son and, other than the final outcome, I never got the sense that any of the female characters had the upper hand over the men. It didn't feel well thought-out, over all. I mean...the writers should know that feral women wouldn't have shaved legs and armpits.
Despite having a pretty interesting story to build from, this movie was a poor adaptation of the novel. It suffered from a confusing message and even more confusing soundtrack.
Would I recommend it? The book, sure. The movie, no. I just can't, in good conscience, recommend it with that soundtrack...
What would I rate each? The book: 3 | The movie: 2