Filmhounds Magazine

All things film – In print and online

May (Blu-ray Review)

3 min read

Second Sight

This piece was written during the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. Without the labour of the writers and actors currently on strike, the movie being covered here wouldn’t exist.

As millennials, a generation of pariah’s came of age, there was an influx of bleak, unpleasant, gory films that appealed primarily to lonely goths. Perhaps reflective of universal generational ennui, an obsession with perfection, a knowledge that we would never be thin enough, perfect enough, popular enough. Single faults were enough to make us incapable of connection, a pair of glasses or frizzy hair, if we could just fix that one detail everything would be better. Or at least that’s what the movies told us.

May fits perfectly into this trend, reflective of a time when to be beautiful you had to be perfect, there was no space for difference or individuality.

Second Sight

May (Angela Battis) herself has a lazy eye, corrected with patching as a child, then glasses and contact lenses as an adult, she still feels this imperfection is what prevents her connecting. An attitude encouraged by her mother who tells her to hide it her patch under her hair, and gives her a precious doll that must remain in it’s glass case. A friend for May that is behind glass, out of reach.

May, a veterinary assistant, develops an obsession with Adam (Jeremy Sisto), or more specifically his hands. He pursues a relationship with her, as do others, but are put off by her inability to recognise how weird is too weird.

She obsesses with these failed relationships, or parts of them, and her desperation for love and affection drives her eventually to take exactly what she wants, no matter the cost.

May is sort of a Frankenstein story, but not really, May is a victim as much as her own victims are. Broken by trauma and a society that she feels permanently separate from. This combined with Lucky McKee’s directorial choices that are anchored in timely style and grunge sensibilities makes May an almost perfect example of a specific type of film.

Second Sight

Both quintessentially cool, and personally tragic, it’s easy to recognise how it became a cult classic that resonated with a very specific demographic. That does mean of course that this new release may not be for everyone. If you’re of that generation or even potentially a younger one, it’s guaranteed to tick boxes that are usually only filled by films like Terry Zwigoff’s Ghost World and Andrew Fleming’s The Craft. Somehow managing to be a bleaker experience than either of them. Even at the end there is no real resolution, no relief from the endless sadness and loneliness, just an escalation in May’s response to it.

The disc itself has some excellent special features as usual. There are interviews with the main cast and crew (including Star Wars alum Rian Johnson – who edited the film), a bunch of commentaries and a video essay that dives into the evolution from Mary Shelley’s ‘Frankenstein’ to May.

May is one of Second Sight’s better cult releases, and is well worth dissecting.

Special Features 

  • A new audio commentary with Alexandra Heller-Nicholas
  • Audio commentary with Director Lucky McKee, Cinematographer Steve Yedlin, Editor Chris Sivertson and Actors Angela Bettis, Nichole Hiltz, and Bret Roberts
  • Audio commentary with Director Lucky McKee, Editor Rian Johnson, Composer Jammes Luckett (formerly credited as Jaye Barnes Luckett), Production Designer Leslie Keel, and Craft Services guy Benji
  • The Toymaker: a new interview with Director Lucky McKee
  • Perfect Hands: a new interview with Actor Jeremy Sisto
  • Blankety Blank: a new interview with Actor James Duval
  • How to Execute a Murder: a new interview with Cinematographer Steve Yedlin
  • Peeling Back the Layers: a new interview with Editor Rian Johnson
  • Jack and Jill: a new interview with Editor Chris Sivertson
  • In the Cut: a new interview with Editor Kevin Ford
  • Blood, Gore and Rock ‘n’ Roll: a new interview with Composer Jammes Luckett
  • From Frankenstein to May: Miranda Corcoran on May
  • Bits and Pieces: on the set of May

Limited Edition Contents

  • Rigid slipcase with new artwork by Bella Grace
  • 70 page  book with new essays by ​​Joseph Dwyer, Dr Rachel Knightley, Mary Beth McAndrews and Heather Wixson
  • 6 collectors’ art cards 

May is released by Second Sight on Limited Edition Blu-ray on July 24th

Second Sight