However, such proves not to be the case after all and as the film opens proper, it turns into something quite different. It instead becomes a weird love and rejection story as we follow the amazingly withdrawn Angela Bettis as she engages in a romance with Jeremy Sisto and then has a girl-girl fling with co-worker Anna Faris, only to find herself painfully rejected by both. The first of these romances is filled with some eccentrically lovely images of Angela Bettis caressing her face against the upraised hand of a sleeping Jeremy Sisto in a cafe; the charming scenes as the two first talk at a laundrette. There are some peculiar bits littered around the edges of the film the guy in the veterinary clinic going on about his dogs missing leg, and especially Anna Faris, who manages to turn everything she does into a seduction cutting her finger with a scalpel and relishing the pain; asking Do you want to watch me file?; and dancing on a table and bringing her face up to Bettis, Do you like pussy ... cats?
When it comes, Angela Bettiss rejection, even though eccentrically delivered, manages to feel painfully heartfelt. Your heart goes out to her during the scene where she stands outside Jeremy Sistos front door and hears him inside talking about his weirdo ex, and you can feel the amount of pain that she does during the scene where she stands in the shower and he rebuffs her on the phone. It is equally the case during her visit to Anna Fariss place where she realises that Faris has another woman with her (peculiarly represented by only a pair of legs dangling into the frame from behind Faris as she and Angela Bettis talk at the door).
It is in the latter third that May eventually spills over into being an outright horror film. There are certainly a number of horror film references throughout director/writer Lucky McKee is clearly a Dario Argento fan, placing posters for Tenebrae (1982) on Jeremy Sistos apartment wall and having him express amazement that Angela Bettis has never seen Trauma (1993). Later Jeremy Sisto shows Angela Bettis his student film, a rather funny parody that starts out as a perfectly straight-faced romance and then has the couple devouring one anothers fingers and splattering gore.
The horror scenes are both bizarre and upsetting there is a weirdly horrible scene where Angela Bettis takes her doll to the blind school where she volunteers and the children insist on opening it from its glass cage despite her protestations but drop it, ending with them crawling around on the broken glass. The scenes when Angela Bettis does eventually start killing have a funny, blackly comic edge. The self-mutilation scene that climaxes the film is horrible, even if the final twist coda that the film goes out on is predictable.
In the title role, Angela Bettis gives an intensely introverted, yet also highly appealing performance, and is clearly an actress with much potential ahead of her. (Indeed, the Online Film Critics Association gave her a surprise nomination for Best Actress for the role in their 2004 awards). Jeremy Sisto, an actor one predicts we are going to be hearing major things from soon, plays with enormous natural charisma. Anna Faris, best known for Scary Movie (2000) and sequels, will probably never convince the world that she is a great actress, but this is about the nearest she has ever given to a standout performance.
May was the solo directorial debut of Lucky McKee who had previously co-directed the slasher film All Cheerleaders Die (2001). McKee subsequently went onto direct the horror films The Woods (2006), Red (2008) where a man seeks revenge for the murder of his dog, the harrowing The Woman (2011) and the remake of All Cheerleaders Die (2013), as well as the Ding Dong episode of Tales of Halloween (2015).
(Nominee for Best Actress (Angela Bettis) at this sites Best of 2002 Awards).