Director: Lucky McKee
Screenplay: Lucky McKee
Starring: Angela Bettis, Jeremy Sisto, Anna Faris and James Duval
Country: USA
Running Time: 93 min
Year: 2002
BBFC Certificate: 18

Have you ever felt isolated from the world? Like the people who you work with don’t understand you and you end up spending the majority of your time alone, fixating on specific details about individuals that you like? If so, you’ll relate to the titular protagonist in Lucky McKee’s directorial debut May. A film that blurs the lines of genre, starting out as a comedy-drama about an awkward girl who’s extremely lonely that really wants to connect with a guy she has a crush on, before turning into a horror film in its final half. I don’t want to give away spoilers, as it’s a delight to see the film unfold at its own pace, but pinning it down would be doing the film a disservice.

Angela Bettis plays May, who as previously mentioned is an awkward lonely individual who finds herself infatuated with Adam (Jeremy Sisto), in particular, his hands. Before ever seeing his face, she noticed his hands and over time, becomes obsessed with them. After growing up with a lazy eye and being forced to wear an eyepatch as a child, May seeks to find the perfect elements of human beings, whether it’s Adam’s hands, her co-worker Polly’s neck or Polly’s girlfriend’s legs, May longs for somebody to view her in the same way. It’s a fascinating character study, similar to Taxi Driver’s Travis Bickle or more recently, Saint Maud’s titular Maud, where you can understand why the character is the way they are, even if they’re not inherently good people at the end of the day. 

Adam, the love-interest in the film is a fun character, he’s a horror nut who loves the work of Dario Argento and finds May just as intriguing as the audience does. He’s likeable, until he isn’t and I thought the dynamic between the two was really fun to watch, because the film never really wants you to root against either, which I really liked. What separates May from other character studies, is the aforementioned genre-bending nature of the film. While the film is never laughing at May for how she is, there’s humour to be found with the awkward nature of her encounters with Adam, how she gleefully recounts a tale of accidentally using the wrong sutures on a dog which results in its chest popping open and its intestines flying out, or her taking Adam’s home movie about a couple who turn into cannibals a bit too literally in one scene. It’s a film that knows when to make the audience laugh, but also when to make them intentionally cringe.

When the final half of the film shifts into a more campy, horror direction, I found myself smiling consistently. It’s gory, funny and there’s a lot of great foreshadowing for what’s to come if you’re paying close attention. Whether it’s a tattoo that somebody shows off in one scene or a line of dialogue from the first act that comes into play at the end, it’s a really tight script that wow’d me throughout. 

Lucky McKee’s direction is fantastic here, it’s the second feature of his I’ve seen after The Woman which I also loved and paired with his great screenplay, solid editing and overall fantastic technical aspects across the board, makes for a great viewing. One of the most fascinating individuals who worked on the film is director Rian Johnson (Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Knives Out, Looper), who edited this film early in his career, as detailed in one of the many bonus features included on this release.

It’s great to see that May found its audience after flopping at the box office back in 2002, not even making back half of its $1.7 million budget. It’s the perfect cult film, giving you laughs, shocks, fun kills and most importantly, interesting characters that you want to spend time with. It was a complete surprise. It’s one of my new favourites and I highly recommend checking it out. 



May hits Blu-ray on the 24th of July via Second Sight FIlms on both Limited Edition and Standard Edition Blu-ray. The transfer looks decent, although a little dated and from what I can tell, no restoration work seems to have taken place from Second Sight directly. Audio wise, there’s two tracks to choose from, a 5.1 Surround mix and a 2.0 stereo. I went with the 5.1 Surround mix and it sounded great, no issues to report. While the visuals definitely feel like they’re from a dated master, the film still looks good and the visual flare on display still comes through well enough. 

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 

Three audio commentaries are included, with two archival commentaries featuring the cast and crew, and one brand new commentary with film critic and author Alexandra Heller-Nicholas.

The first commentary with Lucky McKee, Steve Yedlin, Chris Sivertson and Angela Bettis, Nichole Hiltz, and Bret Roberts is a fun listen. They all mention how this is the first audio commentary they’ve ever done, but that doesn’t stop it from being a fun time. McKee and company point out goofs, fun stories about times on set and point out fun cameos in the film, including McKee himself as well as his father. It’s a worthwhile listen.

The second commentary with Lucky McKee, Rian Johnson, Jammes Luckett, Leslie Keel, and Benji is the most comical of the bunch, but still has tons of fun anecdotes about the production of the film. Benji being the ‘craft service guy’ was the real highlight. 

Alexandra’s commentary is both informative and entertaining. Heller-Nicholas is clearly a huge fan of May and I always love hearing what she has to say about films. She doesn’t disappoint here and highlights how the main theme of the film is being seen. 

The Toymaker is an interview with director Lucky McKee. McKee details his influences, such as Scorsese’s Taxi Driver and Polanski’s Repulsion as well as the teenage angst that drove McKee to write and direct May. He talks about some of his early horror experiences, such as watching Carrie, Psycho III and The Hitcher. It’s a great interview and McKee is super entertaining to listen to. 

Perfect Hands is an interview with Jeremy Sisto, who plays Adam in the film. Hearing Jeremy talk about how Lucky McKee got him to watch some Argento films to get into the character was fun. It’s a short but informative interview.

Blankety Blank is an interview with James Duval. He speaks about his relationship with the horror genre, as well as his early roles in Donnie Darko and Gone in 60 Seconds. Out of all of the interviews included on this release, James is probably the most enthusiastic and fun to watch. 

How to Execute a Murder is an interview with cinematographer Steve Yedlin. Yedlin mentions how Back to the Future Part II is what got him into filmmaking, his experiences working with Rian Johnson, being roommates together and meeting director Lucky McKee. 

Peeling Back the Layers is a great interview with editor Rian Johnson. He talks about how he met director Lucky McKee after graduating film school, how he’s not actually a huge horror fan due to growing up in a Christian household but found it less of a slasher and more of a fairytale. Hearing him recount visiting the set once and help create one of the most iconic shots in the film was great. Also, he shouts out Anna Farris’s performance in Gregg Araki’s Smiley Face, a criminally underrated film. A must-see interview. 

Jack and Jill is an interview with editor Chris Sivertson. He talks about how long Lucky McKee spent writing May and how he directed the ‘Jack and Jill’ short film that plays in the film. 

In the Cut is an interview with additional editor Kevin Ford. Ford’s recounting of how he and McKee met at a Spelling Bee was humorous, he explains his past in documentary films as well as how he shot a lot of BTS footage on set of May. It’s a fun viewing. 

Blood, Gore and Rock ‘n’ Roll is an interview with composer Jammes Luckett. It’s a really fun listen, and she talks about her early experiences with Lucky McKee, how they bonded over their love of bands like Nirvana and how the early test versions of May were shot. Hearing how Jammes created all of the early marketing for the films, such as character bios and a website to promote the film was fascinating. By far the most informative interview here. 

From Frankenstein to May: Miranda Corcoran on May is a video essay discussing the history of Frankenstein, created by Mary Shelley and the adaptations of her work on screen leading up to May, which takes influence from the story. It’s a good listen. 

Bits and Pieces is a collection of footage from the shoot of the film. It’s fun to see people goofing around on set, singing songs and prepping for some of the gorier and violent sequences. 

I wasn’t provided with the booklet or collector’s cards, but I assume they’re up to the same high standard of other Second Sight releases. 

With their release of May, Second Sight Films goes above and beyond with giving the film the release it deserves. After being relegated to DVD for most of its life outside of a recent German Blu-ray release, seeing May get over three hours of supplemental content is an absolute joy and I couldn’t recommend this release enough. The only things holding it back from being perfect are the seemingly dated master and the lack of an interview from lead actor Angela Bettis, which feels like a bit of a missed opportunity given all of the other key figures are here. Still, it’s a stellar release and if you’re a fan of great character studies or horror with campy elements, May will be right up your alley.



Where to watch May
May - Second Sight Films
4.5Overall Score
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