Lucky McKee's heartbreakingly brilliant May is the sort of flick that, on paper, sounds like yet another "disaffected loner suffering mightily before dramatically losing touch with reality with horrifically bloody consequences" affair - and to some small degree it does fit that designation...only it's about 50 times better than that description often implies. Anyone familiar with this crowded sub-genre make liken May to films like Carrie, The Craft, Christine, Laserblast or (if they really know their stuff) the Clint Howard gorefest Evilspeak, save for the fact that McKee's film is darker, funnier and more bizarrely touching than all of those movies combined. The history of this soon-to-be cult-classic is rather interesting in and of itself: first-time writer/director produces an uncompromisingly unique film, showcases it (4 popular screenings!) at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival, has it purchased for an even million by Lion's Gate Films, and earns an arcane "test release" on ten screens in Fresno and Austin. Lion's Gate wisely opted to let May linger at one Austin multiplex, which allowed me to catch it on an excursion away from the 2003 South By Southwest Film Festival. The theater manager informed me (and the two pals I forced to come) that "you guys are seeing what's probably the movie's final theatrical appearance", and my loyal friends and I were the only three people in the entire theater. Between cab fare, tickets and snacks, May set me back about 35 bucks - and I consider every cent money well spent. Since May will undoubtedly become a massive cult fave once it hits DVD, I'll gladly avoid giving away too many plot specifics, but here's the general idea: Saddled throughout her childhood with a rather unattractive 'lazy eye', May Kennedy is a mousy, socially inept and altogether ignored 'ugly duckling' of a gal - which is not to say that May is UGLY in any way. As played by the amazing Angela Bettis, May possesses a fragile beauty that makes the character all the more sadly endearing. Convinvced by her stunningly insensitive mother that she's destined for a lifetime of loneliness, the now 20-something May spends her days as a veternarian's assistant and her nights confiding in a rather creepy homemade doll given to her by dear old Mom. Shaken from her self-imposed routine of isolation and despair by a crush on a seemingly sweet local mechanic (Jeremy Sisto, offering a surprisingly excellent performance), May takes a few tentative steps toward improving her social skills. Alas, the lessons learned during her alienated childhood prove too powerful to overcome, and the tragic goofball begins to sink quickly into a dementia known only by the world's most insane seamstresses. (That was a hint...and it's all you're getting from me at this point.) It's hard to say which is more impressive: that May deftly juggles gruesome horror, bizarrely touching romance, pitch black humor and heart-wrenching tragedy with nary a misstep - or that everything on display is presented courtesy of a filmmaker working on his first feature film. One thing that is an absolute certainty: Angela Bettis delivers one of the finest acting performances I've ever seen in a horror film - and I've seen about 3,000 of 'em in my time. The relatively unknown (at least at present) actress inhabits the title character with haunted eyes, delicately pale features and an entirely lovable sad-sack persona - and it takes an actor of supreme skill to retain some semblance of sympathy as they commit the horrible things that May eventually does. In other words, Bettis is drop-dead perfect and her presence elevates an already excellent film into something truly special. (Also worthy of resounding praise is the stunningly amusing presence of Anna Faris - who plays May's co-worker and astonishingly playful lesbian pal. If all you know of this gal is her work in the Scary Movie flicks, be prepared to be blown away.) There's no denying that May is quite simply NOT a film for all tastes, but if you like your genres stewed together and cooked into a film so sinfully wonderful that it defies description, I absolutely recommend you search this one out as soon as possible. I had to travel over 1,000 miles to check this flick out and I consider myself lucky for having done so.