Review: The Woman / Offspring

We break down Arrow Video's definitive new edition of Lucky McKee's THE WOMAN (2011), which includes a 4K remaster, brand new bonus features, and a bonus disc featuring a brand new restoration of it's 2009 follow up OFFSPRING.

Recently released by Arrow Video is the Lucky McKee film The Woman, issued as a limited edition two disc set that also includes the first film in the trilogy, Offspring.

On the receiving end of controversy when it was shown at Sundance, The Woman is a visceral examination of misogyny, domestic and sexual abuse, nature vs nurture, and how all of this can hide in plain sight. Pollyanna McIntosh’s Woman causes all of this to collapse in on itself when forcibly introduced to the family unit by the father, leading to a gruesome, yet still touching finale.

Arrow’s Blu-Ray features excellent video quality courtesy of a 4K remaster of the original internegative supervised and approved by Lucky McKee. Sound is likewise excellent with clear dialogue and no distortions that I could notice.

Extras wise the set is well supported, with several commentary tracks and features.

Commentary One: A solo track with Lucky McKee which is chatty and filled with details of the film and choices made.

Commentary Two: A group track featuring Lucky McKee, editor Zach Passero, sound designer Andrew Smetek, and composer Sean Spillane. This is another chatty track detailing the experience of making the film from pre to post-production and showing the film at Sundance.

Commentary Three: A solo track with Pollyanna McIntosh talks about the film, her filming experience, and also gives some insight on how she carried aspects of The Woman through to her sequel Darlin’.

Commentary Four: Scott Weinberg gives us a critical view of the film.

Dad on the Wall (75 mins): The first big extra on the disc is a collection of behind the scenes footage shot by Lucky’s dad, giving a fantastic overview of the production process.

Meet Peggy Cleek (20 mins): A new interview with Lauren Ashley Carter talking about how she came to be involved in the film, the filming itself, and the screening at Sundance.

Malam Domesticum (25 mins): An archival making of featurette.

Meet the Makers (7 mins): Six short behind the scenes featurettes shot for the Chiller channel.

American Horror (45 mins): A standout feature on the disc is this panel discussion filmed at the 2011 Frightfest where Lucky McKee, Andrew van den Houten, Larry Fessenden, Adam Green, Joe Lynch and Ti West discuss the state of horror at the time in a very candid manner.

Deleted Scenes (6 mins), an animated short (7 mins), music video (5 mins), trailers and an image gallery round out the package.

Included in the limited edition set is The Woman’s 2009 predecessor, Offspring. Introducing the character of The Woman, Offspring is a gory tale of a feral cannibal tribe in Maine, but one that, like The Woman, features a male character that emerges as the true villain of the piece.

The picture quality is again excellent as the film has been remastered from the original Super 16mm negative, supervised and approved by director Andrew van den Houten. There were still a few spots of damage that I noticed, but very little otherwise. Sound is again excellent with clear dialogue and no noticeable distortions.

The extras on Offspring are not as extensive as on The Woman, but what is there is good for the most part.

Commentary One: A new commentary by Andrew van den Houten and digital colourist Matt McClain is an interesting technical commentary talking about elements of the restoration and the extensive re-colouring that has been done.

Commentary Two: An archival commentary by Andrew van den Houten, producer/cinematographer William M. Miler, and writer Jack Ketchum is a nice talk about the details of filming and the story.

Pollyanna & Andrew (14 mins): A new conversation with the two talking about how they came to the project.

Fly on the Wall (42 mins): A new making of feature with behinds the scenes footage and interviews.

Progeny (20 mins): An archival making of featurette.

Meet Jack Ketchum (Extended) (6 mins): An extended version of the interview from Progeny.

Restoration Comparison (3 mins): A short feature that shows the extent to which the restored version of the film has been given a radically different look with the colouring carried out as part of the restoration.

Audition to Scene (1 min): A split screen comparison of Andrew Elvis Miller’s audition and the final scene.

First Stolen’s Bailout (3 mins): Andrew van den Houten drives to bail out Stephen Grey after he has been arrested.

Webisodes (18 mins): A selection of behind the scenes shorts.

Outtakes, a trailer, and an image gallery round out the package.

As is usual, Arrow have also included a booklet of essays.

The overall package from Arrow is fantastic, offering restored versions of both films with a slew of interesting and informative extras. The only negative that I have is that a lot of the extras on Offspring share some recycling of footage, but it’s nice to have it there for completion. It also seems a bit of a missed opportunity not to have included the third film in the series, Darlin’, but I can only assume that rights precluded this. As such this set comes highly recommended.

Can we have May now as well Arrow?

Written by Rob Diston