Appearances are everything
A young med student struggling with her tuition fees is drawn into the shady world of underground body modification.
Despite the strong reviews and festival buzz I was still rather sceptical about American Mary mainly because I loathed the Soska twins first film, Dead Hooker in a Trunk. I’m pleased to report that this is a significantly more accomplished feature; a female empowerment horror movie with a strong central performance that anchors the film. Mary is a student surgeon struggling to pay her way through school and find her place in a male driven profession. When she is given quick money for a black market operation she opens the door to the odd world of extreme body modification which she embraces after being abused by her teacher.
In its simplest terms this could be described as a rape revenge…
I'm changing specialties Dr. Grant.
Few modern horror movies have memorable protagonists or antagonists. Having both in one film is practically impossible in this day and age, but if you get just one of those it's something special. Like 2009's The Loved Ones (which is a better film), American Mary features a female lead that is not only memorable but easily surpasses everything else in the film as it's biggest strength and the main reason to watch.
Katharine Isabelle, from Ginger Snaps fame, is that female lead as Mary Mason, a medical student that finds her way into the business of extreme body modification. It's an incredibly entertaining performance and probably the best of her career. Her character…
1st Mistake I Made While Watching This Film: Eating
2nd Mistake: Continuing to eat.
"Ewww the opening is her seeing and cutting pale raw flesh"
*its just chicken*
*gets disgusted 10 minutes later by real gore*
Anyways, American Mary is an odd little thriller from the Soska sisters that had quite the buzz earlier this year within the horror scene. The film had an abundance of style, gross out moments, sexy characters, weird characters, WTF characters and lacked in virtually everything else....
Katharine Isabelle plays the role of Mary Mason with innocence and cute intelligence at first but as her journey into the world of underground surgery and body mutilation unfolds, she becomes increasingly detached and…
Katharine Isabelle you are a goddess.
What a lovely twisted surprise.
This film got on my radar through Letterboxd and its ratings and intriguing poster landed it a spot on my watchlist and had me make sure I would read nothing about it.
And that's the way to go really as this is a film that slowly sucks you in and takes you to unexpected places. It is an interesting scrawl through the mind of someone who is slowly losing grasp of reality, and a moral compass.
What this film does right, and this is something most modern horror films should pay close attention to, is that it tries to be its own film.…
The Soska twins' viscerally unsettling, though ultimately unremarkable American Mary typifies contemporary horror cinema’s unpleasant tendencies for style over substance. What begins as a promising one woman showcase that treads in Lucky McKee-esque territory ends stumbling into an insipidly contrived version of I Spit on Your Grave complete with an anticlimactic denouement that smacks of a rush job. But if there’s anything that the Soskas have done admirably well then it’s definitely the inspired casting of indie scream queen Katherine Isabelle as the titular lead, her most memorable role since playing as feisty, sexually repressed Ginger Fitzgerald, Canadian cinema’s greatest contribution to the lycanthrope canon which spawned three outstanding modern werewolf films. Isabelle channels her inner Barbara Steele as part…
Knuckle-gnawing body-mod horror blends with Meir Zarchi-style, female-empowering rape-revenge in a deliciously dark shocker-thriller from the directors of Dead Hooker in a Trunk. Ginger Snaps' Katharine Isabelle is a strong lead, convincing as both a desperately broke med student and then later a toughened, cold-blooded psycho-surgeon; Tristan Risk's plastic-faced Betty Boop-alike is grotesquely fascinating and the surgery scenes are the most excruciating of their kind since Takashi Miike's Audition. Running throughout is a fiercely feminist streak which intelligently questions what it means to be objectified rather than indulging in mindless penis-lopping (though there is that too). The ending's a little underwhelming, but this is an exploitation shocker with real brains, and plenty of other dismembered body parts too.
Its clear that I think more of this film than many others but maybe that's because I always rate a film according to how much I have enjoyed the experience. Nobody should look at my ratings to access whether I think the film well made in the normally accepted sense. Basically, if a film works then I don't care about the finer details of technique, I'm too absorbed by the content. I thought this was great and was most surprised how stylish, bold, thoughtful, amusing and flinch inducing it really was. Helped enormously by a fantastic central performance from Katherine Isabelle this explores the weird world of body modification and is a most impressive achievement from the Soska sisters. It…
If you are a fan of body horror films, check it out.
Oh, this was bad. Totally incoherent, poorly edited, and poorly written. When the directors were putting together the final cut, if there was a slow spot, they tossed in the title character dancing around in lingerie. I guess it is bad in a somewhat interesting way because I've never seen a horror movie about body modification, but it's not even clear what's supposed to be horrifying. Quite a turkey.
This was a New York Times Critic's Pick, by the way.
I enjoyed the beginning of this movie a lot but it unfortunately started to lose the plot around half way through.
"American Mary" begins well enough. The story of a medical student who tries to pay her college debts by performing questionable medical procedures offers suggestions, early on, of Cronenbergian coolness. The film seems to revel in the near-disturbing possibilities of the flesh. Unfortunately, by film's end, it has struggled to reach even the dubious levels of Eli Roth and descends into gore-soaked tedium.
The film is slick and well-shot, offering dark recesses into which the camera can peer. Its cast is capable, and the pacing is quick. Where the film sags is in its story. While its premise is interesting, and its movement into revenge thriller territory is compelling, the film misses opportunities to develop its characters or to say anything intriguing. It languishes in watchable but superficial genre beats.
Horror fans may enjoy the theatre-of-ick provided by "American Mary," but the lacluster and uninvolving narrative will prevent them from total enjoyment.
The movie was more than I expected. Though the ending was less than satisfactory (I won't spoil it), I found the character of Mary to be totally bad ass.
A decent film, but an odd film. The beginning was set up quite nicely, then it got strange, then even stranger. Katharine Isabelle carried the film from beginning to end; this movie probably would have been harder to watch without her.
I didn't really know what to think when I came into this. I saw the square on my PS3's Netflix app and all I could do was wonder and hit play. And though is may have been mild, it did exactly what I wanted or needed it to. Mary's actions aren't glossed over or portrayed as good- but they are given weight and meaning. She is given weight and meaning as a human being. Her behavior is legitimately typical of antisocial personality disorder- short of the violence, perhaps, but as I said before the violence is given weight. Meaning. There are rational motivations there, even if they are sometimes taken to irrational reactions.
What I'm trying to say is that this is one of the best-written sociopaths since American Psycho or Dexter, with all the calculation and perhaps a whole lot more moral ambiguity.