Friends often ask me to recommend indie horror films on Netflix Instant. (American Netflix, sorry!) Now I can just send…
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…
Katharine Isabelle plays Mary Mason, a brilliant medical student aiming to become a surgeon who begins performing unorthodox surgeries of extreme body modification so she can pay the bills, although it's clear money is not the only reason why she is doing this; she enjoys it. After her trust has been shattered and thrown in the garbage can she changes into a person who would probably be best kept far away from her surgical instruments.
It's pretty tame considering torture porn standards and many would scoff at the mere association with that genre but it's the closest classification it fits under. I'm pretty fed up with the idea of contrasting disturbing images with classical music; that's how this movie starts…
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…
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.…
After my utter failure of Cine's Hoop-Tober challenge, it seems slightly ironic that the first movie I watch in November just happens to be a film that would have suited the challenge. American Mary was a bit of an eye-opener for me, a Canadian slasher film with plenty of gore, a few uncomfortable scenes for the squeamish, and a protagonist I actually ended up rooting for.
Katharine Isabelle plays a medical student studying to become a surgeon who is in financial difficulty. Desperate for cash she applies for work in a strip club and during her interview is given an unusual chance to earn a quick $5000. Having written on her application that she was a medical student she is…
Curiously titled, given that it's made in Canada, by Canadians, and doesn't seem to have anything to say about America. But for quite a while it's very engaging, following an amusingly detached heroine as she is driven out of medical school while finding a more immediately rewarding - and cinematic - avenue for her talents.
I think the moment when it starts going wrong is when she sets up shop in her own apartment, and has a giant lug on hand to forcibly eject clients - with a black bag over their heads and everything - who ask for anything boring. (her standards at this point are such that a tongue-splitting is not yet boring.) Seriously, why the black bag?…
Despite having a rushed ending that leaves the film feeling incomplete, American Mary is a worthy body horror film that features an awesome central performance from Katharine Isabelle.
After FrightFest, I want to see everything she's in. An amazing female performer.
Review first published by Little White Lies
American Mary opens with fragmented images of a turkey. If this is a selfconscious expression of anxiety from writers/directors Jen and Sylvia Soska – whose amiably grindhouse-aping debut Dead Hooker In A Trunk might easily have been overlooked for plucking and stuffing – the twin sisters can put their worries to rest. For American Mary, though similarly transgressive in spirit, is miles ahead in quality and craft.
The turkey is also an iconic symbol of America’s foundational values - although here, the bird is not being sliced up for a Thanksgiving dinner, but stitched back together into an avian Frankenstein’s monster. Likewise the Soskas are taking a knife to the corpus of American…
*Watched with Harry Fuertes*
Ushers in a new character into the cannon of iconic horror characters. The Soska Sisters are a duo who I'll be keeping my eye on. They manage to take on a lot without deliberately bringing it up in dialogue. This is where the genre of the film comes in. All the supposed horror related violence is perpetrated and used as a tool to recognize the sexism that is pertinent in Mary's world. There is also the exceptionalist themes that run through the whole film. Not only with the negative party in the film biased towards "America," so to say, but also towards the lifestyle that they had created for themselves. In all regards, Mary is the victim in this film and the only thing she ever did was simply be "an artist."
Life is hard for medical student Mary Mason (Katharine Isabelle). She may be brilliant but she's broke. Got a promising future as a surgeon if only she can lay off buying such fancy underwear and scale down the huge apartment she lives in. Her school money is evaporating. Looking for work in a sleazy mobbed-up strip club, her interview is interrupted by a flunkie with some nasty wounds and she's told if she can make the guy not die, they'll give her more money than she'd make in months. Repulsed, but flush with cash, Mary's life as an underground surgeon is off the ground. Soon she's the go-to artist for extreme body-modification and a murder suspect (things happen), but money is no longer a problem. Skating the crime/horror line, this one is stylishly icky and sleekly fun, just don't think about it too hard. Best moment: The reveal of her teacher's fate.
A student surgeon quits and starts using her skills for body modification in an underground scene.
Pretty decent flick, I liked the plot. Was somewhat disappointed due to it not really being that graphic. With a plot like this the nothing should be left untouched. Some of the acting was subpar.
The premise, style and Katharine Isabelle are all great but the film fades with its running time and becomes more underwhelming as it trundles to a disappointingly bland ending. Shame.
Good film but a little underwhelming.
"It wasn't an eating turkey."
This could have been a great dark comedy about a surgeon's descent into extreme body modification or a great exploitation film about a surgeon getting revenge on a date rapist, instead it is a not great movie about both of those things that doesn't bother developing either. After this and Dead Hooker in a Trunk, I'm confident with lumping the Soska sisters into the Rob Zombie category of horror filmmaking - solid directors with a good creative vision but shouldn't be allowed within ten city blocks of a script.
- 13 Sins
- 100 Bloody Acres
- The ABCs of Death
- Night of the Living Dead
- Night of the Living Dead
- Dawn of the Dead
- Dawn of the Dead
- Day of the Dead
Horror movies are by far my favorite, so I've decided to make a list with all of them I remember…
- 20 Fingers
- Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles
- Almayer's Folly
- A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
- Border Radio
A list of films directed by women, in alphabetical order by director. The notes show the director's country, name and…