Reviewed byNatasha HarmerVote: 7/10/10
One of the most original horror films of recent years American Mary isa darkly comic gore- fest about revenge and back-street bodymodification.
Mary (Katherine Isabelle) is a promising and dedicated medical studentwho, like all students at one point or another in their studies, fallsfoul of financial difficulty. Lured into the world of body modificationby the handsome prices offered by weirdos with a desire to makethemselves more unique, Mary finds a way to continue her studies whilstearning some pretty good money. Wrongly assumed to have become aprostitute by her creepy professor she is invited to a sleazy surgeonsparty unaware that he has ulterior motives that make her new foundprofession start to take over her life.
American Mary is one of few horror films that's focus is on the femalecharacter's strength. Mary goes from being a hardworking model studentto a psychotic body modification surgeon in a seedy strip club whereshe originally auditioned to work. The transformation from quietstudent to headstrong surgical dominatrix after being violated is bothempowering and contradictory of the traditional representation of womenin horror. Katherine Isabelle is as charismatic as she is beautiful andshe completely owns the character. She maintains an air of mysterywhich makes you constantly question her intentions towards the peopleshe meets and her performance will keep you on your toes.
Darkly comedic and completely twisted American Mary is one damn goodreason for women in the media to be more prevalent in the horror genre;there's no fluff in this film, no cliché crap and very littlepredictability. It has no eye-roll moments of exploitation andIsabelle's performance is empowering for women as well as easy on theeye for the men; a good balance that excludes neither gender from theaudience like so many horror films do. The Soska sisters show theirlove for the horror genre and its brutality but also its more sexy side(which is weird considering all the blood, but there we go!) andAmerican Mary is clearly a labour of love and not just some uncared forcliché torture porn that's been churned out as a money maker. Thesettings are seedy and dark and the sleazy underbelly of society iswell portrayed but in an almost desirable fashion that enables us tosee how easy it is for Mary to get sucked in to this world where moneycomes easily if you're willing to leave your comfort zone.
If you can ignore the occasionally questionable performances AmericanMary is an all round brilliant horror film that sucks you in to thisbrutal, seedy, sexy universe for 100 minutes and refuses to let yourattention slip. What happens to Mary's professor is as genius as it isdisturbing, but you will have to watch to find out for yourself.
Reviewed byRed-BarracudaVote: 7/10/10
Even at this early stage this interesting feature from Canada has thelook of a future cult movie. It's decidedly left-field in subjectmatter. In it a female medical student with financial troubles turns tothe shady world of underground surgeries. Before long she is carryingout more and more outlandish procedures. Pleasingly this one isdirected by women. It's ridiculous in this day and age how rare itremains for women to be given the director's reigns. This film showsthat the female vision can be very twisted and macabre indeed. Thedirectors are identical twins Jen and Sylvia Soska who appear in acameo as Eastern European sisters who crave bizarre body modifications.Their direction is very stylised but with grit where necessary. I'm notusually queasy when it comes to movies but I can honestly say that onesurgical scene left me looking away. The third female presence is starKatherine Isabelle of Ginger Snaps fame. She is very good in a dark andsexy performance. She is a great anti-heroine and her revenge moment ona man who attacked her is one that had me inwardly cheering.
Seeing as this is a Canadian horror film perhaps a comparison withDavid Cronenberg is inevitable. But in this instance it's a fairlyrelevant one as in many ways this is another example of the body horrorsub-genre. It's a film that combines contemporary sadistic horror witha view of an unusual subculture of people who modify their bodiesthrough surgery. It isn't a very story driven film to be fair and itsometimes lacks a bit of overall dynamism but this is only a relativelyminor observation and it is pleasingly original for the most part.Overall the feature could perhaps best be described as what wouldhappen if Clive Barker was to direct a film that combined elements ofHard Candy and Audition.
Reviewed byrterenziniVote: 7/10/10
American Mary is a strange story of revenge and finding one's niche inthe world. It's easy to dismiss as a hack/slash piece of pulp, but Ihave to admit I enjoyed the film for its weird elements. It providesantagonists who are easy to hate and a protagonist who has aquestionable lifestyle, yet is still very likable, due in no small partto actress, Katharine Isabella. She's smart, funny, and does a nice jobhandling a really bizarre story line. BE WARNED, this story is NOT foreveryone. It has some very disturbing elements and is highly graphic innature. That being said, the movie combines drama, dark comedy, andgore in a way I, as a viewer, found interesting. This is not a horrormovie. Viewers going into the film with that notion will bedisappointed. Again, this is a weird and graphic film and not for thosewho are easily (or even not so easily) disturbed. It has a questionablemessage and is weird in ways one may have never considered. It thoughtis was inventive and strange and I enjoyed the unexpected trip.
The allure of easy money sends Mary Mason, a medical student, into the world of underground surgeries which ends up leaving more marks on her than her so called 'freakish' clients.