American Mary

A medical student who’s piling up debt jumps at the chance when she’s offered a lucrative opportunity to perform extreme body-modification surgeries.

Year: 2012
Certificate: 18
Runtime: 1hr 42m
Director: Jen SoskaSylvia Soska
Starring: Katharine IsabelleAntonio CupoTristan RiskDavid LovgrenPaula LindbergClay St. ThomasJohn Emmet TracyTwan HollidayNelson WongSylvia SoskaJen Soska

Information Page:

“American Mary” is about Mary, a promising medical student, who has financial troubles, so she decides to try stripping, but instead ends up performing surgery on a beat up snitch when the owner of the strip club convinces her with plenty of money. I would give away the story if I told you too much more of what happens, other than that Mary ends up performing illegal, extreme body modifications, while at the same time having some other secrets.

“American Mary” is a low budget film, there are no visual effects used instead they used members of the body modification community to play the necessary roles, and filmed the whole film in just 15 days. However, the film doesn’t feel like a low budget film at all. The cinematography is second to none, the lighting is dark when it needs to be and also subtly brighter when it needs to be. It never goes overboard with excessive, gratuitous violence. Violence occurs when necessary, the rest of the film is just an excellent buildup of tension, although this can make the film feel slow at times.

The performance by Katharine Isabelle is certainly very important because the actress really carries the picture with the strong work. Mary isn’t a simple character but instead someone with several problems who goes through several changes. Katharine does a remarkable job at making us believe everything she’s going through and especially early on as the struggling college student just trying to do what’s right. The supporting players are also good in their roles but there’s no question who the film belongs to.

The film truly is a subtle depiction of a woman who is slowly pulling away from the reality of what she’s doing, but is not completely lacking insight, as you might expect from the typical horror villain. This is what sets this movie apart from many others in the genre. The role of “victim” and “villain” is fluid and often blurred. “Gruesome” is not necessarily synonymous with “torture” or “sadistic”. Mary remains both terrifying and sympathetic throughout the film, aided largely by Katherine Isabelle’s wonderfully nuanced performance.

Perhaps this is why the film received such a mixed reaction from critics: It’s not easily categorised, and the ending (which has been described as rushed and unsatisfactory) is actually a fitting finale for someone who “lived by the knife”.

For those who prefer straight-forward horrors or slasher flicks, you will probably find this film lacking, but for those who enjoy the more unconventional films falling under the “horror” banner, then this is definitely worth watching.

Have you seen this film? Let us know your opinions in the comments below and of course if there are any films on Netflix UK you want us to review let us know!

About Tammy

A parent blogger and mom to 3 adorable children, who likes watching documentaries and dramas.

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