American Mary (2012)
Review by Jude Felton
Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, or just don’t use the interweb, you will no doubt be familiar with Canadian siblings Jen and Sylvia Soska. The filmmaking duo first came to our attention with their debut movie, Dead Hooker in a Trunk, but the attention for their follow-up, which I am reviewing now, has been nothing short of phenomenal. I honestly don’t recall the last time a director, or directors, got this much coverage, even to the point of overshadowing the film. Tarantino? Eli Roth?
This might be issue, had American Mary, which has finally hit the US from XLrator Media’s Screamfest imprint, wasn’t so damned good. I don’t mean good in a solid indie flick kind of way; I mean this is just damned good. From the look of the film, the plot and the acting, not to mention the directing, this is a film that lifts itself far above many films of its kind.
What I do find strange is quite why it took so long to hit the US in a wide release. It had already seen the light of day on a very nice region-free Blu-ray from Universal over in the UK, but here the majority of folk had to wait for it. Well, it was worth the wait, of that you can be sure.
The film follows medical student, Mary, who is having a tough old time in her chosen field; the main issue being broke all of the time. This is something that changes once she gets drawn into the underground body modification scene. This allows her to express herself, not to mention make a ton of money, as well as get a little payback to those that have wronged her.
American Mary is a classic tale of the underdog breaking free and making their way to the top, only to see the power slowly corrupt and bring them crashing back down to Earth. The real strength behind this terrific tale is the central performance from Katharine Isabelle. Probably best known, prior to this, for Ginger Snaps, which in itself was a cracker of a movie, Isabelle really delivers the goods in American Mary. Quite honestly the movie rests on her performance; had it sucked, the movie would have been a waste of time. So, fortunately this was not the case.
Aside from being a dark a twisted horror flick, you’ll also find yourself treated to some rather good SFX and fear not as the Soska’s are not afraid to ladle on the claret.
All being said, American Mary puts a nice twist on a fairly common movie theme, cranks it up and lets it run with it. Forget the bullshit hype; the Soska’s are terrific folk and despite all the hyperbole have backed it up with a rather good movie. Sure, they are incredibly marketable to the horror-loving public, but that wouldn’t mean Jack without the talent behind it; and they certainly have that in abundance.
American Mary is a very cool and most enjoyable movie, so much so that I have two editions of it, and I would not hesitate to recommend it to all but the most cynical movie fan. I wait with baited breath for whatever dark delight the Soska’s deliver next.
American Mary is available on Blu-ray and DVD from XLrator Media.