DVD Review: American Mary
Currently available on DVD & Blu-ray.
When reading the synopsis for American Mary, initial thoughts were ‘ok, another movie in the vein of Excision.’ Well superficially, this is the case – a young lady with ambitions to work in medicine becomes affected by a major incident in her life. However, when you watch American Mary, you realise it is nothing like Excision – the two are completely different movies.
Mary finds med school a major struggle; her mentor is highly critical and she’s short of money. One day she finds an advert online which presents the opportunity for easy dosh. Here she meets Billy (Antonio Cupo), owner of a seedy club who, after holding an unusual interview, offers her the chance to earn $5000 using her surgical skills. Following this incident, Mary is contacted by Beatress (Tristan Risk) who introduces her to the world of underground surgery and body modification. Trying to balance her future career with making easy money leads Mary to a crossroads in her life – to a definitive moment that will change her and everyone involved forever.
The Soska Twins have managed to combine Cronenberg/Miike-esque body horror without (thankfully) taking the Tom Six route. Whilst there is a fair amount of blood which is expected in genre movies such as this, the real horror revolves around the perverse actions of various people in ‘authority’ – and how some can use their position to disgusting and sickening effect.
Katharine Isabelle (Ginger Snaps) is outstanding as Mary Mason, the med school student who becomes disillusioned with the world she once admired. Her character which starts off as an ordinary, skint girl trying to make it in the world of surgery evolves into a highly complex troubled soul who’s not sure who she is and where she belongs. Strong support comes in the form of Antonio Cupo and Tristan Risk as the potential love interest and new BBF respectively.
In an industry that is male dominated, it’s refreshing to find not one but two female directors (granted, they are twins) who are making genre movies. Their passion for film is evident for all to see and they do pretty well considering the relatively small budget. The way in which they wrote Mary’s character as a strong, assertive yet terrified, vulnerable woman is also impressive as females in this genre are all too often portrayed as helpless eye candy.
American Mary is decent, far from perfect but is definitely worth watching if only for Isabelle’s brilliant performance.
FMV Rating ***