Saturday, 13 April 2013
American Mary (2012).
Boy, was I disappointed with this movie the first time I saw it. Looking back, it really had nothing to do with the movie itself. Magazines and writers on the internet were making this movie sound like the next big step in body horror. They made it sound like this movie was a total splatter fest. I fell into the trap and had high expectations for this movie, especially after seeing The Soska Sisters previous film Dead Hooker in a Trunk and absolutely loving the throwback/Troma vibe to it, and the clever characterization contained within the film.
When I watched American Mary I found a different beast altogether. Yes, it was dark, it was twisted and it was also funny, but it wasn't anywhere near what the hype machine had described it as. Luckily for me, I always watch any movie I am reviewing more than once, so I can grasp anything I might have missed the first time around. My second viewing of American Mary was an epiphany.
This film truly is magnificent.Everything about the movie is spot on. From the direction, to the actors, to the script. It all fits together to make one of the best horror movies I have seen in such a long time. Let me get one thing out of the way though, before I carry on. Don't think of this movie as horror in the traditional sense. This is something else. This is something you have never seen before. Throw away all expectations and get ready for one hell of a dark ride.
The story follows an American medical student named Mary Mason, who becomes increasingly broke and disillusioned with the medical profession at which she is dedicating her life to. She applies to work at a strip club, but before her interview ends, she is taken to a room under the club and offered $5000 to save the life of a man who has been tortured. After being raped at a party by one of her teachers, Mary gets her revenge, and ends up leaving the medical profession to go into body modification surgery full time. A police detective begins to pursue Mary for the disappearance of the doctor who taught her. What has Mary done to him? Will she get away with her crimes?
I really cannot praise this movie enough. It manages to stitch together so many different genres into one dark gory twisted tale. The characters are memorable, sometimes over the top, but they fit nicely into the world of American Mary.
At it's most basic, American Mary is a rape/revenge tale, albeit one that fits the template loosely. The thing that makes this one so different from the others, is that it is the first that can truly boast to legitimately be feminist, as the film is in no way about humiliation, but about the empowerment of the lead character.
This movie has massive amounts of passion, heart and real emotion weaved into the horror. All the way through, no matter what happens to her, Mary refuses to become a victim, and this is an incredibly refreshing thing to see in the horror genre, which has been known to objectify women as either sex objects or splatter fodder.
This movie is phenomenal in every way, and has certainly changed the way I look at horror. It takes a real work of art to change the way somebody thinks, and in my opinion, American Mary is just that. Magnificent.