Horror Month Review: American Mary

Director: The Soska Twins
Screenplay By: The Soska Twins
Release Date: May 31, 2013
Run Time: 103 minutes
Rating: R

“American Mary” fails as a horror movie. It is a competently put together film made by two people who clearly know how to make a good movie, but it fails at horror. It has an interesting premise and could have been a perfect Halloween treat, but instead is just another mediocre trick. The movie seems to have come into being more out of a joke that an interest in being scary: what is Jess from “New Girl” turned into a serial killer. Now I want you to stop and think about how much better that would make “New Girl”. Now imagine that potential gone to wast and you have “American Mary”.

Katharine Isabelle as Mary Mason

Katharine Isabelle as Mary Mason

The movie is about a young woman named Mary Mason (Katharine Isabelle), a medical student on her way to becoming a surgeon. She’s also on her way to the poor house, as she can’t play her bills. So she does what all young, attractive women would think to do: become a stripper. Because a part time job isn’t for you if you have nice tits (that, and i’m pretty sure you can’t have a real job while in medical school…so i’ve heard). However, while she is at the club something goes wrong. A man the bouncers were “dealing” with, needs surgery. Due to the nature of his injuries he can’t be taken to a hospital, the the clubs boss has Mary do it.
She agrees and then…the film cuts to her after she’s done. That is one of the biggest issues this movie has. The concept would have made for a great gross-out horror film in the vain of “Saw” of “Hostel”, we never see much of what’s going on. The film I watched on Netflix felt more like a cut made for t.v. Instead of the “real” film.

This is the closes thing to "scary" as the film gets.

This is the closes thing to “scary” as the film gets.

The next surgery Mary preforms is on a woman who wants to become a living barbie by having her sexual parts removed or closed. And again, we see very little, but this time even the idea of the surgery isn’t bothersome. It’s preformed in a vets office, in a sterile environment with all the right equipment. And there is the next big issue with the movie: they are almost all voluntary and done properly. None of this is horror. None is this is even in the ballpark of horror or scary. But you know what else isn’t scary? “The Human Centipede”. But it was gross and that is why people remember it and watched it. The very least this movie could have done is give us some shock value worthy gore.
The next big scene is the hardest to talk about with out coming off like a creep. There is a rape scene about halfway through the movie and…it’s really boring. When it comes to rape in movies, it’s cheep, but it should be the easiest thing to get right in a horror movie. It should be nearly impossible to make something as real and awful as rape the kind of thing someone is apathetic about. Seeing a woman getting violated in that way should get something out of any rational human being and…it just doesn’t work here. Part of that is because it is so obvious what is coming that when Mary doesn’t see it coming and leave it just does not allow for any tension. By the time it happens you’re just ready for it to be over with.
And really, the whole movie is like that. You always know what’s going to happen, but you’re never rewarded for the time you spent waiting for it. The one time the movie doesn’t let you know in advance what’s someone asks for, when you learn what it is you don’t care because it’s so stupid.
Now, if you want a good version of the movie, you should look into the film “Excision”. It is strange, gross and much, much better. The only reason I can give you to watch this is if you literally have nothing else to watch this Halloween.


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