Friday, 1 February 2013

01/02/2013: American Mary [2012]

So, it's been a long few months since I've taken the time to write something, which is a real shame. Every time I watched a fantastic movie and felt inspired I didn't take the time then, and didn't find it later. But, after watching American Mary, I remembered how much it thrilled me when the Twisted Twins themselves read and commented on my review, ironically about how much my thrilled them. So Ladies, here it goes.

The first time I came across Dead Hooker in a Trunk, it was an exciting discovery to find such a great grindhouse style independent horror flick from a pair of Canadian filmmakers. After watching it I learned how hard the Soska sisters worked making their first movie, and learned they were working on their next, American Mary. So, after almost a year's wait, I've gotten to see it, and in short, I can't wait for their next.

American Mary is about a promising medical student with the typical problem of an ever growing pile of bills. As isn't completely unexpected she turns to looking for work at a strip club, showing up with a resume. But things take a turn when instead of dancing onstage, Mary finds herself cleaning up a rather badly beaten man in the clubs basement. Soon word gets out of a talented surgeon willing to do work off the books but on a table, and Mary finds herself catering to the needs of the subculture of body modification. That's a lot better than the other likelihood, which was working for the mob. It's at this point that American Mary shows itself to be a double edged scalpel (Okay, the puns are getting bad at this point) giving viewers more than a few fascinating looks at some of the more common, and more extreme body modification out there, while also commenting on American society's obsession with body image.

The Soska Sister's first movie, Dead Hooker in a Trunk was not one to shy away from the blood and gore, but when it's done in the grindhouse style it doesn't bother me. American Mary on the other hand is much more surgical in its horror, filling the screen with some rather disturbing images of strange surgeries and some rather painful tortures. But while it always shows us the results I couldn't help but cringe as the camera angles let my own mind run away with itself as Mary sliced and stitched her way through most of her surgeries out of my line of sight. Thinking back I find myself thinking of Hostel (caught the For Eli Roth at the end) when trying to compare this style of body-horror to something, but the thing is, half of these people wanted this done to them, and more than a few of these body mods are rather common these days, which was why I so intently studied everything with a curious fascination instead of thinking how much it must hurt.

American Mary definitely feels right at home amongst the most recent horror movies, but was quite a bit more intelligent than the average. It wasn't easy to guess where it was going to go, and the ending which seems obvious now actually came as a surprise to me, with the last ~20 or so minutes distracting me before brutally reminding me that this is in fact a horror movie, and one of the best this year, last year?

Love the colours in this scene. Oh and those are laces on their backs.
  While knowing that American Mary was being written and directed by the Twisted Twins was exciting already, I'm pretty sure I jumped out of my chair when I learned that Katherine Isabelle was going to star as Mary. I'm a fan of Ginger Snaps and was excited to see her again, and I'll say she certainly didn't let me down, giving a great, and scarily sexy performance as Mary. The rest of the cast did well, including a great appearance by the Soska sisters themselves. Although, I think Twan Holliday as Lance was easily one of my favourite characters.

On top of the great script and cast, the direction was strong and the imagery impressive. The smoky neons of the Bourbon-A-Go-Go, and the workshop like operating room complemented well with the fantastic effects used for the body mods. Although if I read and remember right, a lot of them were real people with real body modifications. To compliment all of the visuals was a great soundtrack as well, and I'm definitely going to have to search for a few of the songs.

I can think of a couple of other twins who were fans of the red doctor's scrubs.

Well Ladies, I have to say you didn't disappoint and even with a few months worth of anticipation American Mary I think surpassed my expectations. Hopefully when it gets a North American release it will become more accessible, because the festival buzz has already spread quite a bit. That should be pretty soon, but if you can't wait you can do as I did and order it from across the pond. Now I can't wait to see what the Soska Sisters do next, and feel like they will continue to make a bigger and bigger name for themselves both in the horror genre and as filmmakers.

American Mary IMDb
Twisted Twins Productions


  1. Damn, now I really can't wait to check this out. Nothing but good reviews so far from reviewers I trust. I'll let you know what I think after I see it!

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