American Mary (movie review)–2013

American Mary poster


Director:  Jen and Sylvia Soska

Starring:  Katharine Isabelle, Antonio Cupo, David Lovgren, Twan Holliday


Prior to attending Spooky Empire’s Ultimate Horror Weekend last October, I had only vaguely heard of American Mary.  I know, I know—I was under a rock.  Truth is, I have a bad habit of NOT giving modern horror (or any cinema for that matter, or music) much of a chance.

I blame it on Today’s youth.  If you are one of Today’s youth, you piss me off.  Your taste in film, music, hair style, car style, clothing style and everything in between sucks.  Unless you’re actually reading this, in which case you should pat yourself on the back because landing on The Nerdcronomicon is the best decision you’ve made in a long time.  Now go cut your fucking hair, Bieber.

Anyway, after sitting in on several panels and hearing folks speak very positively about the film, I finally got around to watching it this afternoon.  Despite my best efforts, I have to confess that my hopes weren’t entirely high for this one.

Why?  Because, as chauvinistic as it sounds, I thought that all the hype over the Soska Sisters was just that.  Hype.  I hadn’t seen any of their other work and my impression was that folks thought it was “cute” that a couple of twin sisters from British Columbia decided to make some horror movies.

I was wrong, so if the Soska Sisters happen to read this, please accept my apologies ladies.

Now on to the synopsis and my thoughts.

Mary Mason is a Medical Student in what I can assume is the end (ish?) of her education.  However, she’s completely broke, so like any other normal college student with loan issues, Mary does the only logical thing.  She goes to a nudie bar to ask about a job, and during the course of the interview the dude that apparently runs the joint finds out that she’s a medical student.  As fate would have it, some dude gets all fucked up and they offer Mary five grand to fix him up.  She’s happy to do it, because apparently the black surgical gloves she favors are really expensive.  One thing leads to another and Mary ends up doing some extreme “body modification” work for some of society’s misunderstood expressionists—which is a really nice way of saying that she nips, tucks and slices shit off for some fucked up Goth people.   And she makes a metric shit ton of money doing it.  There’s a few other little twists and turns, as well as an ending that just feels appropriate (there’s really no other way to put it.)


AM dissection

Seriously, where does one even FIND black surgical gloves?!?


So is this one completely original?  Nope.  Without giving away too many secrets, let’s just say that this film basically follows the same outline as another gem that rhymes with “I shit on your cave.”  However, this film is also classy as hell.  (“I shit on your cave” is not)  There’s almost a Hannibal Lector quality to this, and call me homicidal, but I enjoy a good dissection set to a classical piano soundtrack.  Plus Mary’s choices in undergarments and red wine lead me to believe that she’s the kind of classy broad that would frequent The Nerdcronomicon.

Alas, there was one downside for me.

The gore.  Or lack thereof.

I mean, don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty of blood in this, but given the plot here I was expecting buckets.  There are some cringe-worthy close-up shots of some scalpel work that gave me the willies, but I would have preferred a little more wetness on this one.  You frequent readers know my preferences.

But that would have made American Mary less than what it truly is, which is a very artistic movie that has the potential to touch the viewer on many levels, and not just the gag factor.  (after you watch this you’ll realize just how funny that comment really is…)

So, if the Soska Sisters are STILL reading this, keep up the good work lassies.  I’m looking forward to their next project, “See no Evil 2.”


–Tysontyson headshot


The Verdict


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