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Movie Breakdown: American Mary (Noah)

May 16, 2013

Film

People are doing traditional-style reviews all over the web, so we decided to try something different.  In each “breakdown” we’ll take a look at what a film’s marketing lead us to believe, how the movie actually played, and then what we learned from it all.  Read on!

The Impression:

After my last round of VOD torture, I can’t say I have much hope for the unknown films that end up in my drop-box. That said, after a brief internet search, it does seem that American Mary has garnered favorable reviews from the horror community. This still means little to me, but at least I know someone, somewhere has said something nice about this film.

The Reality:

You know, I was pleasantly surprised by American Mary. The story of a med-student forced down the path of illegal body modification was both gruesome (though tastefully so) and surprisingly delicate. Mary Mason (Katherine Isabelle) is a broke, surgical student with a knack for splitting tongues and putting horns on goth twins with more than a few dirty secrets hiding in the basement. When the secrets start bubbling to the surface things, as they always seem to, start to go wrong. American Mary is a solid little bit of horror anchored by a strong, sassy performance by Katherine Isabelle. Though The Soska Sisters, the directors, don’t shy away from some fairly brutal imagery, the majority of the horror floats about in the dark, almost morbid atmosphere they place their central character in. What American Mary does best though is that which the great horror films always do, it addresses an issue (here, the medical profession) greater than the confines of horror, but in a way that the most extreme of circumstances can be explored. The Soska Sisters do strong work in their debut, creating a world of dark and seedy bod-mod that seems both realistic and approachable.

The Lesson:

People who want their tongues split in half voluntarily are people too.

American Mary is out on VOD now.

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