FILM REVIEW: American Mary (2012)

I am in love with American Mary.

To say that the Twisted Twins latest film is one of the most anticipated horror films of the past year would be an amazing understatement. I myself couldn't wait to get a hold of the film in some form. It wasn't until the recent UK release that I was happily satiated with the exploits of Mary and her surgical saws. Thank baby Jesus for region-free Blu-Ray players.
I wanna start off by saying that this film looks incredible. The visionary sisters have definitely honed their knowledge of filmmaking since their debut, Dead Hooker in a Trunk. Just watching the film on mute shows that they truly know how to frame a picture. Scene after scene, the eye is treated to works of art. The color depth and the way the film is shot is breath-taking and truly makes American Mary  a spectacle to behold.

Speaking of spectacles, Katharine Isabelle helps elevate the viewing experience. She's the glue in the film. I honestly couldn't picture another actress playing Mary. She does it in such a way that she ultimately becomes a part of you. You feel her pain. You feel her fear. And you ultimately feel her tortuous consumption as she spirals into a world of bloody desolation. Isabelle also delivers one of the most sexually charged performances without actually getting fully nekkid. She is twisted beauty with a scalpel.

Isabelle is Mary Mason. She's a young medical student studying to become the best surgeon she can be. However, things start to get complicated when her funds run out and she turns to desperate work in order to continue her studies. One night she catches a glimpse into the seedy world of backroom surgeries and high-art body modifications and learns that she has talents beyond her wildest nightmares. It isn't until she is pushed over the edge of her own sanity that she embraces this world.

I loved everything about American Mary. The performances, in particular, help the film stand out in a sea of independent horror films. Tristan Risk turns in a memorable performance all her own as Beatress Johnson. She is a dead-on concoction of quirky, freakish and adorable that works perfectly with the dark sarcasm of the film. A sarcasm that finds a relevant humanistic tone, despite the gory premise.

Antonio Cupo plays the tortured thug Billy Barker. He's tender, grimy and afflicted all in one singular beat. The rest of the cast feels thoughtfully hand-picked for each of their roles. Every character fleshed out and fully realized with masterful writing and a genuine love for genre pulp. There's a nice scene over a chocolate milkshake where badass Lance (the awesome Twan Holiday) consoles an upset Mary with affectionate dialoque that evokes the best of Tarantino. Even when the Soska sisters finally show up for their's merely adding to the awesomeness of American Mary. I, personally, would have loved to see the post-op twins in all of their devilish glory.
And that brings me to my lone gripe of the film. I wanted it to be much longer. In a cinematic landscape where films clock in at over 3 hours, American Mary  should have been much longer than the scant 103 minutes that it is. I wanted more surgeries and more vengeful hijinks. Most of all...I wanted more Mary. Other than that, I honestly don't have much else to say in the way of complaints other than the film sometimes feels a little rough around the edges. Maintaining that independent feel that we all love around these parts.
American Mary is a transcendent film that provokes the dark imagination within us all. Jen and Sylvia Soska have certainly outdone themselves with their sophomore feature effort and comparing American Mary to Dead Hooker in a Trunk is like watching the progression of two talented filmmakers attain massive growth spurts before our very eyes. At this rate, the Soska's will win a fucking Oscar with their next film.

I love American Mary...and you will, too.


Thanks for reading,