American Mary (2013)

American-Mary bannerSexy, med-student Mary is behind on her bills and student loans. She is a very good surgeon, but that’s useless when she is also very broke. She goes for a job interview at a strip club (duh), which goes horribly wrong (or right) when she performs underground emergency surgery for $5,000 for the boss… in lacy black lingerie, I might add – looking super-hot with her rockin’ bod. It may not be the job she came in for, but she might as well do what she is good at: cutting people up. This premise alone should stir some hearts and peak some interest. But it gets even more intriguing, more twisted, and more scary.

soska sisters in american maryThis is definitely one of the best horror movies to come out in 2013, along with the remake of Maniac with Elijah Wood. Directors, Jen Soska and Sylvia Soska, are feminist rock stars and my new idols. The twin sisters, along with their company Twisted Twins Productions, have garnered a lot of attention lately. As children, the twins devoured as many Stephen King books as possible and would rate horror movies at the rental store by the amount of gore on the back of the cases. This reminds me so much of my sister and I. I remember, so vividly, when my sister and I used to spend hours at the movie rental store consumed by the horror selections. I saw their debut film, Dead Hooker in a Trunk, and I must say it is an awful film but one that I won’t soon forget. I appreciate what they were trying to do with a minimal budget. Their approach to horror is fuelled by their obvious love for it, and luckily that was realized by people in the business who were able to bring American Mary to life. The Soska sisters love strong female leads and Mary is the epitome of this ideal.

american mary gifAfter Mary saves Billy’s (strip club owners) ass, Mary starts getting house calls from unusual clients, which ends up turning into a very profitable business; one being a woman with an uncanny and creepy resemblance to Betty Boop, who comes to her asking for an unconventional surgery for a friend (think de-sexualized Barbie doll) for $10,000. Mary starts performing a plethora of body mutilations such as: tongue splitting, 3d implants, teeth filing, genital modification, and voluntary amputation just to name a few. These roles are played by real people with true body modifications, not to be used in an exploitative manner, according to the directors. No CGI effects are used in the Soska sisters’ films. To Mary’s surprise, she procures a celebrity status among the underground community for body modifications, dubbed Bloody Mary. She takes this role on as a full time job when (spoilers ahead!!) she is drugged and raped by her professor. Mary is one angry bitch now. You know what else is a bitch? Revenge. Surgeon… Slasher… what’s the difference?

American MaryI love this movie but there are a few things about it that I wish it avoided. The weird relationship between Mary and club owner Billy seems like an afterthought and doesn’t belong in the film. Also, the scenes when Mary is “faking” niceness is just a bunch of sugar-coated annoyingness. I really like Katharine Isabelle (playing Mary) as an actress, but these scenes are contrived. Mary is meant to be a bad girl, so let her be mean. As a whole, I wish the film centered more on Mary’s “work” and expanded the cameo roles of the modified twins (played by the Soska twins). It’s a joy to see such bizarre and creative minor characters. Scratch that, it’s a joy to see such a bizarre and creative movie! There are so many knock-offs and remakes nowadays, but this one holds its own with uniqueness and freshness. The character of Mary is what makes this such a successful film. She is the victim; she is the villain. You love her; you hate her. Regardless of what side you land on, there is no doubting the she is an incredibly strong character. So much so, that the character Mary will be on the second season of Hannibal, the TV series. I haven’t seen the show but you can bet I’ll start watching it now with her in it.

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American Mary (2012) on IMDb

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