Guest Reviews – EMMA EDWARDS – American Mary (2012)


Mary Mason (Katherine Isabelle), a medical student becomes de-glamourized towards her chosen career after financial difficulties and an abusive situation with one of her professors. She then quits and creates a name for herself in the body modification community.
The film shows the falsehood of idealistic and reputable lifestyles.
At first Mary is very fragile and vulnerable, she seems eager to please and impress. Although wanting to be a surgeon, she puts up a toughness in front of superiors, but the first few times she is asked to do anything gritty in the underground/body mod community she freaks out or throws up.
After being driven over the edge by her lecturer – who right from the start is a patronising and aggressive asshole, going off the wall if he isn’t paid attention to or treated with unquestioned respect – she slips further into a state of numbness and becomes what could be described as a sociopath. However, she begins to gain attention from people in the body-mod community and becomes famous and sought after for procedures. This gives her more money than she could ever want and an appreciation which she never got when trying to be a surgeon.

American Mary

American Mary is obviously the film is was made with passion by everyone involved. Apparently the film was shot in only 15 days with no special effects with actors and crew working for free – many of Mary’s patients were actual members of the body-mod community. Also, can I just point out how awesome this film is in terms of female representation, showing strength and intelligence with sex appeal and edge; it passes the Bechdel test.
Characters are somewhat a reversal of how they would normally be depicted in horror. The attractive women, although dedicated to cosmetic surgery, are compassionate and thoughtful, questioning Acts of God and respecting choices. The “sleazy” strip club owner forms a love for and dedication to Mary and intellectual/respected surgeons have sick hobbies and disrespectful attitudes to (usually) women.

American Mary 2

Overall I love this film personally. It is one of the first films in ages that has a truly original idea. I think recently a lot of horror films are very interchangeable and samey; this is something very different to anything else. It holds more of a tone that you would find in Asian horror movies. Although American Mary is an incredibly dark film it’s a lot of fun to watch; it is funny to those with a sarcastic/ sadistic kind of humour. The film is clever and thought provoking without cramming tedious morals or ridiculous twists down your throat. Witty, edgy fun for the whole family… if you are all over 18 and are into horror… Fun for a specific family.

8/10 jam sandwiches.

This has been a review swap with Emma Edwards! Follow the link below to visit her site and read more of her ‘random words’.


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