Thursday, October 16, 2014

October Horror Movie Challenge: American Mary (2012)

Directed by the Soska Sisters, American Mary is a Canadian "slasher" film that tells the story of Mary Mason, a medical student who's growing increasingly broke and desperate. After a strange encounter at a strip club, Mary enters the messy world of underground surgeries and body modification which leaves more marks on her than her equally desperate clientele.

American Mary is a film that has garnered a decent amount of praise throughout the horror fandom. Fangoria even called it a modern horror masterpiece. This response just leaves me confused. While American Mary has its moments, it suffers from some sloppy pacing, uneven acting, an underdeveloped narrative, and an a climax that's ultimately unsatisfying.

I really don't understand the amount of love this rather mediocre horror film gets. Am I just missing something?

I'll admit, American Mary's first half isn't half bad. The film does an adequate job establishing its plot and characters, quickly introducing us to Mary's primary motivation and why she eventually passes the point of no return. However, after she takes revenge for something that happened earlier in the film, American Mary goes downhill fast.

The plot begins to unravel, the pacing becomes clunky and uneven, eventually leading you to the boring climax that doesn't even feel like an ending at all. This is especially sad because Katharine Isabelle actually gives a pretty decent performance. She's entertaining to watch, captures the character perfectly, and seems to embrace the subtle dark sense of humor lurking within the film's text. I feel like she's too good for this movie.

Amerian Mary is a film that had some interesting ideas, but ruined them with its shoddy execution. While its definitely not a horrible film, it doesn't deserve the praise it seems to constantly receive. Watch it only if you like Katharine Isabelle and have some time to kill.