Thursday, January 31, 2013

Made in Canada

There seems to be a lot of hype, lately, concerning Jen and Sylvia Soska's latest picture, American Mary.

And it's WELL-FUCKING DESERVED!  I have been waiting to see this for AGES and I finally broke down and bought the blu-ray and had it shipped from the UK.  I'm REALLY fucking glad that I didn't waste my money on this.  It MORE than makes up for Texas Chainsaw 3D.

After their insane romp through Action-Movie-Land in Dead Hooker In a Trunk the Twisted Twins were recognized as the new mistresses of gore.  I don't think (and I kind of don't hope) that we will get a sequel to Dead Hooker but American Mary cements the sisters as the leaders of the pack in the new generation of horror directors and reaffirms Katherine Isabelle (Ginger Snaps) as the best Canadian export since Yukon Jack.

These two.  Such madness.  It's sweet, really.

In American Mary, we're introduced to... ummm... well... Mary.  We're never actually told where Mary is from but it is assumed "America".  Somewhere in the Northwest that is a couple of days from L.A. (revealed close to the end).  She's a med student.  Apparently a damn good one, according to her professor but he's an asshole so whether or not you choose to agree with him is totally on you.

Mary, like any other promising med student, has a fantastic apartment but lives on ramen and hope and she's behind in her bills.  The only reason she has turkey in the house is to practice her suturing.  Seriously, woman?  Stitch the bitches up and DEEP FRY THEM!  It's TURKEY!  Widely recognized as "eatin' bird". 


So, she loses her restaurant gig and, like any other promising med student (there's a theme, here), decides, "Hey, I'm kinda hot," and goes to get a job as a stripper.  She brings a resume.  Because sleazy strip clubs check references.  In the middle of her "application", something goes down where a doctor is needed and she gets paid five grand to take care of it.  Insert "huddled in the shower sobbing" scene here.

Apparently, her resume gets passed around because we're then, creepily, introduced to Beatress (Tristan Risk who has a WONDERFUL career ahead of her as a character actress), a young woman with a LOT of disposable cash and a penchant for plastic surgery so she can look like Betty Boop.

Yes, you heard me correctly, Betty Boop.

Boop-boop-bi-doop, BOOP!

Beatress introduces her to the world of body modification with the help of a buttload of cash.  Mary, like any other promising med student, reluctantly takes her up on the offer and it only gets better from here.

If you think I'm going any further than this, you're sadly mistaken.  This really is a movie that any good horror fan MUST see.  It's a slick and beautiful revenge flick and brings torture horror to a new level.  This is the new generations' I Spit On Your Grave.  There is blacker-than-black humor ALL up in this piece.  No, seriously, there are parts of this movie that are genuinely hilarious and Katherine Isabelle deadpans her way through every inch of celluloid.

HA!  DEADpan... I slay me.

There's just the right amount of gore in this one.  It's not overdone and it fits perfectly into the piece.  It's actually a loving shout-out to the body mod community and while there are some pieces that the Soska girls just really did NOT do the research on, the extreme surgeries that Mary performs are nothing less than art.  Her development into a cold-blooded, unfeeling sort of crazy that refuses to do anything that isn't extreme and/or painful is a hoot to watch.

This is not to say that the film isn't flawed.  For one, while I love the Soska girls for their vision, they need to either get better at acting or stop appearing in their own films.  Particularly if they're gonna be trying to use fake-ass Boris and Natasha accents.  That shit was nasty.

Second, Beatress' face prosthetic was strange and off-putting.  Not the idea of it because I get that they were going for "plastic surgery addict" but the application.  It seems to me that they could have at LEAST rounded out the nose.

Third, the last 15 minutes of the film were seriously anti-climactic.  There was a TON of build-up to an ending that was... just an ending.  THANKFULLY, the twins didn't actually leave this open for a sequel.  That would have just cheapened it.

But you can safely ignore the last 15 minutes and still have a fucking ball.  I've watched this sucker 3 times already!  If you get a chance to see it either on Blu-Ray, On-Demand or at a festival, do NOT pass it up.  

Absolute amazingness.


  1. How do you find the time to post so frequently? I spend all the time I should be writing for my own blog commenting on yours. lol

    It is a shame, really, that the movie ends on such an anticlimactic note.


    It seemed to me, really, that the movie lost the courage of its convictions at the end. It switched its morality 180 degrees. Although Mary does "bad things" throughout, she pretty much never does anything bad to anyone who doesn't have it coming.

    Based largely upon her junk food eatin' bodyguard's tale of seeking vengeance after heinous home invasion, I really felt as though the movie was espousing on "alternative" enough sensibility that it was saying, "Hey, Mary's doing some crazy ass shit, but only in the service of protecting herself. Along the way, she's helping a lot of unusual people with alternative lifestyles who can't get the assistance they need through mainstream channels. She's making a lot of people happy."

    As such, I really thought she would "get away with it", maybe ride off into the LA sunset with the equally troubled club owner who, at least, seemed to genuinely care about her in his own twisted way.

    Then the movie seemed to switch to a more traditional morality in its waning moments, a horror movie mentality that dictates that because Mary has done bad things that she therefore must pay for her transgressions before the end credits. Disappointing.

    I guess I'm just an old romantic. I really wanted to see Mary live happily ever after with the damaged club owner (sorry, his name escapes me) and build a thriving practice catering to an alternative clientele in LA. And since that wouldn't have been the expected horror movie morality, that really would have been a ballsy ending.

    I suppose that's a tribute to what a fine, restrained performance Isabelle gives that I so strongly (still) felt so much empathy for her character at the end.

    You are sooo right about Tristan Risk, too. Odd and difficult character to make sympathetic and likable, and she owns it (which I think is imperative for the purposes of putting an understandable human face on the alternative lifestyle depicted - a very odd human face LOL).

    Was it just me, or did you expect (based upon the very pointed dialog about being separated) that the characters the Soska sisters portrayed were going to ask Mary to sew them together "reverse Siamese twin style" into one person? That would have been an impressive surgery. Imagine all the hits on Mary's website after that! LOL

    1. Really? I usually only post once a day, Monday through Friday, and I type fast. In this case, though, I had a bout of stupidness with a new CPAP machine that made me wide awake at 4 AM so I figured I'd get some use out of it.

      I fully agree with everything you just said, though. I'm not sure if the Twins lost their vision or if there was executive meddling or what but it sank REALLY quick. The morality-coaster was OK for most of the film because, really, Mary didn't set out for the life she made for herself and was kind of rolling with the punches and the fact that she WAS a sympathetic character made us root for her despite her actions. I kind of wish they'd given us more of the revenge angle, like if she'd really gone for the other doctors at the party but I actually like that she didn't. That might have been too formula for what the Twins wanted to portray, though.

      As for Ms. Risk, I had never heard of her before this and she instantly made me a fan. She pushed through that horrible appliance and took charge of her part.

      The Twins themselves, though, yeah. I thought they were going to want to be literally attached at the hip and that would have been awesome but even they realized that death might become an issue so I'm glad they explained their reasoning behind their procedure. I TOTALLY wish, though, that they had done a little homework before putting that in the movie, though. It's nice to think that a surgeon can just reattach an arm and have it work and be all hunky-dory but my suspension of disbelief doesn't stretch that far.