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American Mary
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Reviews & Ratings for
American Mary More at IMDbPro »

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

I want to marry the Soska sisters

9/10
Author: Sickcess from Sweden
2 April 2014

I want to marry the Soska sisters, but so would probably every male horror lover in the world. But I would probably settle for being their pet if they asked me.

Anyway, American Mary is about Mary, a promising medical student, who has financial troubles, so she decides to try stripping, but instead ends up performing surgery on a beat up snitch, when the owner of the strip club convinces her with plenty of money. I would give away the story if I told you too much more of what happens, besides that Mary ends up performing illegal, extreme body modifications, while at the same time having some other secrets.

This is a very interesting and original film. The only horror film about body modification besides this one I can think of is Strangeland, which also is a very good film, but completely different from this one. I also think it's cool that they have brought in a guy who has real body modifications. Apart from that, the violence is well balanced, leaving some, but not too much, to the imagination. It also has some other really bizarre and interesting female characters beside Mary. I think movies like May, Alyce and now American Mary is showing that women are capable of making scary killers on their own terms with their own particular style very well. A lot of the older female killers has been characters that didn't differ that much from male killer and they also most of the time failed in being genuinely scary. This is not the case with those new ones.

This is also, to my knowledge the first of those films that has a female director, and here there is two of them! And they are a couple of freaky, beautiful twins! Apart from that I also have a hard time deciding which one I liked best, this one or Alyce. Overall I would say this one is better, but Alyce has some peaks which American Mary doesn't reach. Anyway, luckily you don't have to choose, so see them both!

And I really hope to see more from the Soska sisters soon. They are both talented and cool. And I also want to say that I found out that the film had female directors after I watched it.

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6 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

An undeservedly-acclaimed torture flick

4/10
Author: benjaminfeatherston
24 September 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

"American Mary" is the story of the medical student who is drawn into the seedy underworld of illegal body modifications. Despite the praise this film and its directors have received, it's a mess of lazy writing, stale revenge-flick tropes, and predictable torture scenes.

The first act is promising. Mary Mason is a medical student who is flat broke, and goes to a strip club to apply for a sleazy but high-paying gig that will keep her afloat while she finishes her medical degree. When the mob boss running the club suddenly needs to prolong a mutilated man's life, he enlists her help. Before long, Mary is getting lucrative referrals for increasingly bizarre surgeries.

Initially, the film appears to deliver on its promise. Katherine Isabelle is convincing as a competent but vulnerable woman who is out of her league. The narrative is smart and compelling. However, it does not take long for the film to go off the rails and lose us completely.

(SPOILERS FOLLOW)

Mary is invited to a university faculty party where she is raped by a trusted instructor. While many skilled writers and directors are able to handle the subject matter of rape intelligently, here it's used as a lazy plot device to get her to wholeheartedly turn evil and embrace a life of crime. This new Mary dresses like a dominatrix, enjoys inflicting pain, and revels in the criminal element which once frightened her. It's a huge change brought about in an extremely contrived manner, and it takes the audience out of a film in a way which never allows us to fully return.

Mary goes on doing more and more extreme surgeries, but there is nothing really driving the film from this point on. The revenge on the professor is dispensed with almost immediately. The story then plods on with surgery after surgery and the occasional bout of vengeance, but we already know how the story will end. There's no suspense, and we are left to wait until the directors have decided that they are done with us.

The Soska Sisters have drawn acclaim for being a much-needed female voice in the male-dominated horror genre. It is thoroughly undeserved. Even if this film had not used rape as a plot device, there is nothing here that hundreds of male directors could not have offered us. The body modification horror is actually quite banal; we're supposed to be shocked by suspension piercing, horns, and sub-dermal implants which are actually completely legal and known to anyone familiar with the real-world body-modification community. "American Mary" is the worst kind of horror film, the kind that fails to shock, scare, or amuse its audience.

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19 out of 35 people found the following review useful:

American Mary - freaky, enticing, bloody brilliance.

10/10
Author: hwielbo from Edinburgh, Scotland
12 January 2013

Whilst I may not be a pro at reviewing films by any stretch of the imagination, I feel compelled to give American Mary by the Soska sisters the highest praising review I can muster.

My expectations for the film were high, having been caught up in the hype around the critically acclaimed body-mod horror - thankfully I was pleasantly surprised. There was a lot of room for error in making the film, but Jen and Sylvia approached the gory side of the film perfectly, letting the viewer see just enough to be grossed out but not enough to warrant a sick bag. Whilst I was expecting fake blood and guts galore, the story and themes within the film were strong enough not to need the usual cheap thrills one might expect in a horror film, in fact I think the film wouldn't have been as good were there more gore. On top of this, the characters were interesting/well developed and thanks to a couple of good casting calls and better performances (namely Katharine Isabelle and Tristan Risk) I found it easy to connect to them in the 103 minutes I watched them on screen.

As many others have commented, it's rare to find female horror directors that manage to hit the nail on the head quite as well as the Twisted Twins have manged to here, fingers crossed for a next project equally as exciting.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Caustic Cuttings.

8/10
Author: Spikeopath from United Kingdom
1 March 2015

Some horror fans love it, others not so much, which where horror film fans are concerned comes as absolutely no surprise. So roll the dice and take your chance here then!

American Mary is written and directed by Jen and Sylvia Soska. Katharine Isabelle (looking uncannily like Mary Elizabeth Winstead) stars as the titular Mary of the title. She's a medical student who during a cash crisis is lured to the underground world of surgeries not deemed as the norm in medical school circles...

Hoo-hah! Get ready for sexual deviance, dismemberment, human splicing and a whole host of other things that are brilliantly caked in a caustic satirical sauce by the Soska girls. Imagery is strong, the aftertaste lasting as you enter at your own peril a world of repugnant beings masquerading as humans, of fetishists pushing the boundaries, it's noirville but not as we know it Jim. But always there's a pierced and bloody tongue prodding the cheek, even if the odd period of time spent in bizarro world fails to add up.

Wonderful. Go Mary! Go Soska Girls! Just don't call on me any time soon, huh... 8/10

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Driving down is half the trip.

9/10
Author: onetoten from Canada
19 May 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

One of the most exciting things about movies is discovering a gem that you never heard of. This film came on a cable movie channel one night. If any film in the past 10 years were to pay homage to David Cronenberg, this one is it. The plot isn't the only engine drives this movie. It's driven by its mood, competent cast and its brazen disregard for conventional human boundaries. Miss Isabelle is pitch perfect as Mary. She's a quick-to-learn student who rapidly becomes a "practicing" teacher on her star patient. Miss Isabell's understated performance sets the mood with every character. You just can't take your eyes off this movie. One of those characters said, "Mary, driving down is half the trip." Thanks to the Soska sisters and everyone who worked on this film, that "drive" is worth watching more than once.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Under-rated, unappreciated

8/10
Author: A_Different_Drummer from North America
9 November 2014

Canadian actress Katharine Isabelle popped onto the scene in Ginger Snaps, one of the most original and memorable films ever to emerge from a country that specializes in tired sequels and technically perfect but massively dull x-mas special and lifestyle movies.

(Typically, they tried two sequels to Ginger, each worse than the other.) Mainstream should have snapped her up, she has both looks and talent, but this guilty pleasure from the Soska sisters, which branded it as a cult film from the moment they put film in the camera, nonetheless gets a great and memorable performance from Isabelle.

She deftly plays against type, but being coy in a part which shows her visually to be stunning and characteristically to be a killer. It is a joy to watch her work,

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Awesome find

9/10
Author: bearkat03 from Texas
5 September 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I really enjoyed this film. I had actually never heard of it and found it on Amazon. I thought it was very well thought out and very well acted. I couldn't stop watching it. I wont ruin the show but to say I was disappointed with the ending, I did not want it to end. Many of the other reviews stated that this was a show for Women power and that men are a-holes, I did not see that in this film. I was shocked at how quickly she went from innocent student to artist. The interaction between the professor and Mary I felt that portion of the movie wasn't really followed through with throughout the film, especially the last scene that we saw him in; many unanswered questions. Overall, excellent film I will add to my collection.

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7 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Great little Revenge horror flick.

7/10
Author: Michael 'Hallows Eve' Smillie from New Zealand
27 January 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This film starts of quite well and gets you involved in the story from the beginning. It was made by the Soska twin sisters and it tells the story of a medical student trying to work her way to becoming a great surgeon. But as she finds out there are people who like to take advantage of you when you are trying to make ends meet. It stars Katharine Isabelle (GINGER SNAPS) and she plays the role of medical student Mary Mason very well. The Soska twins have a little role each in the film also. I did like the story and how it moves along and some of the scenes are quite cringe worthy. The plot has a revenge element to it and you understand why Mary ends up doing what she does. This would have to be one of the Soska's better movies to date in my opinion. A great little horror flick. I give it a solid 7.5 out of 10.

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13 out of 24 people found the following review useful:

disappointing

1/10
Author: mclameoid from Canada
28 April 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I was looking forward to seeing this movie, I like Katherine and the concept looked good. This movies was a complete failure. Katherine acted so emotionless throughout the movie that the character became boring and her motivations were not understood. I especially hated her money problems, a American med student would have a crazy amount of debt, and she had already been dealing with it for years. Also the rape scene...ugh...This movies would be-more interesting if based in reality, the surgeries should have been more realistic, arm transplant would be impossible and it would have been cooler if the surgeries would have been failures. The ending came out of no where. Don't see this movie it sucked.

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66 out of 130 people found the following review useful:

The sexiest murderess on screen in a poor, irrelevant attempt to shock.

2/10
Author: TheSquiss
21 January 2013

I was fortunate enough to attend a screening of gory horror American Mary followed by a Q&A session with the co-writers and directors, Jen and Sylvia Soska, and star Katharine Isabelle. Okay, scrap the 'fortunate'. And the scariest parts of the evening were the claim by the Soska twins that "Some people have said this is the best film they have ever seen!" and the bloke who told us all about the operations he was due to have on his legs before enquiring from the trio if he should go ahead.

There's very little good to say about American Mary. I entered the screening room with high hopes and departed wide-eyed and dismayed. It's embarrassing to laugh at unintentionally funny moments in a film but there were plenty of them. American Mary is indeed shocking, but not in a good way.

American Mary is clearly a vanity project from two girls whose executive producer parents apparently (part) funded the project. Two girls who have watched Human Centipede once too often. Two girls who are trying reeeeally hard to be rebellious and shock the world by doing naughty things on screen and swearing pointlessly and with embarrassing amounts of emphasis on each expletive just so we get how rude they're being. Such pain! Even in the Q&A they tried desperately hard to shock; the first sentence out of their mouths referring to some scallywag as a f****** c*** and then repeated, over-egged obscenities punctuating inane responses to toadying fanboy questions. Oh, to have been shocked and offended. That would have been a joy compared to the embarrassment of watching three children showing off to a roomful of adults. There's an old adage: If you want to be seen, stand up; if you want to be heard, speak up; if you want to be respected, shut up. I saw, I heard, I departed and I averted my gaze.

American Mary is a horror flick about a disenchanted surgery intern, Mary (Isabelle) with financial worries who is sucked into the very dark side of plastic surgery aka body modification aka freakish mutilation. It starts out as a way for Mary to earn money (via torture and creating Barbie lookalikes) then becomes a hobby and finally a way to exact revenge and satisfy her perverse whims.

I don't have a problem with the subject matter; it's great to be challenged. I have a problem with the dire script, the god-awful cod accents (the worst of which are from the Soska twins who cast themselves as, um, freakish twins) and the horrendous sound mix that changes mid-scene (!) and at one point had us all looking over our left shoulders to work out which member of the audience was moaning, only to realize it was the character off-screen in an entirely different direction! Random scenes are plonked into the film to separate others and to imply the passage of time. A cringeworthy scene in which Mary learns some news of her grandmother prompts further smothered guffaws and is just one more reason to condemn this amateurish tripe. This is just one long, clumsy, pointless film that really wants to be offensive but succeeds in being virtually irrelevant.

Certainly there are a couple of moments when the stomach twinges with the implied gore, but mostly the horror is in the performance. Paula Lindeberg is so ridiculously excessive in her performance as the plasticized Ruby Realgirl with her squeaky voice and clapping hands that Isabelle comes across as subtlety incarnate. Antonio Cupo plays strip joint owner Billy Barker as though auditioning to play Mark Ruffalo and when John Emmet Tracy wanders on to the screen with intended sincerity as Detective Dolor, the thud was the sound of many jaws bouncing on the floor. Why does an American detective in an American film set in America have a 'British' accent? Well, according to Soska and Soska it's because they wanted their detective to sound exactly like their hero Clive Barker. It would appear no-one told them Barker is a Liverpudlian who now speaks with an LA drawl. Yup, that's about the level of American Mary.

So why does American Mary earn two stars? Because the art direction triumphs, the set is pretty, the principal prosthetics are perfect and Mary's costumes get progressively sexier as the film rolls on. Costume designer Jayne Mabbott is by far and away the star of American Mary and by the time Mary dons her red surgeon's gown in a reference to Dead Ringers, Mabbott has made her the most erotic murderess on the big screen.

Perhaps next time Soska and Soska are let lose with a camera they should be 'encouraged' to spend their budget on a few more talents like Mabbott.

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