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American Mary
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American Mary More at IMDbPro »

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

I watched this just to see Katharine Isabelle.

Author: svartamoln from Santiago, Chile
8 January 2015

There's no doubt she is by far my favorite actress and all started when I watched Ginger Snaps. In my opinion she is definitely an underrated actress who's acted in several movies but few of them have played such an important role in her acting career like this one and of course Ginger Snaps. American Mary is a well-developed movie that I very much liked it because it combines blood, flesh, drama and a good storyline with such a great acting from Katharine Isabelle besides I must confess that I'm totally delighted by her work, I really but really loved it. The movie is interesting from beginning to end, funny at times but mostly intense and what I liked the most was the evolution of Mary, at first you're gonna see a student, pretty and very smart living alone, working and doing little things in order to get some money but you'll end up seeing someone totally different, a girl with no fears, vindictive but mainly unstable. Well, in case I hadn't said enough I wanna add the fact that unlike the typical gore movies where you'll only see deaths and blood with no sense, American Mary has a very good storyline about revenge.

Now you might be wondering why after this review I gave only 8 stars out of 10 and that's because of the ending, I didn't like it but I'm not sure if another one could have been better. Anyway, it's worth watching.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

"You're gonna make a great slasher."

Author: Scott LeBrun (Hey_Sweden) from Canada
17 October 2014

Modern imitation of some of David Cronenbergs' filmography is nonetheless interesting and watchable on its own terms. It's really more of a drama than a horror film, with touches of gore and dark comedy, and is slow paced enough that it may have some viewers fumbling for their remotes. It plunges the audience into a world of sordid and off putting characters in a tale of sex and fetishism. Ultimately, it works its way towards a somewhat conventional finish, but getting there is still an amusing enough experience.

The lovely Katharine Isabelle, best known for her role as Ginger in the "Ginger Snaps" series, stars as Mary, a promising med student in desperate need of cash. So she accepts the offer from nightclub owner Billy (Antonio Cupo) to patch up a mangled associate of his. This leads to offers from other people, people who are into radical body modification, to perform a variety of "underground surgery". As Mary is immersed in this world more and more, it really takes a toll on her well-being.

If it weren't for Ms. Isabelle, who looks extremely sexy in a variety of outfits, this would have been a little harder to get through. She delivers an engaging lead performance, and is believable throughout Mary's personality arc. It is fun to see Mary take her new business so seriously that she dismisses one potential patient who's willing to settle for something as mundane as piercings. And we do get to see a number of individuals who've had some pretty nasty things done to themselves.

Some people may want to note that at least the gore in this movie is serving the story and never *becoming* the whole reason for its existence. The effects are generally well done.

Sibling directors Jen and Sylvia Soska (who also cameo in "American Mary" as the German twins) do have some potential, so it will be intriguing to watch the progress of their careers.

Six out of 10.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Live by the knife...die by the knife.

Author: El Diablo
11 October 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

To call "American Mary" a horror film is somewhat of a misnomer. However, it is an understated gem that has clear horror elements, not unlike those in the movie "May".

As usual, Katherine Isabelle plays her role to perfection, as a diligent and ambitious surgical student, whose life takes an abrupt turn when she finds herself being drawn into the world of illegal body modifications.

Her sudden influx of cash catches the eye of her professor and his colleagues, who (assuming she's working in the sex industry) set her up to be drugged and subsequently raped at one of their parties; something we later discover is a regular occurrence. Her revenge is to use her professor as a live equivalent of the turkeys she's been practicing suturing on...only in this case, the procedures are far more complex and gruesome, with the element of torture that is absent in her new "day job".

While some have written that sadistic streak that leads Mary to be a surgeon, I would contend that it the trauma of her rape that leads her to become increasingly desensitized to the extreme surgeries she's being asked to perform, and to the suffering she inflicts on both her professor and those who may threaten to expose her.

The film truly is a subtle depiction of a woman who is slowly pulling away from the reality of what she's doing, but is not completely lacking insight, as one might expect from the typical horror villain. This is what sets this movie apart from many others in the genre. The role of "victim" and "villain" is fluid and often blurred. "Gruesome" is not necessarily synonymous with "torture" or "sadistic" (although sometimes it is). Our protagonist remains both terrifying and sympathetic throughout the film, aided largely by Katherine Isabelle's wonderfully nuanced performance.

Perhaps this is why the film received such a mixed reaction from critics: It's not easily categorized, and the ending (which has been described as rushed and unsatisfactory) is actually a fitting finale for someone who "lived by the knife".

For those who prefer straight-forward horrors or slasher flicks, you will probably find this film lacking, but for those who enjoy the more unconventional films falling under the "horror" banner, then this is definitely worth watching.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

...and you thought your hip replacement was rough!

Author: Michael Caravaggio ( from United States
30 July 2014

If anyone has ever taken out school loans before, he would know that they suck harder than the toothless bitch at the corner of 7 Mile and John R in Detroit. Not only can it take a lifetime to pay off, but falling behind on payments and plummeting further into an interest inferno surfaces a sense of desperation that may even manifest a morbid side you never knew you possessed.

As for Mary Mason (Katharine Isabelle), an aspiring surgeon facing the dreadful debt collectors of medical school, had unintentionally found her niche that not even her bastard professor could ever exhibit.

Desperate for cash, Mary stumbles upon an ad in a Craigslist-like fashion at a go-go dancing establishment. But, unwitting to her knowledge, Mary will be performing more than just the "twerk" for those rich bastards driving Porsches to make up for their tiny peters. After looking over Mary's resume and realizing that she's the perfect solution for his dirty little secret, club owner Billy Barker (Antonio Cupo) thrusts Mary into a deal that would forever change her perception on "body modification."

Co-directors/writers Jen and Sylvia Soska, who also star as the sadistic twins looking to be "forever together," draw up a clever, yet peculiar, cast of characters who you couldn't even trust watching over your goldfish. Eventual liaison for Mary's sleazy specialty, Beatress (Tristan Risk), perfectly radiates that jaw-dropping, "WTF" expression upon the viewer's initial speculation.

The Soska twinsies implement a pretty even mixture of character development, story progression and practical effects, including quadruple limb amputations (of which Dr. Grant undoubtedly deserved), tongue splitting, and a considerable dose of slicing and dicing throughout (yup, no CGI here!). Isabelle portraying Mary, who actually did her homework and observed a legit medical school to research her subsequent role as a surgeon, radiated much charisma as she progressively transformed herself from a stressed out student to one badass bitch who knows her way around a scalpel. Hell, she even learned how to suture a damn turkey for one scene for Christ's sake.

For being shot in only 15 days, I would say that American Mary is a fun flick with the right amount of bloodshed, comic relief and sensuality, not to speak of the nipple nixing and vanishing vag procedures, which I'll let you experience for yourself.


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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

I did not see this coming

Author: arturo-turcios from El Salvador
17 February 2014

This is a truly wonderful and truly disgusting movie. Don't know how munch its true, just when i though i knew everything about deviant sexuality, this thing shows me new limits and just so happens to deal with medicine.

I loved the characters, this is not a good guy versus bad guy, this is bad ass vs really screwed up bad ass. Each character is more deviant than the previous.

I really like this twist ins the slasher genre, i had always thought that doctors (The successful ones $$$) are really smart little sociopaths.

Extremely recommended, the end is kinda disappointing to me, but makes sense.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Caustic Cuttings.

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 3 people found the following review useful:

Mary gets even, then gets really weird

Author: thor5894 from United States
28 May 2014

If you find yourself in a movie with Katharine Isabelle, you really should avoid pissing her off. The star of the excellent Ginger Snaps films (see all of them, seriously) plays a med student who gets involved in extreme body modification. This is a true original, and the Soska sisters are now officially on my radar. The script has some problems in the movie's second half, but the many virtues here make that easy to overlook. Ms. Isabelle is the biggest asset, giving a perfectly tuned dry and sardonic performance, while not sacrificing the emotions of all she is put through. The body modification culture is depicted without judgment, and there are a half dozen genuinely memorable characters. One thing I liked is how this avoids being a generic revenge story. Mary suffers a horrible violation early in the film, and to my amazement--because movies almost never work this way--she takes about five minutes to get her revenge. No dragging that out, the movie has other things on its mind.

I'm not sure in the end what statement the film is making, if any, but it tells a gripping story of a life on the extreme fringes. I'm also unclear why the Canadians who made this gave it the title American Mary, memorable though it is. But whatever, there's a real talent here. Back in the '90s an offbeat vampire flick called Near Dark came out of nowhere, directed by one Kathryn Bigelow. She proved to be a director to watch, and I want to see what else the Soska sisters get up to in the years ahead.

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Under-rated, unappreciated

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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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Mary is the only saving grace in this mess

Author: james lewis from United Kingdom
25 February 2014

A film about a struggling medical student thrown into the underground world of body modification sounds like a promising premise. Yet lack believable plot development, and speed in which she accepts the situation she's in with no real explanation makes the story feel rushed losing any credibility right from the off set. There is inconsistent acting throughout from the enjoyable Mary to the woeful strip club owner makes the experience feel disjointed. Yes there is some gore if that's what your after, but most of it is implied rather than on screen and the freaks and bizarre operations Mary conducts seem quite tame to anyone who has watched 'nip tuck'. This also brings up other issues regarding the surgeries themselves, viewers with any knowledge of the medical profession or watch medical shows will immediately pick out errors and the ease in which she conducts them with limited equipment is laughable. The disappointing and abrupt finale is so uninspired you will instantly regret sitting through this waste of time.

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7 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Decent entertainment in shallow horror about body modification

Author: filmbizarro from Sweden
10 April 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Plot: Mary Mason, a medical student studying to become a surgeon, gets into some shady business when she applies for a job to get some extra cash. The young student is quickly thrown into a world of body modification, and she is becoming the go-to person for the most extreme of modifications.

Our thoughts: I might be in a minority of reviewers: I never watched or wanted to watch "Dead Hooker in a Trunk". It should've interested me, but it never did. It happens with certain titles, and this was one of them. It certainly didn't help that my partner on the website reviewed that one, which means I didn't even have a "professional" (hah!) reason to watch it. I haven't had much interest in the Soska sisters, and that's nothing personal, but when Katharine Isabelle got attached to "American Mary" I'll admit to being interested. As a huge fan of the "Ginger Snaps" trilogy, why wouldn't I be?

"American Mary" (it could be called "Canadian Mary", since Katharine is Canadian and so is the movie, but let's not be silly now!) tells the story of Mary Mason. She's a medical student who hopes to become surgeon one day. Hell, she's far along too, and quite a good student to boot. If you ignore her attitude, of course. She's more skilled than the majority of her class. But being a student of any kind means you're probably broke, just like Mary is. Her desperation leads her to apply for a job as a stripper, but the job interview takes a weird turn when someone associated with the club is in need of surgery - quick. Mary's dragged in and she has to perform surgery on this really messed up man. It's quite the job for a medical student to do, but she does it. And it changes her. People hear about what she did, and she gets contacted by people that are into extreme body modifications such as trying to look like a doll or Betty Boop. Mary soon throws away her ambitions to become a typical surgeon, and becomes a popular name in the underground world of body modifications.

What is the rise and the fall of a movie like "American Mary"? The rise for me most definitely is that Katharine Isabelle plays the lead role. She's a really likable actor, and it's hard not to want to watch a horror movie with her in it. Another rise (you know I mean "positive thing", right?) is that the storyline is quite to the point and easy to get into. Also the effects are quite good.

Let's look at the negative things of "American Mary", which are often much stronger than the positive things. Most importantly is that I find little-to-no character development in our lead character. Even though Katharine Isabelle is likable, her character is not. And her character remains equally unlikable from start to finish. It would be understandable if a nice girl (nice girls can be strong too) becomes hardened and "bitchy" through-out the things that happen in the movie, but Mary starts with bitchy attitude and ends with bitchy attitude. There are just a few scenes that show anything beside that in her, and that's a real shame.

Katharine Isabelle is still the better actor in the movie, hands down, and I don't mind watching her even if she's not likable. Several actors are less than fantastic, and sadly that can be said about our director duo too. The moment the two of them enter the movie it becomes rather silly with their German accents. The kind of focus that is put on the two characters makes you think that they would be a big part of the story down the line, but they aren't. It's understandable if directors put themselves or people they know in movies, but I don't know what the reason for this kind of attention to two characters is if they are not gonna be important. No surprise, perhaps, that they decided to make their characters the most odd ones in the movie - if you could choose your own role in a film, I'm sure you'd want something that stands out too. But Jen, Sylvia, you should probably rethink putting you in too much focus just because you are in the movie.

"American Mary" lacks a lot of things that would draw me into the movie. But it works as a rather shallow horror movie about body modification. It has several scenes that are underwhelming in both emotion and artistic decisions, characters that you don't develop, failed attempts at shock. Let's be honest - in 2013 it takes quite a lot to come off as shocking, and you either have to really show the most despicable things imaginable, or have us so invested in our character that it hurts us when they are hurt. "American Mary" is a few hundred miles away from that. I don't think it's a terrible watch, and some parts of it are quite alright so it definitely works as weekend entertainment.

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