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American Mary More at IMDbPro »

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10 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

More Stupid Torture Porn

Author: bruce-223-978395
9 July 2013

Warning this movie contains torture porn... the acting is good the lead is super hot but I lost all respect for this movie when it decided to give up on story and just try to gross people out.


Don't get me wrong I like horror movies. I can even watch gore... Texas Chainsaw... Evil Dead (2013)... But movies like this break my heart that people find this entertaining.

I gave it 2 stars for the outfits but the movie is fundamentally stupid... no struggle to overcome... no suspense... no fear... no likable characters... no plot... no story...

What did i just watch...?

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13 out of 25 people found the following review useful:

Hell hath no fury like a female surgeon scorned

Author: larry-411 from United States
7 October 2012

Co-writers/directors Jen and Sylvia Soska, the Twisted Twins, have created a highly stylized, exquisite entry in the horror subgenre known as the women's revenge film. This is the bloody nightmare an angry young female surgeon might have after watching "I Spit on Your Grave."

We open on an extreme closeup shot of lovely Mary Mason (Katherine Isabelle) in her kitchen, sewing a turkey with careful precision. It isn't Thanksgiving, though, and there are no guests arriving. She's just practicing her surgery skills as a budding med student. But when professional relationships run afoul, fowl just isn't an adequate substitute for the real thing. And just when you think you know where the film is going, our hearts are touched by Mary's benevolent foray into a world few are aware of. So begins the occasionally chilling, often twisted odyssey of "American Mary."

There's much praise to go around for this talented ensemble cast but, more than anyone, it's the exquisite Katherine Isabelle who brings the Soskas' script to life. Isabelle so inhabits Mary that she creates a totally original, unique character that raises the bar for all the actors around her. The reversal of roles in this narrative is clever and crafty. To be more specific would reveal too much. Things are not as they seem as stereotypes are shattered at every step of the way.

The look of "American Mary" is a study in the almost-forgotten techniques of creative filmmaking. Single point lighting is used liberally, as Mary moves in and out of the shadows of the strange new world she's created. More than in most modern films, the color palette is central to subliminal psychological changes transmitted to the viewer. Black, the color of death, and red, the color of love (and blood), dominate in key scenes and trigger subtle emotional cues that slyly blend in with the milieu.

Peter Allen's original score magnificently balances contrapuntally with the gruesome on screen action. Lush classical strains underscore unimaginable real-life horrors. We're watching a ballet of death. The more terrifying the images, the more charming and delightful is the opera in our heads. The beauty of the soundtrack belies the ugliness beneath.

"American Mary" boasts some of the most stunning camera-work of the festival. Cinematographer Brian Pearson exhibits such passion for the material that every frame is like a painting. Editor Bruce MacKinnon allows the film to proceed patiently, another departure from the typical genre production. Locations are like characters unto themselves, and the set design reflects that with tremendous attention to detail that allows the photography and music to work together with the backdrop to help propel the story.

This is true art, rarely seen in cinema today. It's a slightly more civilized, 21st century take on torture porn with high production values and a killer narrative but there's much more here than meets the eye. Yes, it's hard to watch at times, but those who appreciate movies the way they used to be made won't want to turn away. In "American Mary" we gorily discover that hell hath no fury like a female surgeon scorned.

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26 out of 51 people found the following review useful:

All Good Except For The Man-Hating

Author: Agatha Christ from United Kingdom
14 April 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I really wasn't expecting much of this going in, so I was pleasantly surprised at the talent on display, much better than the average indie flick from unknown directors. The acting is really first-rate all round, without exception, and with particularly creepy turns by Paula Lindberg and Tristan Risk, especially. Other reviewers have pointed out the debt to Cronenberg, and there is a good deal of that same unsettling fascination for the human body throughout the film. The first third I was very much impressed, at the sound, the cinematography, the atmosphere, and I almost believed the inevitable wouldn't rear its head but no, 40 mins in, up it came, right on schedule.

Here's a new Bechdel test for women directors: try, just once, making a film WHERE NOBODY GETS RAPED. Apparently, this is much, much harder than it sounds, but TRY. Push yourself. I know you can do it. Try making a film in which men are actually human beings, and one whole half of the human race, instead of just some monolithic, oppressive 'Them'.

This is a misandric film because there are no normal men in it: all of them, without exception, are depicted as evil, weak and pathologically hateful towards women. All men are either thugs or psychopaths. The only even slightly tolerated male character is the bouncer at the strip bar, (a thug Mary can manipulate to do violence for her) who gives her sandwiches and milkshakes, while telling her not to feel bad about killing people: "you make sure they deserve it, then don't waste a minute of your time after they're done". Yeah, you go, girl. Oh and there's a detective in it who actually gets to say (to the twisted monster serial killer) "YOU'RE the victim here, Mary!!".

As usual, a single by-the-books fictional wrong is manipulatively inserted only to justify all the prolonged, orgasmic and utterly reprehensible violence upon men that then follows. None of it was surprising, and all of it is very much a cliché by now. Why do all films by women filmmakers dislike men so much? If you reverse the genders there is no way that this film could even be made, because both women and men would find the violence against women so reprehensible that no-one would show it, it would probably be banned, and certainly no-one would refer to the sick butcher within it as 'sexy'. Correct? But no-one in the reviews here or elsewhere even bats an eyelid at the genocidal hatred here displayed, they simply say it has 'a feminist slant', and leave it at that. And that hatred DOES emanate from feminist propaganda, so I guess they have a point, but it's a pretty ugly message it's selling, when all is said and done.

I don't want to completely trash the film, as there are, as I've said, more than a few good points in its favour, but it sure leaves a bad taste in the mouth.

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35 out of 69 people found the following review useful:


Author: m_habib82 from United Kingdom
18 February 2013

Okay, so after reading and hearing some good reviews, I finally got the time to view this film. It was a very slow start and the acting seemed very wooden and amateurish to say the least. The film has no atmosphere and was not engaging at all. I had to check twice if I was actually watching the same film for which I had read the reviews just to make sure I wasn't watching some cheep parody or knock-off. I find it astonishing how anyone sees anything in this film, the only thing I can rate about this film is the theme of body-mod and objectification. Everything else scores a big fat ZERO. Finally, horror is meant to be scary or frightening, this was horrifyingly rubbish, and frighteningly boring.

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Shoddy at best.

Author: keeperofthefates
2 September 2017

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I don't get how this was seen as some great independent film in the genre. Let's start with the solid squandering of it's lead star, who can pull off a range of emotions and is a crack shot in delivering sarcastic one liners. You get 5 minutes into the film with only a couple quick camera shots of anything that would suggest Mary is having a hard time, but even if it had showed more the protagonist is so Socially stunted and emotionally aloof that you're not able to really FEEL anything for her at this point. It's like watching Daria Med School Drop Out, if they ever continued that cartoon from the 90's. Even after the rape scene, you don't get any real sense that she was traumatized so much as she had just found the excuse to act a little psycho. This is where I do however have to give props for a body modification story line, which is something you don't usually see. Still the pacing or outright lack there of in which the story drags out, coupled with 95% of it's characters, including it's protagonist being extremely one dimensional in depth, which was a shame for the material that was being worked with. The nail in the coffin for me was the ending, don't bother trying to guess what that ending is kids, because there is absolutely no foreshadowing, to show us that some inserted surprise guest murderer comes from OUTTA NOWHERE to kill off like 3 characters including the protagonist and her Living Dead Doll bestie. Given the cast, and the basic story, this should have been a far better movie that would have been far more deserving of the accolades it has gotten. It's not a problem with story which, I get is just opinion in the case of reviews, it was the sheer lack and misuse of certain KEY STORYTELLING MECHANICS, such as 0 pacing, character development, story development and foreshadowing, to lead us to an ending that made no sense whatsoever. I know others will try to make it out like some grand thought out metaphor about women something, something, because with it's creators it is easy to project that idea onto what you are seeing. Looking at it from a, I'm not an indy movie brown noser perspective I saw the point of the film, if there even was one being more more like Sh-t Happens and some dude you never knew was involved in the story pops out of the shadows and kills you, than any sort of PROFOUND statement made through interpretive movie making. A sad disappointment for the hype around it.

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Body Horror

Author: sol- from Perth, Australia
26 August 2017

Strapped for cash, a medical student finds a lucrative career in performing elective surgeries on the black market in this highly unusual Canadian film. As the title character gains an underground reputation, she begins to perform more and more controversial procedures, including split tongues, offbeat piercings, horns and genital mutilation at the request at her diverse clientele who take pleasure in transforming their bodies in a Clive Barker or David Cronenberg sense. Katharine Isabelle is excellent in the lead role as she gradually goes from disliking the job to fully embracing it. The film is, however, compromised by a subplot in which she kidnaps and ever-so-slowly mutilates a date rapist. This leads to a bunch of dry, formulaic moments in which she has to contend with nosy detectives, whereas the juice of the film lies in the fetishes of her clientele. The film also spends little time on the pleasure versus pain debate that made Barker's original 'Hellraiser' so fascinating. And yet, there remains a lot to like in the film's insight into untold pleasures and the championing of individual expression through altering one's body. Quite acutely, Isabelle also seems to get more and more mentally unhinged with each repeated surgery, which pokes into some interesting questions as to just how much one can distort a human body without starting to feel a little distorted oneself.

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Disappointing and only somewhat successful

Author: GL84 from Los Angeles, Ca
15 October 2016

Desperate to make ends meet, a promising surgeon ends up taking a one-off job as an extreme body-modifier only to find that her skills and success in the field draws her into the world even further and become increasingly concerned about leaving with her sanity.

This here was quite the disappointing and rather troubling effort. One of the main problems here is the rather overt and extremely clumsy manner in which this one goes about integrating her into the cosmetics field here, which is one of the central parts of the film as a whole. The way of which she gets put into the society, initially as a freak occurrence at a job interview that requires her to take the offer for an extreme cosmetic offer at the last second, which by itself is quite a coincidence that is purposefully built into this one for no real reason other than giving her something to get her into the world required here only that's incredibly clunky and ham-fisted by tying it more into the strip club than the medical school. On the whole this is a facet that makes more sense than how it plays out here as that's quite a clumsy read which brings about quite a bit more useless moments here detailing her in the club than it really should knowing how this one really plays out. Moreover, that makes for quite a lot more bland and overall unneeded moments here where we follow her around and generally aren't that impressed with what happens as it's a series of scenes with her simply brooding over what she's done and turning herself into, and all of this is so flimsy and shallow that it really makes her gradual turn into a serial killer and butcher seem all the weaker due to how over-the-top silly it all appears. This one really could've made the build-up into that section of the film quite a bit more appealing since the character-study aspect of her turning away from her schooling to a more lucrative and appreciative society would've turned this one around considerably as the gradual turn into becoming a body modifier becomes coherent and realistic rather than just simply to get off on showing all the crazy procedures dreamed up to disfigure the human body which is what this one really feels like. That aspect is well-handled with plenty of rather gruesome and somewhat intriguing displays of her work as she goes along and starts gaining notoriety, being able to showcase the work she does rather well with plenty of graphic images about the different surgeries and what's going on with her descent into madness as that becomes part of what's going on giving it rather bloody and disturbing which marks the film's best parts. Still, it's quite sizeable flaws really bring this one down.

Rated R: Extreme Graphic Language, Extreme Graphic Violence, Full Nudity, a Rape scene and drug use.

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There's something twisted about Mary

Author: bowmanblue from United Kingdom
3 December 2014

I'm not sure how best to describe 'American Mary.' The easy option would be to call it a 'horror,' but that doesn't seem to do it justice on its own. It's more of a dark, horrific drama, charting a young medical student's disillusionment with her studies and pursuing the 'easy option' instead. This takes her into the path of some particularly weird and unscrupulous people.

I read online someone describing the film as having a great beginning and middle, but lacking in the end. I'd tend to agree with that. The ending does seem a little sudden, like the film-makers kind of didn't know how best to end it in a way that would appeal to everyone. Your view of the ending will depend largely on how you view the characters.

And the characters all play their parts well. Special kudos to Katherine Isabelle, who plays the title role. The film depends on making her role work and I think she succeeds.

I don't know who I'd recommend this film to: it's one part 'torture porn,' one part horror, one part revenge movie and some general bloodthirstyness thrown into the mix. I suppose if you dabble in any of those sorts of genres, you should get something out of it. For some reason, I found the overall feel and 'story structure' most similar to the similarly titled American Psycho.

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Hail Mary

Author: begob from The Undertow
19 September 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Good performance from the lead actress, but plenty of problems with the rest.

Some interesting oddball characters hanging around, but I just didn't buy the cabal of pervert surgeons because there was no background for it. The role of the niteclub owner was a bit vague and contradictory - vicious and meek at the same time - maybe they shouldn't have cast a pretty boy when he was never going to conquer Mary. The killer was well hidden, maybe too much. And the detective was pointless.

Too many characters for a limited number of roles?

Lots of energy and ideas + good gore. I thought the plight of the amputee surgeon could have helped develop Mary's character. She was played really well, and in the end I was wishing she managed to stitch herself together, leaving a trail of blood for the detective to follow.

Recommended, but the story was a bit loose.

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some really freaky and imaginative concept, yet is not fully developed // instagram: moviesmaniax

Author: moviesmaniax from Los Angles, USA
26 July 2014

So I was expecting some weird twisted body modification sh*t after I saw the trailer and the result is what I quite expected. However, there seems to be much doing but not so much showing (the result) which was quite disappointing. The GORE effects here look really realistic in a surgery scene and was very twisted and disturbing to watch. The SCARE here is probably how realistic the surgery looks but again, they show the cutting scene and stuff in which it has a really cool, bizarre, and jaw-dropping concept but unfortunately the film chose to not show much of that final result which was a major disappointment for me. Another disappointment here is the cluttered plot and the climax that just came out of nowhere making the pacing here moves quite slow and loses interest from time to time, but thanks to Katharine Isabelle's hot and tempting performance making the film more enjoyable to watch. Overall, the FUN of this film is seeing some unique and likable character personality in a weird way and some really freaky and imaginative concept even though it might not have been fully developed at the end >>C+<<

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