American Mary (2012) Poster

(2012)

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7/10
Not bad!
Pillory29 September 2017
Although I feel as though the film ended on kind of a low note, I'd feel confident recommending American Mary to anyone interested in darker drama films with a dash of gore.

The story follows Mary, a grim medical student having trouble paying her bills so she looks for new... "creative" ways to get paid. From the get-go Mary is a very likable character that you hope the best for throughout the film. Katharine Isabelle, who you may know from the Ginger Snaps films, is perfect for the role of Mary: a modern day, grown up Wednesday Addams. There is something so appealing in a smart woman who is not opposed to a bit of violence.

The move was shot pretty well: the scenes all featured believable and well lived-in sets. Also, the rest of the cast was generally cast pretty well. David Lovgren as the hateable Dr. Grant was a good fit and so was Tristan Risk's eccentric character "Beatress." Some minor characters such as Dr. Black and the scenes in which the directors cameoed in felt a little strange and unnecessary.

The film definitely had its slow parts but I felt that my attention was held throughout it nonetheless. American Mary is by no means ground-breaking in terms story and script, but it remained interesting and fresh.
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1/10
Shoddy at best.
keeperofthefates2 September 2017
Warning: 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
sol-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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7/10
Watchable but hollow and irritating
quridley6 June 2017
Warning: Spoilers
While original and well-made, "Mary" never rises to much. The premise is your basic rape revenge story given a modern twist but it doesn't take things further or deeper. In some ways this is more fetishistic and illogical than the legendary but somewhat cartoony "I Spit On Your Grave". This film's heroine is nothing like the classic victim: she's confidant, vain and has a sour attitude. But she grows tiresome and unlikable before anything bad has even happened to her. When your feminist heroine surrounds herself with gangsters and creeps, how can she be surprised that she is raped. The film promotes this narrative that female liberation = being used by men and then blaming everyone but yourself for it. American Mary works as a twisted fantasy and cheap wish fulfillment for victims, but it never becomes a halfway believable or intelligent criticism of misogyny or sexism. It wants to be as poetic, brutal and entertaining as Diablo Cody's "Jennifer's Body" but doesn't nail any of it, coming off like a cash-in only.
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4/10
Disappointing and only somewhat successful
GL8415 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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2/10
Cronenberg wannabe
Leofwine_draca15 November 2015
American Mary is a story of surgical horror and body modification, done on a budget and starring Katharine Isabelle (of GINGER SNAPS fame). Isabelle plays a young medical student who gets drawn into the world of a murky, gangster-run nightclub in order to make ends meet, and after suffering an ordeal at the hands of a senior doctor she decides to get revenge in her own inimitable style.

Unfortunately this is the kind of grotesque, sub-Cronenberg wannabe that seems to be ten a penny these days, although it in no way equals the class or professionalism of an early Cronenberg flick. Instead it's a complete bore and a mess of a film, with plotting that goes all over the place and characterisation that never really works.

I loved Isabelle in the GINGER SNAPS trilogy but she feels miscast here and I would say the role was beneath her; certainly when you see her gyrating or suffering you can't help that feel she herself is being exploited somewhat as an actress. In any case, the characters are all unlikeable, and the scenes of body modification and the like are merely repulsive and repellent rather than properly horrific. American Mary is trash, made with a bare modicum of talent, and a film with no purpose other than to gross you out.
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8/10
Very surprised
philipcook9831 October 2015
I put this film on this Saturday night,31st Oct 2015,after coming across it whilst looking for a good horror movie that might give proper scares/jumps or better still,when you get a chill right up your spine & things that makes you grateful not to be in any situation at all that resembles that level of pain !! Anyway,so I sat down to watch it,(hopeful its a good one),around half an hour into it the very strange characters appeared & it started to get more of my full attention, (you will see what I mean). Without making any spoilers I can safely tell you that,this is one of these films you turn shouldn't turn off,cause you'll miss the very bits of others who watched all of it talk about,so just keep watching. Lastly I would recommend getting comfy,get some munchies (for hardened horror fans,not if your squeamish) tell everyone else to shut up or leave the room for a couple of hours !! Now your ready to watch this VERY,VERY GOOD MOVIE,It takes a movie like this for me to give an 8 star rating,but this one is an easy 8,especially for a horror,ENJOY !!
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10/10
Brilliant!
magorman20 May 2015
The thing that annoys me most about the internet is that weirdo losers living in their mom's basement can stand in judgment of absolute brilliance. Anyone who gave this film a bad review is a complete and utter jackass. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion but if you didn't like this film then yours is just wrong. The Soska Sisters have done it again, and with endorsements of their genius by such horror luminaries as Clive Barker, Eli Roth, and Daniel Schaffer I cannot for the life of me understand how anyone could not recognize the importance of this motion picture within a genre with so traditionally bereft of great offerings. Whatever kind of crack you're smoking perhaps you should share it with the rest of us so that we might, too, become so blissfully ignorant about the world around us. Here's an idea: shave off your stupid chin beard, lay off the Fritos, get out in the sun once in a while, and stop judging the innovative and refreshingly unique perspective of artists who are out there doing amazing stuff when you clearly know @#?! all about the creative process, writing, filmmaking, and perhaps, most importantly, the female experience. Just a thought.
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3/10
So so...
pendenquejohn25 April 2015
The film starts out in a very interesting manner but completely dies through time. The extreme overall creepiness kinds of gets the toll on the spectator and kills the novelty. Without taking into consideration that it really lacks any real action scenes. It becomes then quite repetitive and the end completely reflects that decline I believe.

Katharine Isabelle is extremely cold, cynical and quite disturbing. That's a start. Her psychology evolves from being a "normal woman" to a total 'controlled' psycho or even a serial killer to say the least. But I hardly could really differentiate when she was her 'normal' self in the first part of the movie and before that dramatic event for her from these phases of psychopathy. Either her acting was too perfectly suited for the film, which I think it was at certain phases or either it was really uni-dimensional bordering boring at times. At such a point that her true emotions were rarely convincing actually, or if she had any. In other words, she cold as boiling water when she is a lovable princess and still in a similar state when she is in lock-down psychopath mode so, it really does ask the question why did they really try to paint out these two versions about her ? Was just to really build the cheap scenario ? The focus on her life pre- psychopathy is like 3 minutes of the film and there is like literally no build up towards Jekyll.

Overall the movie appears totally creepy, disturbing at times no only with the surgical practices that she did but also the certain characters who are literally just weirdos. The combination of 'Mozart'- like music and creepiness tries to pull it almost as an art but not so much.

Concentrating on the detective, John Emmet Tracy, his role is actually quite laughable. A true filler for the poor scenario. Casper's invisibility cape was working full time there especially when the end of the film is taken into account. I'm not sure why they actually played this card when they did not expand it to its full powers. The relationship between Katharine Isabelle and John Emmet Tracy is poor, falls completely flat especially when you as a spectator expects a build-up tension, conflict [...] none of it. Which makes me say that he was a complete filler and a cheap excuse to try and diversify the scenario.

This film did not really know where it wanted to go. Full vengeance mode, in that case they should have created a better build-up (something which makes me remember Kill Bill, a reference) or a crazy serial killer and in that situation I would have expected a better relationship between the serial killer and authority. And if it was purely about decadence, then the psychology of Katharine Isabelle is somewhat well represented, though, again, you feel that there's always still that rope holding them back and preventing them from really pushing the movie far.

Another poor relationship is the one between Katharine Isabelle and Antonio Cupo. You always had the impression that they were to fall in love or have a relationship. Certain scenes make you even believe that she was in love with him, yet, again, all this is really very poorly developed.

So my overall and final feeling is American Mary is tame. The relationship between essential characters is left to be desired. Her acting was one-dimensional. But, it had potential which was very badly developed.
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7/10
Surprisingly Good and fun to watch!
The body modification sub culture is sort of the like the old time carnival freak show. People surgically mold, sculpt and pierce their way into something else but the person on the inside stays the same. The 2012 film "American Mary" features Katherine Isabelle, the breakout star of 2001's "Ginger Snaps", as a Med student who finds herself performing body mod surgeries that she finds out is quite good at.

Being a poor college student Mary Mason answer's a Craig's List style ad for a sleazy strip club owned by an even sleazier younger guy. During her "interview" something goes terribly wrong outside and Mary if offered $5,000 to do some impromptu surgery on some guy. She is freaked out but does it. Word gets around to the underground body mod culture and she is approached by some pretty strange characters to help them finish their work. Isabelle plays Mary perfectly, she is desperate enough too take these strange jobs, but is still grounded and very professional. She provides a desperately needed service to the extremely rich who believe she is an artist who works in the medium of skin.

She is first pursued by Beatrice who has transformed his/her body into Betty Boop. After completing a surgery on her for $10,000, her friend Ruby comes calling next. Rudy is transforming her body to look like an anatomically incorrect Barbie Doll and has a few things cut off and one thing sewn up. The film has a darkly comedic thread throughout. Ruby, Beatrice and the others are all portrayed as good people on the inside, but different on the out. While the exact opposite is true about the other so-called normal people.

Back at school Mary is invited to a swanky party thrown by one of the big shot surgeons, but she has unknowing just stepped into the lions den. She is drugged and raped by the surgeon, but little does he know the unique skills that Mary has recently acquired. Mary exacts swift and painful revenge upon the Doc. Making him her test subject for new procedures, keeping him alive and aware the whole time.

"American Mary" is full of interesting unique characters and well played throughout. It was written and directed by the Soska twins, Jen and Sylvia, who also play parts as customers to Mary. They bring a real sense of authenticity and care to the film, that would have been lost had it been done by anybody else.
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8/10
Horror Film, with quirks, lots
Steve B7 March 2015
I am giving this film a high rating for the creativity of the plot, story, and sets. I would call it slick and sexy. Katharine I. did a great job....probably on those hotist lists after this flick.

This horror story is obscure and almost fun except for all the gore. Most horror flicks just stick to that. This one is a revenge horror film too aside from the other obscure aspects.

I think the Soska sisters may be a pair to watch after seeing this. At least for this genre.

Skipped through some of the more graphic scenes actually, they were just too much for us.
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8/10
Caustic Cuttings.
Spikeopath1 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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1/10
The Worst. UGH.
jan-soutar12 February 2015
Warning: Spoilers
I can't help but live post about this movie called "American Mary" on Netflix about a woman who's studying to be a surgeon but winds up getting into extreme body modification and goes on a murdering spree. Spoilers ahead, ACTUALLY NO, F THAT, YOU CANT SPOIL THIS MOVIE ANY WORSE THAN IT ALREADY IS... Here goes:

OK, got it, Goth Katy Perry lookalike wants to be a surgeon but she's broke so she becomes a stripper. Sure, I'm with you on this ride...

Wait, she gives her medical resume to the douche bad actor Mark Ruffalo lookalike strip club owner?!? Wow, way to figure out that exposition hole writers...

Huh?!? She's not even in the club 5 min and they're asking her to sew up a dude for $5k? You know what, fine as long as Mark Ruffallo Jr stop talking, or even stops being in the movie at all.

And now she's oddly getting clientèle referrals from a woman who's surgically modified to look like Betty Boop named Beatrice. Interesting, still kinda with you.

Wait, this other lady wants to look 100% like a doll and get all her lady bits hacked off and sewed up. Really writers?! You don't think it takes more than a hacksaw some stitches and an hour to make that happen...? This is an insult to trans-gender in my mind.

Dude, the acting and writing is SOOO BAD. All the male characters are one dimensional and all the female characters are caricatures. It's just... Bad.

Also not one actor has chemistry with another.

Just IMDb'd this flick and the writers are Female. Why would you write such horribly underdeveloped female characters? How is that even possible? And you're twins?!?

Just saw they also directed it. Soooo... Yeah. SMH.

Oh god, and the guy who plays the husband of the doll girl, ugh. He gets psychotic because she looks like a doll now. Jesus. Also that's horrible writing just to make more gore and bloodshed for the camera.

Why are all the men in this film so outlandish? Not one of them has a subtle thought. Actually I don't think the writers know the meaning of the word.

Actually after that Asian dude just yelled "I'm a cutter MF'er!!!" I'm sure they don't know the definition of subtlety.

IN WHAT WORLD DO YOU JUST TAKE A GLASS OF WHISKEY FROM A WEIRD CREEPY DUDE AT A PARTY THAT IS 90% MEN WEARING BLACK CARRYING AROUND VIDEO CAMERAS??? THIS IS THE WORST PSA EVER. (Or perhaps maybe the best??)

Her college doctor professor drugs and rapes her so now TORTURE HIM WITH BODY MODIFICATIONS IN A STRIP CLUB BASEMENT. YES. SURE. WHY NOT.

OK, the chemistry between the bouncer and Mary is the first time I saw genuine chemistry. Really good scene for him.

Ugh. Penis guy = friend of director who can't act.

WHY IS THE COP British?!? Please someone explain this to me!!! Also why do bad writers use their characters names in every piece of dialog?!?

Also: LESBIAN SIAMESE TWINS WHO BITE POOR STRIPPERS TONGUES OFF FOR ABSOLUTELY NO REASON?!? WTF. SERIOUSLY. WTF.

The Mark Ruffalo lookalike scummy strip club owner is so bad it's laughable.

Really?!? She's going to intimidate some poor girl because she gave a BJ to her strip club owning, bad actor, no chemistry having, Mark Ruffalo lookalike D-Bag? Thank you for setting all the feminism that you built up in the beginning of this film back to Zero. Ugh.

And now she's going to give the D-Bag a lap dance and then stab him because "dream sequence"

Seriously, the metal looking bouncer is the best actor in this film. He's awesome. Even as a background performer. Not kidding.

Hasn't THIS WOMAN LEARNED NOT TO ACCEPT WHISKEY FROM STRANGERS?!? How many times do you need to get drugged woman?!?

So wait, the husband of the doll woman decides to kill his own wife, Betty Boop and Her?!? WORST PLOT POINT EVER. UGH.

Oh yeah, right, she's totally gonna stitch herself up with 2 scissors and nothing else and not go into shock. Totally believe that.

Uh-oh, Mr. "I'M A British COP IN America FOR NO REASON" just figured her out.

Wait, she died?!? SHE F'ING DIED AND THATS THE END OF THE MOVIE?!? THE DOLL GIRLS HUSBAND AND HIS PSYCHOPATHIC KNIFE SKILLS ARE WHAT GETS HER KILLED?!? HOW ANTI-CLIMATIC CAN YOU GET?!? WHATS THE POINT OF THIS MOVIE??? NOW I WANT TO SCREAM AT THE WRITERS AND DIRECTORS IN THE FACE. THANKS NETFLIX. KEEP IT CLASSY.
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6/10
Had a lot of potential, but needed more dialog and character depth
witster185 February 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Shame too, because the actings fine, the gore is rather well done, and the sensual/twisted edge works too.

"American Mary" is borderline b-movie marathon worthy, and will probably eek onto the list because of the starving genre. The films set-up is solid, but right when these characters started to show some remorse, it got interesting, and Then it ended.. A bit abruptly and unsatisfyingly too.

The two female leads saved a shoestring/somewhat inept script, and the film isn't particularly stylish considering its flashy subject matter.

The rape scene and the torture scenes are the most effective scenes so it didn't drop the ball completely. I'm not a "it's great" or "it's horrible" guy on this one. "Mary" should keep fans of the horror genre pacified, but there have been better examples with lesser acclaim(see Hostel). It's alright. Could b worth a re watch down the road 60/100 again the two leads make this worthwhile, but not mind-blowing.

Defo needed more character exploration, a better script, a bit more in the style/music department. Could have been great.
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8/10
I watched this just to see Katharine Isabelle.
svartamoln8 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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7/10
There's something twisted about Mary
bowmanblue3 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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7/10
Blood is Never Boring
BlueFairyBlog19 November 2014
There is something just so bloody good about a horror film that is nice and gory. "Ginger Snaps" alum Katharine Isabelle returns to the big screen as a medical student named Mary. Barely destitute but desperate, Mary answers an ad for a strip club, but is interrupted to perform surgery for a large sum of money. She begins in this vein as a very innocent and frightened young woman, who doesn't understand the world she is thrust into, but a thirst for revenge quickly spirals her into a realm of darkness and fury. This film screams for me to love it, and I do easily, thanks to its insatiable blood fest, grotesque imagery of surgeries, Katharine Isabelle's cold and conniving performance as Mary, and the exploitative antics on screen. Her professor (Lovgren) is probably the most gnawing thing about this film, because his behavior is insufferable, and his warped sense of entitlement over his students is just not realistic. I know we're supposed to hate him and that's the reason why he is designed in that way, but he's just so blatant about it. Mary changing to a bloodthirsty horror villain over his crime seemed a bit extreme. The ending was also anticlimactic for the story set up, and came out of nowhere. Otherwise, this film brutally entertains, and does so with all the lust and plasma it can muster.
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5/10
Cool premise, so-so execution
brchthethird14 November 2014
While this dark, twisted thriller delivers some great gross-out moments, it ultimately falters under the weight of its own sadism and is seriously let down by sub-par acting and some scattershot plotting. First off, I should say that overall I did enjoy the film. It kind of works as body horror, and the premise of body modification surgery allows for some fairly gruesome and grotesque sequences. However, this concept is never really allowed to cohere into a compelling story. The overall narrative deals with a broke medical student, Mary, who goes into the world of body modification surgery to make some extra money. That in itself is fine, but the way in which she's motivated to begin this work is rather cliché, becomes a half-ignored subplot and is then resolved in a rather mundane, anti-climactic way. The movie seems more interested in showing how weird it can be than really telling a story. Another problem with the film is the acting, because nobody (the lead included) really delivers a good performance. Some things I liked about the film was the rather eclectic soundtrack, which included dubstep, electronic pop and classical music. There was also one scene in particular, which takes place in a bathroom, that really stood out as building effective tension and conveying a sense of claustrophobia and fear. Also, the sequences where Mary does her body modification thing were (mostly) tastefully done. Overall, it's an OK movie but the experience is cheapened by poor acting, a muddled and poorly resolved plot and often taking itself too seriously. For me, a better movie that's similar to this would be EXCISION, although this wasn't bad enough to not necessarily recommend.
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8/10
Under-rated, unappreciated
A_Different_Drummer9 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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4/10
Why is her nationality important?
Rich Wright31 October 2014
Yes, it's Halloween. Apart from fobbing all my past-it's-best-before-date confectionery onto hapless trick or treaters, and jumping out from behind corners to try to give old people heart attacks. I've seen an alleged scary movie. And you're reading the review of it right now. Go you.

It's all about this lady, see? She's in training to be a surgeon. After being assaulted at a party by her lecturer, she decides to chop his arms and legs off. Now THAT'S vengeance. Then she quits medical school, and becomes exclusively involved with performing body modifications on the weirdos in our society. Including: A girl who literally wants to become a Living Doll, two sisters who want to exchange their left arms as a sign of their closeness(?) and a dude who fancies a crack at looking like Beelzebub himself... Horns and all. It LOOKS good, but I thinks his dreams of working the till at his local Co-op are well and truly shattered.

Will you want to avert your eyes on a few occasions, at the sight of split tongues, severed limbs and more blood gushing out than you'd find in a vampire's larder? Probably. But are there any moments, where you feel the hair prickle on the back of your neck, as something unknown creeps around the darkness, ready to strike...? Nope. It's all rather dull, with our heroine interacting with some not-quite-interesting characters, before getting busy with her operating table for long, drawn out procedures. Not too much of note happens, apart from the repetitive presence of REAL LIFE freaks as extras showing off their mutilations. Nice, guys.

As for the ending... It must have been early opening time at the pub that day, as it seems such a arbitrary afterthought that even using the term tacked-on doesn't do it justice. It's all a little lightweight, and will soon be forgotten by the OTHER horror film I plan to watch tonight before beddy byes.

OOPS, gotta go there's another knock at my door.. Now where did I put that Xmas 2011 candy... 4/10
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6/10
"You're gonna make a great slasher."
Scott LeBrun17 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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2/10
Probably know something about medicine if you're making a medical film.
Penny Pendleton13 October 2014
Warning: Spoilers
I just tried to watch "American Mary"- being that I adore extreme body modification**, I thought I'd like it... It seems like the people who made it didn't know a damned thing about medicine whatsoever though- Really stupid details- like her inserting a syringe that's plunger was ALREADY PLUNGED into SOMEONE'S CHEEK- so even if it wasn't EMPTY it just would of squirted the contents into his mouth. So- stupid. Stupid. Tis a shame.

I also can not abide by a medical resident performing surgery without gloves and with her hair not tied up, and with NO CLEANING OF THE FLESH BEFORE SURGERY. It's just... Mind numbingly stupid. Such a shame- because the premise was so promising.

American Mary: I got through 40 minutes, and I give it a 2/10. **I have extreme body modification.
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9/10
Live by the knife...die by the knife.
El Diablo11 October 2014
Warning: 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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6/10
Hail Mary
begob19 September 2014
Warning: 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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7/10
An Impressive Breakthrough
gavin69421 September 2014
The allure of easy money sends Mary Mason (Katharine Isabelle), a medical student, into the world of underground surgeries which ends up leaving more marks on her than her so called "freakish" clients.

Since this film's release, the Soska sisters and Katharine Isabelle have been touring the convention circuit creating plenty of buzz about this film. But it is not just the buzz -- there is plenty of substance to back this up.

Isabelle is best known for playing Ginger in "Ginger Snaps", but her role as Mary might just make people start forgetting that. (Although "Ginger Snaps" remains one of the best horror films of the last few decades.) She is quite a strong character that should appeal to a wide audience.

The Soskas made a mark with "Dead Hooker in a Trunk", but this film proves they are serious. The writing and directing are strong, with some very beautifully colored cinematography. The story does lose some steam later on, but this is far above and beyond the average film being made today.
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