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American Mary
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American Mary More at IMDbPro »

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15 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

An Exceptionally Poor Try

Author: Foxbarking from United States
6 September 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I was at first a bit hesitant to watch this movie, because the description made it seem like torture porn. Only after seeing many reviews that did not paint it as such, I decided to give it a try. In retrospect, I wish someone would have called it torture porn to keep me from watching it.

Getting that out of the way, I am not labeling this movie as torture porn, but it is the furthest thing from it. I have to commend the filmmakers for taking a concept that screamed of a torture porn plot but avoided making it such. The writers and directors tried to make this film less about the body modifications as it was about the change in personality of the lead character. However, they did such a poor job doing this that they should have just made an idiotic torture porn movie.

"American Mary" is basically a film about a poor med student who begins to take body modification jobs to keep her bills paid. At first she is reluctant to do so, but this changes over time. When one of her former professors drugs her and rapes her, she quits med school and after beginning a long revenge scenario with him, she becomes a very distant shell of what she previously was. The nice girl trying to get through school becomes emotionally blank and immorally bankrupt.

This movie fails because its plot is way too unlikely. Mary's change happens too quickly and it seems to come about as the means for a plot device and not her character. By the time you get half way through the movie, any sympathy for Mary is gone. She has no morals and no redeeming factors.

This is a dreary and boring and terrible film I suggest you skip over.

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9 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Unusual, captivating, repellent, and very, very good.

Author: wadechurton from New Zealand
14 August 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

'American Mary' (2012) is the story of a would-be surgeon (she's attending medical college) with money problems who suddenly finds 'underground' work lucrative. Soon she's performing increasingly freakish 'body modification' procedures for fabulous sums, and her 'fame' grows. This one played out like a black comedy until around a quarter of the way in when something nasty happens to Mary which skews the screenplay into something a lot darker. It is an unusual movie but one which held my complete attention until the end; not something which happens every time with the horror genre. There's a little of the David Cronenberg, even David Lynch about it. Bonus; the classical music on the soundtrack (especially at the end) was lovely enough for me to seek out on the Net.

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13 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

Another gem from the twisted twins.

Author: jackmeat from chicago
1 May 2013

Movie review:The twisted twins, Sylvia and Jen Soska, are back with their second full length feature. Now that people are taking notice to their talent, this time they have a budget (although they did need to take out a second mortgage to get the project off the ground). Anyway, this movie is about Mary, a brilliant med student studying to be a surgeon. Of course, money issues arise, as seems to always happen to college kids, so she decides stripping may be the way to go. While "interviewing" for the job, a strange occurrence puts here in the helm of a situation where she is needed to perform surgery at the club for quick cash. She soon realizes that maybe under the table surgical procedures may become a way to make money, so when a woman tracks her down after finding her resume at the club, she takes on a second patient. Mary finds herself juggling the task of student and surgeon on the side. Well, the life of being a student is crossed when she is invited to a "party" where she is the guest of honor, so to speak, and the world of the actual surgeons take a toll on her as she is drugged and raped. This incident pushes Mary over the edge and she takes matters into her own hands. This movie does a wonderful job weaving the tale of a woman that is forced into a life she wasn't prepared for, that of BME and revenge. It follows her downward spiral balancing reality with the virtually psychotic road she has chosen. The movie is much more polished than it's predecessor and it shows in the quality of camera-work and editing. The acting is very well done by Katherine Isabelle as Mary, and the other actors hold their own in their respective roles. Of course, the blood and gore is there, but not as extensive as their previous effort. It really wasn't needed for the story the twins wrote. American Mary had a limited theater release so you may or may not have had the chance to see it. If not, I again highly suggest that you see this movie. It is good to see new talent emerging with entertaining movies that don't follow the cookie cutter mold Hollywood has been giving us. 6.4/10 IMDb 6.0 . I very much anticipate the next release from these two.

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70 out of 135 people found the following review useful:

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

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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7 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

An undeservedly-acclaimed torture flick

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.


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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11 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

There's something scary about Mary.

Author: BA_Harrison from Hampshire, England
28 February 2013

Katherine 'Ginger Snaps' Isabelle stars as cash-strapped medical student Mary Mason, who decides on stripping as a means of extra income (she certainly has the right qualifications for the job!). During her interview ("strip off and show us what you've got"), Mary's career takes an unexpected turn, her boss-to-be offering her an alternative way to earn big bucks: as a back-street surgeon fixing up shady characters in need of medical attention.

Mary's reputation as an unscrupulous medical genius for hire soon reaches the ears of stripper Beatress Johnson, part of the on-line body modification community, who pays her $10,000 to perform an unorthodox operation on her friend Ruby. Mary's improved financial status doesn't go unnoticed by her instructor Dr. Grant (David Lovgren), who surmises that his star pupil is on the game, and that it would be perfectly OK if he got himself a freebie. Drugging and raping her at a party proves to be a bad idea, however, for Mary isn't about to take that sort of thing lying down (OK, she does take it lying down, but you know what I mean).

With a little help from her strip-club owner pal Billy (Antonio Cupo), Mary exacts bloody revenge, but seems to lose most of her marbles in the process...

As you can probably tell, American Mary, directed by twin sisters Jen and Sylvia Soska, is a rather preposterous tale, one that frequently borders on the ridiculous in its desire to be as demented as possible; as such it is difficult to be absolutely certain of the filmmakers' intentions. Is this supposed to be a serious, tragic body-shock horror experience in the vein of fellow Canadian auteur Cronenberg (whose film Dead Ringers gets a visual reference) or a sly parody of the genre with split tongue planted in pierced cheek?

Whatever the case, American Mary is certainly a consistently entertaining experience thanks to its provocative 'body modification' subject matter, excellent in-your-face gore, and Isabelle's bold central performance.

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22 out of 40 people found the following review useful:

American Mary - freaky, enticing, bloody brilliance.

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:

Driving down is half the trip.

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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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Awesome find

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.

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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