Canada has brought us a great many delights: Nathan Fillion, Molson beers, that kid from Air Bud… However, being an American, I’m sure a majority of the population would appreciate sending some Candian imports back to the Great White North (Justin fuckin’ Bieber).
The Soska Sisters (of Dead Hooker in a Trunk fame – which is an awesome movie) may have created an import that should, you know, go back… American Mary is kind of a mess. Not the good kind, either.
I take a lot of notes while I’m reviewing a film because I have ADHD and OCD, so taking notes helps me to focus on the film. Just to give you a feel for where my mind was during the watching of American Mary, here are a few snippets from my notebook:
I am so confused.
Wait… what the fuck.
Creepy surgeon motherfuckers are creepy ass pervs.
Is she dead? No. She’s not.
Someone dies = Delete from iPhone contacts.
Hold on. What.
This movie has no point.
I love gory movies, especially if there is a surgical storyline, so I had such high hopes for American Mary. The basic premise is that Mary Mason (Katharine Isabelle), a medical student, is having trouble making ends meet so she applies for a job at a strip club. Before the interview even ends, she’s invited to perform surgery on some random dude missing an eye for $5,000. Now, there are a lot of things I would do for $5,000. Illegal and sketchy-ass surgery doesn’t tend to be on that list. But, Mary thought it was a good idea so whatever.
Lo and behold, her skilled ways with a scalpel become legendary and she has the entire body modification community asking her for favors. Because, you know, that shit’s cool. Mary gets a visit from Beatriss (Tristan Risk – awesome name), who works at the strip club and has had several surgeries to make her look like Betty Boop (why not?), and is offered a shit ton of money to turn Beatriss’s friend into a human doll. Yes. A human doll. This surgery would require the removal of the nipples and the sewing up of the vagina. Oh, yeah. We’re in for a ride.
To sum it up without giving too much away, Mary’s med school instructors are all creepy ass surgeons: Dr. Grant and Dr. Walsh. Grant enjoys saying “fuck” and Walsh is just one of those Skeletor-looking dudes that automatically means bad news. They enjoy having parties where everyone likes to get drunk, slip girls drugs, and then rape them on camera. They sound like a bunch of winners, no?
Well, they wind up inviting Mary to one of those parties and Grant rapes her. The next morning, Mary gets pissed (rightfully so), drops out of med school, and decides to take up body modification surgery. But, wait! She also holds Grant hostage to practice her new techniques on him. Tongue splitting, genitalia modification, dermal implants… he’s looking real good.
Here’s where the movie lost me: She gets into body modification, a detective questions her about the disappearance of Dr. Grant, and then… what? She makes people happy by, as Beatriss pointed out, making their outside appearance match how they feel on the inside. Is this some sort of gender identity metaphor? Is Mary supposed to resemble the one lost hope for these people? After the torture of Dr. Grant, there seems to be no real point to the movie.
Oh, and the “twist” at the end? Blah. Pathetic.
Now, I love me some gory, slasher flicks. There was a severe lack of gore and slice-and-dice footage here. Gimme some entrails!
American Mary had so much potential, but it definitely fell flat. I’m trying not to blame it completely on the writing, but it’s hard not to. Katharine Isabelle played the part of Mary eerily well. She seemed like Zooey Deschanel’s S&M loving sister, and I couldn’t help but be drawn to her character. I rooted for Mary, but ultimately felt nothing during the climax and breakdown of the film.
Sadly, I have to give this movie 2.5 stars out of 5. Now, excuse me while I go practice my suture techniques on a turkey.