American Mary Blu-ray Review
Mary Mason (Katharine Isabelle, best known as Ginger in the GINGER SNAPS trilogy) is a med student with dreams of becoming a world-renowned surgeon. She knows her stuff and is bound to be at the top of her class. But bills are getting in the way and Mary is short on cash. Her search for a part-time job brings her to the Bourbon a Go Go, a strip joint run by a sleaze ball named Billy Barker (Antonio Cupo, BOMB GIRLS), who makes a massage a part of the interview process.
Soon after, she’s contacted by Beatress (Tristan Risk, “a sideshow performer and experienced fire dancer/eater,” according to her IMDb page), a stripper who has gone through multiple surgeries to have her face resemble Betty Boop’s. Knowing of Mary’s studies, Beatress offers her $10,000 to perform an equally demented surgery on a friend. Turns out, she’s as good as her grades and soon enough has her own successful business and a nickname: Bloody Mary.
AMERICAN MARY is written and directed by twin sisters Jen and Sylvia Soska, which somehow makes it all that much creepier. Knowing that the Soska Sisters’ previous effort was titled DEAD HOOKER IN A TRUNK, we almost expect Mary to spend the entire movie’s runtime on a spree, laying out her victims on tables and slicing off their favorite body parts. But there is a degree of restraint here due to Mary’s belief that her profession is a form of art, and she only uses it for harm to get due revenge on the man who raped her.
But don’t worry; the tone is clearly of the horror variety and there is still plenty of blood and sex for those that expect it from the poster. Take, for example, when Mary performs on her former professor (David Lovgren, ROLLERCOASTER), which sees forced modifications on both his tongue and genitals, or when she operates on twins (played by the Soska Sisters themselves) who request limb removals and horn implants, which can’t possibly be covered by their insurance. As for her surgical uniform, Mary ditches scrubs and Crocs to don a tight black dress and heels.
AMERICAN MARY is the latest female-centric horror movie à la GINGER SNAPS, MAY and TEETH, all of which feature strong anti-heroines capable of generating some rather disturbing scenarios. AMERICAN MARY won’t garner the cult following that GINGER SNAPS has, nor will it gross out male audience members as much as Dawn’s “vagina dentata,” but it does have a strong story, a capable cast and demented ideas that make it worth a watch.
AMERICAN MARYwon Best Makeup, Best Cinematography, Best Actress, Best Director(s), and Best Picture at the 2012 Screamfest Awards.
AMERICAN MARY BLU-RAY REVIEW
Video: 2.40:1 in 1080p with MPEG-4 AVC codec. This high-definition transfer offers incredible detail in clothing, sets and skin (both natural and surgically enhanced). The reds and blacks also have a nice level of depth that adds to the atmosphere of AMERICAN MARY.
Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. Subtitles in English. This is a very strong audio transfer, with clear dialogue and effective sound effects/music, notably in the scenes at the Bourbon a Go Go.
Commentary by directors Jen & Silvia Soska, Katharine Isabelle and Tristan Risk: The quartet has a good chemistry that illustrates the amount of fun they must have during production. Some technicalities are touched on, but the women spend the bulk of the commentary dishing out tales and tidbits from the shoot.
The Making of AMERICAN MARY (17:32) consists solely of footage from the set of the movie.