Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Movie Review: American Mary

 I first saw only bits and pieces of this film (no body-mod pun intended), and was intrigued by whatever it was I saw going on there.  Was it radical surgery run amok?  Body-modification taken to a new level?  It wasn't until tonight that I had a chance to actually watch the film, almost a year later, and I am more than a little disappointed.

 Do not get me wrong, American Mary is a cool film.  The acting was great, the story for the most part was impressive.  It is just one of those films that kind of falls flat.  It starts like it is going somewhere, loses its way about two-thirds through, and just stops for no particular reason.  Not every story needs to come with a comfy bow of closure at the end, but when you try to bring it all to a close and fail, it is glaringly obvious.  

Surgery in lingerie, cause why not?
 Mary Mason is a college student studying surgery and struggling to pay her bills.  She is already a brilliant surgeon with a great deal of promise, but because of her financial woes she has trouble staying focused.  Desperate, she applies for a job at a strip-club and presents her resume to the owner,  Just as the owner was about to audition Mary (coerce her into a sex-act) there is an emergency, and the owner turns to the one surgeon on-hand to suture up an associates heavily damaged face.  For the effort, Mary makes $5000.  This leads to another surgery removing a woman's nipples and fusing her labia to make her more doll-like for $12,000 ($10,000 for the surgery and $2000 for just showing up to hear the request). Her sudden financial windfall does not go unnoticed by her professors, who assume that Mary is working as a prostitute, making her fair-game for one of their sex-parties where they drug and rape co-eds.  Mary enlists her new friends at the strip-club to help her get revenge, and becomes a hit in the body-modification community for her skills at performing extreme mods.  

Ruby Realgirl removed those...
... and these.
 That is the set-up.  It gets progressively weirder as Mary finds herself becoming every more detached from her emotions, suspected by the police for the disappearance of her professor, and engaging in ever more odd body-modification requests.  Then, the films seems to get lost.  It is not clear what Mary is dealing with the direction she is heading, or what threat is eminent.  The movie remains visually interesting until the ending, which was moderately foreshadowed in the first half of the film, brings it all to a screeching halt.

Boundary issues.
 The special effects are all top-notch, while also being understated.  For example, when we see an amputated torso hanging by hooks from skin on its back, the effect is completely believable, but the camera does not linger on it.  The film also boasts the display of several actual body-modifications.  Visually, the film is a real treat.  

 American Mary is not much of a horror film.  It has some blood and gore.  There are some twisted concepts touched-upon, and there is the indication of a psychological downward spiral, but nothing is explored in any depth.  It is a great concept, just poorly executed. 

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