Katharine Isabelle in See No Evil 2
75. American Mary
Written and Directed by: Jen Soska, Sylvia Soska
Produced by: Evan Tylor, among others
Cinematography by: Brian Pearson
Edited by: Bruce MacKinnon
Original Score by: Peter Allen
Other Notable Crew: Amber Makar (key makeup artist), Céline Godeau (key prosthetic makeup artist), Jeny Cassady (special effects makeup coordinator)
Starring: Katharine Isabelle, Antonio Cupo, Tristan Risk, David Lovgren, Paula Lindberg, Clay St. Thomas, John Emmet Tracy, Twan Holliday, Nelson Wong, Sylvia Soska, Jen Soska
Synopsis: Buried deep in student loans and recently laid off from her part-time job, promising medical student Mary Mason (Katharine Isabelle) starts looking at alternative sources of income. By gruesome coincidence she discovers the lucrative field of body modification, and through a gossipy and supportive underground culture she starts to rake in quite substantial revenue (as well as build a name for herself). She soon realizes, though, that her newly-perfected skills can be used on people other than just clients, and that revenge can be both sweet and bloody.
I have a friend who loves this movie and she’s been telling me to watch it for the longest time (especially since I got to portray a genderbent version of this film’s protagonist in a scene my friend directed in a film class of ours last year).
From a technical standpoint this film looks and feels almost too good for the type of film it’s aiming to be. The cinematography is downright astounding—it feels very much like Roger Deakins if he decided to do a B-horror flick. The sound definitely could’ve used some work, though.
I also appreciated that, for a thriller-like film about surgery and body modification, there was very little blood shown. Same goes for other non-surgical, blade-on-skin mutilation sequences. Even during most of the scenes of conflict the camera will pan away just before the impact, with our last image only of Mary smoothly skimming the surface of her victims’ skins with her scalpel. It’s very titillating, as it’s building the audience up—preparing them for a scene of squeamish carnage—and then doesn’t quite fulfill its suggestions. Which, in fact, may even be more disturbing than if it did.
The writing seemed very corny, which I think was intended for comic relief but might’ve overdone it because at times I felt like I was laughing when I shouldn’t’ve. Most of it was probably intentional, as the Soskas seemed to have established this world that’s slightly out of alignment; Mary is the only one who ever seems down to earth and “normal”—which, for this film, isn’t a description to be lazily tossed around—and even she starts to lose her grip, using her practice to instead unleash anger and rage.
A very weird film, no doubt, that to some extent I did enjoy, but I can only recommend it if you’re in the mood for a very off-kilter horror-slasher-thriller-comedy genre twister.
AMERICAN MARY | 2012 | JEN & SYLVIA SOSKA
"I quit med school today, that shouldn’t come as a surprise to you. I’m changing specialties Dr. Grant. Have you ever heard of body modification?”
American Mary (2012)
New American Mary poster since Katharine Isabelle signed on for monstermania!
I quit med school today, that shouldn’t come as a surprise to you. I’m changing specialties Dr. Grant. Have you ever heard of body modification?