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Digesting the lowest rung of pop culture so you don't have to!
It’s been awhile since the Gorehound got around to a truly disturbing horror movie. This movie, American Mary, has been a long time coming. The Screamfest release from 2012 is the story of a college girl trying to make ends meet and still become a great surgeon. It shows how passionate she is by the extra hours she puts into her studies. The movie has been around a while and hasn’t obtained much attention. It’s understandable because it’s very difficult to watch and this type of movie has little appeal to the general public. Body mutilation and surgical scenes don’t typically garner much attention, nor do they deserve the attention.
The scenes are intense. Constant surgery, graphic scenes, an intense rape (aren’t they all?), and much nudity. I believe that the film fails in the inability to capture a message or motive. American Mary was mediocre for much of the film, but has some highlights. Especially the super-modified girls Ruby and Beatrice, who look as if made of plastic. These characters bring a movie up to cult status and offer significant potential for sequels. They have some screen time but not enough.
While the film was slow to start, it did offer promise. About halfway through, a rape occurs and the potential for revenge horror was high. Unfortunately, it doesn’t take off. It should be noted that the Gorehound LOVES revenge horror because it is so emotional and has so much potential. Perhaps the Gorehound was looking for something that wasn’t there. Anyways… there really wasn’t anything there in the first place.
American Mary is not a good movie. It is graphic and not very entertaining. Mary does not appear to be distraught by the rape and merely passes it off as if saying “I’ll seek my revenge eventually but I really want to be a surgeon so that comes first”. Where is the emotional trauma that she suffers? Why does the viewer have to witness the entirety of the rape but only views a portion of the dirty backroom surgery? It’s illogical and not appealing to watch.
Katherine Isabelle, Mary, was the lead and wonderful. Earlier in her career she played Ginger from Ginger Snaps (2000) which is much more entertaining on every level. She is perhaps the string that ties all of the weaker elements together. We see her despair and struggle as a college student and see her confidence as she develops an increasing level of success and confidence. The strip club, where many scenes take place more on an administrative level, appears rough and tough in the beginning but becomes easier to bear as Mary becomes more involved. Similar to how a hotel room feels after housing there for a week. It’s still dirty after spending some time there, but you recognize it more and understand it more. The female dominates the male-dominated strip club.
This movie shouldn’t be watched with any other person whether it be family, friend, or significant other. In fact, don’t watch it yourself. Katherine Isabelle was the only highlight of the movie but could have been better. The Saw series is a much better alternative in that there is a central message at play for all of the destruction and all of the characters have personalities. 1/5