Movie: American Mary (2012)
Starring: Katharine Isabelle
Director: Jen & Sylvia Soska
Genre: Body Horror?
Full Disclosure: I love Katharine Isabelle. I remember first seeing her in Ginger Snaps all those years ago and was immediately enchanted. Perhaps it was my raging hormones, perhaps mixed with a sexually-charged werewolf coming of age tale it caused me to lust after her hypnotizing presence. Either way she was great (also Ginger Snaps? Very underrated. Check it out plz).
When I saw her earlier this Season on Hannibal as the complicated and alluring Margot Verger, I was reminded why I loved her so much as a horny teen. Her eyes carried the weight of the world with her, she was hypnotic. And she played part in a Hannibal-fused orgy, so points for that. A second thought, maybe I’m still just a horny teen (albeit in an old man body).
While perusing Complex’s 100 Best Movies Streaming on Netflix Right Now I stumbled upon this little indy Canadian gem and immediately added it to my Netflix list.
The basic plot sees Mary Mason (Isabelle), a surgical student dealing with the immense debt of medical school trying to earn brownie points with her asshole teacher Dr. Alan Grant (Big Jurassic Park fans?) while figuring out how to make some extra cash and keep herself afloat. After answering a sketchy Craigslist-like add at a strip club Mason’s well informed resumé leads her into the underground world of surgery and body modifications and a huge influx of cash. The huge influx comes thanks to a “Barbie Doll Surgery” on a creepy looking gal who has her privates sewn up to help better resemble a plastic doll. The boost in cash leads to the TeacherDoctors noticing her new wardrobe and stethoscope, and invite her to a very exclusive party which in no way leads to her to walk right into a secret sex party with the slimy perverts drugging, videotaping, and raping Ms. Mason.
Okay so that’s exactly what happens.
The next day Mary throws her coffee table over, which somehow transitions her into paying the douchey strip club owner Billy (Antonio Cupo) five grand to kidnap Dr. Grant and allow her the opportunity to fuck his shit up with her newly acquired skills in the body modification industry. Thankfully the script helpfully explains to us how Mary flips the script and changes her personality like a flip of the switch.
“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?”
Not that I don’t doubt getting drugged and raped would radically change a human being (that’s not the discussion here, trust me) I just find it hilarious how within 24 hours of the attack she’s started a new business, hired gangster/strip club mafioso’s to assist in a kidnapping and then tortured a man with Cronenberg like precision while just a couple weeks earlier she was lovingly chatting with Nana.
Mary’s transformation is quick and jarring, as the lovely Mason becomes a heartless, body cutting slicer who kicks out pathetic posers from her loft just because he was thinking of getting tribal tattoos and maybe even a piercing! Mary don’t play that. Mary straddles the line of sanity until it’s revealed she’s been keeping Dr. Grant holed up in a SAW-like torture set up, awaiting additional procedures. This reveal is quickly followed by a security guard (?! Where was Mary hiding this dude, the Mall parking lot???) showing up out of nowhere only to be bludgeoned to death by an enraged Mary.
So now Mary is a super villain, and even the lovable bouncer who’s been protecting her mentions that everyone in the club is frightened of her just to hammer this point home.
I know this probably sounds like I hate the movie, but I in fact love it. I’m a huge fan of B Movies (Troma 4 Life) and this flick was definitely up my alley thanks to the absurdity of the plot and the allure of Isabelle. In fact I wanted Mary to succeed even when she teased Billy and the whore who was sucking him off at the wrong place and wrong time, and was desperate for her to survive the attack by jealous husband “Ken” (his wife was “Barbie” you see, and he was not happy to have his wife’s lady parts vanish).
For everything this film was building, my biggest disappointment was the fart of an ending. We see Mary trying to suture herself up after getting stabbed, and was hoping upon hope that the useless detective we’ve met twice before would find an empty house with a dead attacker and a missing Mary setting the stage for a damaged Mary causing havoc on all those that have wronged her in her life. But no, Mary is dead. Good-bye!
In closing I will say this. At an hour and forty minutes I could have spent an extra twenty in this world, which should say a lot about the atmosphere the Soska sisters built throughout the preceding carnage. Plus, Katharine Isabelle.