Film: American Mary
Director: Jen Soska and Sylvia Soska
Writer: Jen Soska and Sylvia Soska
Starring: Katharine Isabelle, Antonio Cupo and Tristan Risk
This film begins in the kitchen of a cheap apartment. We meet our main character, Mary Mason who is played by Katharine Isabelle. She is practicing suturing on what we learn to be a turkey. She does this in a nightgown.
The next day we then learn that she is a med student. She is in a lecture and her phone goes off. The professor calls her out about it; he is played by David Lovgren. He is even ruder to her after class, but we learn that he is because he thinks she has promise. We also learn in the next scene, she is struggling with money.
We then get Isabelle trying to find a job online while she talks to her Nana, who is voiced by Brenda Anderson. She finds an ad that is offering $1500, but it is a job as a stripper and giving massages. At first she does not want to do it, but when the restaurant where she works calls and tells her they have to lock the doors for awhile, she calls for an interview.
She shows up at the shady spot called ‘Bourbon a Go-Go’. She meets the manager, played by Antonio Cupo. While she shows how well she can massage, his biker helper tells him there is a problem, the biker is played by Twan Holliday. Cupo looked at Isabelle’s resume where he knows that she is working to be a doctor. He offers her a lot of money to help him out with a problem in the basement. She reluctantly does.
This messes with Isabelle’s head. She is bombarded with calls from a woman with a weird voice, the woman played by Tristan Risk. Risk does what she can to get into Isabelle’s apartment and give her a request. Risk is into body modification surgery and has a friend that wants some work done. It is hard to find a doctor willing to do it, since it is illegal. Isabelle once again reluctantly agrees with the amount that is offered.
With money no longer being an issue, she tries to get back to her studies. She goes to her residency where another doctor, played by Clay St. Thomas, also thinks she has her promise. He invites her to a party, telling her that Lovgren wants her to come to. This party is thrown at another doctor’s condo and it is odd from the beginning. Isabelle is given a drink and passes out. Lovgren takes advantage of her while she is.
Isabelle immediately drops out of med school and decides body modification can be much more lucrative. She enlists the help of Cupo and Holliday to extract revenge on Lovgren. She also begins to make a name for herself in the body modification circuit from her work on Risk’s friend; the woman she did the surgery on is played by Paula Lindberg.
With Lovgren going missing, a detective visits Isabelle; he is played by John Emmet Tracy. Also Lindberg’s husband is not too happy when comes home to find the changes his wife has made. As she makes more money, her world becomes more surreal and much more complicated. Will she be able to keep control?
This film started out with a lot of promise and it really had me intrigued. The problem though was that is seemed to lose its way after Isabelle decided to go into body modification full-time. I think it tried to introduce too many elements and subplots, but it never realized many of them. Cupo seems to have a crush on Isabelle, but he never really shows it outside of wanting to get revenge on those that hurt her. Isabelle shows no interest except almost hurting a new hire that she catches fooling around with Cupo. Tracy has maybe 5 minutes of screen time, but seems to have a crush on Isabelle as well. Too much tried to go on and not enough substance behind it.
With all the subplots going on, they did not flesh out the main story enough either. They introduced what the ending was going to be, but we do not get enough tension building. Minor elements of the main story are left unanswered. It opened too many questions without enough answers.
I do think Isabelle does well at being torn at what she wants to do and what she does. She was really only bright spot in the acting. Holliday plays his role well, but he is only minor character. Lovgren is a jerk and I liked what he got coming to him. St. Thomas was also quite creepy, but aside from two scenes, we got nothing really out of him.
I think the Soska sisters had a good concept, but they tried to do way too much with it. They over-complicated what should have been a simple story. They did not show a lot of the gore, which I liked as it helped to build suspense and still got me to cringe with what they showed. The lack of a solid story hurt this film and lost me. If you like horror films, this one is not horrible. If you are especially into realistic horror films that deal with the medical field, I would give this one a viewing. There are better ones out there, but you could do much worse.
My Rating: 5 out of 10