Tuesday, June 30, 2015

AMERICAN MARY (2012) - The Soska Sisters


American Mary chronicles a Canadian med student who uses her budding surgical skills to take revenge on her silver fox professor after he roofies her, assaults her and films it at an after-hours college mixer. Turns out, Mary's been doing some back alley "body mod" surgeries on the side to help pay off her student loans. She's gotten very handy with the scalpel doing transdermal implants and bifurcating tongues. After his transgressions, Professor Handycam is certainly due for an involuntary makeover.

The revenge portion of the film is your standard mid-aughts torture porn affair. If you've watched any of the Hostel, Human Centipede or Saw movies, you probably won't be shocked or surprised. The revenge is taken pretty early in the film, leaving Mary to putter along on some other uninteresting plot strands involving a sleazy love interest who runs a strip club for the remainder of the film. But the body modification community bits interspersed throughout are of interest, mostly because the twin female directors used real-life patients. It lends these scenes a unsettling early-mid Cronenberg sheen.

Though the Sisters Soska seem a little too green (and a little too grindhouse) to be in their fellow Canadian's league, there are hints of promise sprinkled throughout. Like their student protagonist, they've obviously been pulling all-nighters boning up on their Takashi Miike. The casting of Mary in American Mary was, for me, the biggest misfire, other than the twin sisters casting themselves in a few scenes (with terrible German accents). The actress eye-rolls her way through a majority of her lines and, thus, comes off like a goth Tara Reid on extra helpings Xanax. However, I did greatly appreciate the real-life body mod Betty Boop. I would even consider streaming a stand-alone sequel that follows just her plot line. Saskatchewan Betty, maybe?

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