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American

Mary

Horror movies have the ability to create and explore sub-genres within our own culture.American Mary is a perfect example of exploration within film. The movie revolves around a jaded medical student named Mary (Katharine Isabelle) who is struggling financially while attempting to be the best surgeon she can be. Straight from the start it appears the world is out to get her and eventually she is pushed to her farthest limits.

The film comments on a lot of things within our society. What this movie does a good job of is taking you into a world that most of us don’t know anything about. Body modification is getting bigger and has an entire culture within itself. I have to ask myself though - if I did have body modifications would this be the kind of movie I want representing it? Furthermore, the issue of sexual abuse or rape is prevalent throughout the film. Would someone who has suffered such a trauma want this particular film representing him or her in the way it did?

Mary is the product of the men around her. In this film the men are mostly all sadistic and unlikable. When a professor rapes her, she quickly begins to seek her revenge. I am a true believer that films have the ability to mold minds and educate the people that watch them. If this film is attempting to comment on women in our culture who have suffered from sexual abuse then I think it does a horrible job of it.

Whenever someone is hurt either physically or emotionally it is natural to want to seek revenge. Mary does this, but then she goes on to reenact her own trauma through other people. What does this ultimately mean? It means that this film comments on how horrific trauma is, but forgets the subtlety or nuances of navigating our own wrath. I felt trapped in this movie and ultimately found it unpleasant. Everywhere you look the characters are unlikable, but when there is a male character that seems to depict men in a friendly way, Mary turns away from them.

After watching the film I just wonder what the exact purpose of creating this movie was? Was it to comment on female culture and its relationship with its male counterparts or was it an exercise in cathartically representing every possible emotion a rape survivor feels? Either way I came out of this film feeling like I was just thrown up on.

There is just so much in this film to take in. Not only are body modification and rape brought up but also society as a whole. I also have to ask why exactly the film is calledAmerican Mary? In the film her nickname is Bloody Mary, so why are we incorporating an American in the title. Is this film meant to be a comment on sexual abuse in America?

When you take out all of the loaded questions and topics, you are left with a film that does have the ability to stick with you for a long time. Unfortunately, I would rather be scared by a movie that questions the shadow in the corner instead of a political commentary on our culture.

With all of that being said, you still have to give the movie props for being bold and giving us topics for debate. The movie will linger with you even if you don’t want it to. It was adventurous and cutting which deserves some credit. Unfortunately, I think the depictions of both a culture and trauma are so badly done it makes it difficult to like the film at all.

If you liked American Mary, you might also like The Loved OnesThe Last House on the Left and The Last House on the Left (2009).