The first time I watched American Mary, I’m not gonna lie, I thought it was a great movie. I remember thinking to myself, wow what an interesting concept. Girl gets raped, drops out of Med School and goes ballistic all over everybody’s ass. It’s not gory but it’s freaky as hell. So naturally, I was boasting about it for months to my friends and basically anyone who was ever looking for a cool new horror flick. Recently I got the pleasure of convincing a friend of mine to finally sit down and watch it with me, and boy, was he a good sport about it. I don’t know what I was thinking. I must have been drunk when I watched it back then because this movie is terrible. It is so terrible that anyone else would have surely told me to go fuck myself with a two by four, 13 minutes in. My friend however, stayed throughout the whole thing. It didn’t take me long to realize that my credibility is shattered, and as I was searching for the obvious disapproval in his eye balls, I could see that he was trying desperately to escape that very same thought because he couldn’t believe that I would ever deem such a piece of shit as not only watchable but actually “great”. As much as he wanted to believe that it would in fact get better, we both soon gave up and chalked it up to an inexplicable mishap of mine, and proceeded to make fun of it relentlessly.
The fact that its concept is indeed an interesting one remains. However, the execution of this film was so terrible that it trumps any and all good portions. So with this major spoiler material, I bring to you a list of 15 things that are so very wrong with this particular horror film.
1. Acting is all around terrible – Professor Grant is so obvious with his ‘I’m Mr. Cool, and don’t you fucking fuck up on this fucking test because I may act like I don’t give a fuck but I really give three fucks’ BS. He clearly overuses the “F” word. Let’s face it, he’s trying too hard. You’re not Hank Moody; you can’t pull that shit off. Then you have Professor Walsh, whose face looks like a Botox experiment gone wrong. It’s almost as if he’s going for the Joker look. Every single conversation has a “staged” feeling. Nothing is natural. Everything feels forced.
2. Ridiculous dialogue and silly lines – One of my favorites might be “You’re going to be an excellent slasher, Mary”. Seriously? Slasher, of all words? And what’s up with the Asian doctor dude, at the fancy, creepy, rave-like surgeon party who introduces himself as a “Fucking motherfucker”. What does that even mean?? And then he keeps motioning to the glass that she’s drinking out of, telling her to keep on drinking, faster. Cause that’s not obvious or anything…
3. Complete lack of flow – If anything is obvious here is how abruptly the movie jumps from one point of the movie to the next. There’s no buildup whatsoever at any point. Things just happen and you’re just like, oh okay, I guess we’re here now.. And you’re supposed to just accept it. The strip club dude for example. It’s like they hit the fast forward button on the progression of his character. First he’s just a casual dude that likes to look at titties. Then he’s giving 5 grand to this random chick in a corset and boots to perform a highly illegal surgery in a creepy basement, just because her resume has a whole bunch of doctor related stuff on it. So now we’re supposed to assume that they have this bond, because clearly he has no qualms going out, kidnapping a surgeon and strapping him to a bench for her, knowing damn well that torture with cleavers and chains will probably be involved among other things. Keep in mind, they’ve met once prior to all this taking place. Once! But whatever, cause at this point he’s her protector, savior and supplier of body guards. Not to mention, he falls in love with her of course, because what’s a movie without some good old heart turmoil, right? And what’s a better way to portray that love on screen than by making him kidnap Dr. Walsh, and bash his face in? What’s the connection you ask? Well, it’s pretty OBVIOUS my friend. Naturally the strip club dude found the rape tape with Mary’s face on it, it got him all angry and whatnot, cause you know, he in love, so he found guy, and beat the shit out of him. Never mind the fact that Dr. Walsh wasn’t the guy doing the raping, or the fact that how he got his hands on the tape in the first place is never mentioned… Don’t worry about it. You’re supposed to just be like “Aw, the butterflies in his stomach are making him perform this act of vengeance, how noble”. And although you could have guessed that it was Mr. Walsh, based on the mere fact that he was the only other asshole who had enough screen time to be deemed important enough to be “punished”, it still wasn’t quite clear until the mention by the detective – “oh yeah btw, Dr. Walsh is missing”. Speaking of the detective… Don’t they teach you in detective school not to accept drinks from suspects? You only lucked out because she had a change of heart due to your little “you’re a victim, Mary, let me help you” speech. Otherwise, you’d probably be chopped up into pieces too.
4. The implied concept of gore and terror doesn’t quite work here – I don’t have a problem with the ‘implied’ concept as a whole. In the movie Se7en for example, the entire thing was practically implied and that movie was beyond excellent. American Mary had more of a cheap porn flick kind of vibe where the poor dialogue takes up a lot of room and the main concept lacks good angles. Starting with the very first bloody scene where she operates on the guy in the strip club dungeon. How are we supposed to relate to the agony she experiences causing her to cry and shake in the shower, and sleep with a baseball bat when all she did was literally put a gauze on a dude’s eyeball, telling him it’s gonna be OK? Sure we’re supposed to assume that some major skills were involved seeing as how she wasn’t in a hospital where all the proper tools are ready and available, not to mention all these mobster looking strangers are sitting back waiting for you to save a life and you don’t know if they’re gonna kill you or praise you afterwards. But still, nothing really happens! They could have added a little more detail to spice it up…
5. It’s not medically accurate – Since we’re on the subject of gore… I’m not a doctor or anything, but isn’t it against all laws of logic and science to be able to move limbs around like you’re playing Lego? If you chop off a person’s arm, it becomes pretty much a paperweight, no? All the nerve endings and whatnot. I mean, I guess there’s a chance that I could be wrong, but I feel like doing the research on the matter would make Google look at me the same way as it looks on those who type “Can you get pregnant from a kiss??” into the search bar. It just doesn’t make any sense. They literally saw off the whole arm, and attach it to another human being. Just days later, voila, walking and moving as if nothing major took place. But hey, it’s just a movie right? Things don’t have to make sense…
6. The main character is surprisingly irritating – Let’s shift the focus to Miss American Mary for a second. For some reason I recall her being a lot hotter the first time around. She’s got the whole nine yards – Long dark hair, big light eyes, and can’t forget that nice pair of boobs and the overall sleek figure. Perhaps it is because of the fact that the movie went from great to shit for me in less than 60 seconds that I am no longer as attracted to her. Something shifted. Don’t get me wrong, she’s still about, but not higher than that. Her California Snob Girl attitude doesn’t do her any favors. Her mannerisms and eye rolling and just Basic Bitch behavior pretty much negates any positive attributes she had going for her. And on top of all that, the patient trooper, dear friend of mine that sat through this monstrosity with me, mentioned that she has kind of a pig face. Now all that’s going through my head when I look at her is Oink Oink. In addition to that, the lack of expression on her blank face makes me think of a dead fish. So she went from a hot ass exotic brunette to an annoying hybrid of a pig and a fish. Still has a nice rack though. Not sure what that says about my own mental health, but moving on.
7. Character development distinctions are weak – All they did was slap on some red lipstick and add an extra inch to the hip movement in her walk to portray her badass-ness. Apparently that and a tiny leather doctor apron is all it takes. All of a sudden she goes from a freaked out young med student, sitting on her couch wrapped in a blanket, holding a bat, scared of her phone to this insane psycho path that’s completely devoid of emotion.
8. Behavior that completely lacks sense – So she’s on her couch, right? She’s scared shitless cause who knows who could be coming for her after this so called intense experience that she had the night before. Phone rings, and a strange animated voice asks for her by name. Oh my, who could it be? Let me just hang up, put the phone face down, and hide under this blanket, maybe they won’t find me like this. But no, the phone rings again. Oh phew, it’s just the restaurant. What do you mean no more shifts? Goshdarn it, I need to pay for my phone bill, what on Earth am I going to do? I guess I’m just gonna drink a bottle of wine and cook cause that’s what any girl would do when depressed… True as it may be, aren’t we forgetting something here?? What about the 5 G’s that are burning a hole in your purse as of the night before? Oh and speaking of the night before, are you no longer scared for your life? You must not be because when the doorbell rings and a strange voice, oddly resembling the one that called you earlier today on your cell phone, says you have a package to sign, it doesn’t throw you for a loop and you just send them on up? No surprise there I guess, since stupidity seems to be a recurring theme in this movie.
9. The only two funny moments in the movie weren’t meant to be funny at all – It’s one thing when the movie is terrible but is meant to be a terrible movie and it is therefore excellent because it’s terrible, you know? It’s another thing, when the movie is terrible but you can see that it’s desperately trying to not to be. This is it. This is that movie. For the most part, my reaction throughout the film (as if I was watching it for the first time, because I cannot say it enough, I do not remember it sucking this bad), has been that of a ‘WTF’ expression accompanied by an open mouth. Twice however, I couldn’t help but laugh. The first time took place when she was operating on the Barbie creature and the labia fell off at her feet; that made me giggle and cringe simultaneously. The other time was when she called her grandmother just to find out that she died, and the very first thing she did was, go into her phone and delete the contact! Damn girl, that’s cold. Oh well, Grandma’s out of the picture, I guess I don’t need her phone number in my iPhone anymore. I seriously burst out laughing. Talk about a creative way to sneak in product placement.
10. The portrayal of the “Bad-ass” factor is way overdone– So here you have this transformed maniac that happens to be a 90lb girl that everyone is scared of just because she carries a set of knives on her. What’s there to be scared of exactly? Anyone could snap her like a twig. That’s not what they want you to believe though. They want you to believe that she’s a bad-ass so they have to throw in a few scenes for reinforcement. One of those scenes takes place in her apartment which has been renovated into the laboratory where she accepts her clients and does any and all gross things to them that they desire. It goes from tongue splitting to horn implants and penis punctures. So naturally when a kid walks in and says he wants to start the “express yourself” journey with some piercings, she sends him packing, calling him names and telling him to get the fuck out of her place because how dare he assume that she would ever spend her precious time on something as mundane as that. Of course the scene isn’t complete without a body guard grabbing the poor kid, shoving a sack on his head and throwing him down the stairs. That’s how bad-ass she is.
11. Unnecessary and irrelevant “wow” factor – Just in case you didn’t already understand that she’s pretty friggin badass, the directors threw in an extra scene for you, just to make sure that you really get it. It takes place when she scares the shit out of that poor girl after she walks in on the strip club guy getting head from her. It’s all mysterious and chilling, how she’s in the bathroom clattering her metal knives against the conveniently metal sink, and then pretending to slit her throat and going just far enough with the act to terrify her but not actually doing anything except for giving a cold stare into the security camera in the corner of the ceiling. Where the hell did that come from anyway? Why did that even take place?? And then she sees her in the ally and she’s all “Don’t worry. No hard feelings, you were just in the wrong place with a wrong dick in your mouth”. Um okay, how is that in any way shape or form relevant to anything that’s been happening? The whole scene was completely pointless. It’s not like it’s been made clear that her and that guy are even a thing, which is the only way this would make any sort of sense.
12. One of the most intense scenes of the movie is incredibly frustrating – When she pays a visit to Dr. Grant that she’s already conveniently relocated to a more “secure” location (no mention of that happening prior, mind you). The cop that’s been following her goes in after her due to the door that has been left conveniently ajar. Good job, Mary. So he comes up behind her, hits her on the head and just leaves her there making the number one horror movie mistake. You never just leave them there! They always get up! So of course she gets up, and stabs him in the leg. He falls, and she somehow manages to bash his head in with his own baton. Seriously, who is this guy? Who let him in the force? Goes in there without backup, doesn’t call for backup, leaves her laying there after just one punch, lets her stab him in the leg and doesn’t fight back.. Sure, we get it, it hurts, but didn’t you go through some sort of special training to prevent you from being straddled by tiny bitches and hit in the head repeatedly? Come on man.
13. Some more poor dialogue accompanied by some more unexplained events – Not only is the stupid cop incompetent at his job, he also happens to be very heroic with his “It’s gonna be okay, dude” as he tries to free up the mangled body of a guy who’s missing all four limbs, whose mouth is sewn shut, and who’s suspended in the air by fishing hooks digging into the skin of his back. Let’s face it; nothing is ever going to be ‘OK’ for that ‘dude’. The only way that scene could have been worse is if instead, he said ‘ARE YOU OKAY, dude?’ therefore making it the ultimate American classic. I would have laughed. And let’s not forget the fact that after this takes place, no one ever mentions the poor sap again. He just vanishes from the story. No one ever went looking for him or anything.
14. Unbelievably stupid and unrealistic climax – If you can call it climax. Mainly because in order to have a climax, you have to have a plot that clearly leads to said climax. Here, it’s just a random compilation of events that sort of go together, but meh. So seeing as how all the other shit was shoved down our throats and we were supposed to just sit there and take it, it was no surprise when Barbie Doll’s husband, Mr. Angry Ken on steroids comes over to Mary’s house and attacks her from behind. Understandably he’s angry; she has sewn his girlfriend’s vagina shut (even if it was specifically requested by the girlfriend herself). So shoving a knife in her stomach, he leaves a wound about 3 inches wide and who knows how deep; and yet she manages to not only get out from underneath his grip but also attack him back and freaking kill him! The dude is more than twice her size and we’re supposed to believe that she was able to take him down like that? And then on top of it all, she crawls over to her tool box and actually attempts to operate on herself and stitch up the wound? LOL. Whatever.
15. Even the better part of this movie is still appalling – If you take away all the ridiculousness, the terrible acting and the, what seems to be a low budget, you are left with a pretty cool concept. As grotesque and unbelievable as it is, the whole Barbie Doll dilemma about women being objectified because of the possession of nipples and vaginas, whereas dolls aren’t looked at sexually because they don’t have all their parts, is freakishly fascinating. Don’t get me wrong, in my opinion her money would have gotten a better use if it were put towards a few sessions in a mental institution instead of a body modification surgeon, but it’s an interesting concept nonetheless. Same goes for just how far our little Mary has decided to go for her vengeance. Rape is wrong, no doubt. But what she did to that guy is above and beyond insane, and far worse than any punishment known to man. Lumen’s character in Dexter got her revenge, ultimately killing several men, but it was nowhere near the insanity level in comparison to this one.
Come to think of it, I may have just figured out why I was left with positive emotions when I watched the movie the first time around. It may have had something to do with the fact that she dies at the end. If she were to live, I swear I’d have lost my shit. But no, she dies; seems somehow justified. Although, it probably would have been more satisfying if her death involved a brutal chainsaw massacre or something. And given the fact that the cover has her holding a chainsaw, it would have played into it quite nicely as well.