American Mary (2012)

This is an odd movie. I think I mean that in a good way, but I'm not sure. It puts me in mind of the K-11 movie I saw and very much didn't like in the way it deals with an outlying subculture. The subculture this time is extreme body modification. Some are more extreme than others, but this is the subculture we're dealing with for now. I'm not sure how entrenched in the subculture the writers/directors, Jen and Sylvia Soska, are, but I would be interested to see a picture of them. Notably, I'm not interested enough to do a simple Google search.

Mary, a medical student just a bit away from medical residency, gets embroiled in a criminal enterprise doing general doctoring for them. From there, she starts getting requests from people wanting more significant elective surgeries. Notably, there is a woman who is trying desperately to look like Betty Boop and her friend who wants to look like a mannequin (no, oddly not like a young Kim Cattrall).

So, we follow this medical student as she cuts off body parts and modifies people in ways that are unique and terrifying. She becomes an icon for the seedy underworld of body modification to the point that "famous" body modifying people come to her to get newer, stranger stuff done. At one point, two sisters come to get one arm swapped between them. And Mary says it wouldn't be any problem. After all, she's a MEDICAL STUDENT. No rotations done, no residency, no real-world experience whatsoever. When we first meet her, she is practicing sewing chicken skin on broiling chickens.

I don't actually get why they called this movie "American" Mary. It's like they weren't sure what to do, so they just tacked a word onto the front of "Mary." This is especially troubling because it was produced in Canada and initially released in the UK. So, I guess it is an outsider's interpretation as to what Americans are like and what they want.

Mary, through the course of the movie, goes from relatively hot student with distracting bangs to true psychopath, deciding who she is going to modify based on how much she wants to inflict pain. One particular guy gets on Mary's very bad side and subsequently is more modified than pretty much anyone would do simply for aesthetic reasons.

The cinematography isn't anything special.
The story is at least different, but it's not believable.
The dialogue is uninspiring.
The effects are pretty good.
The acting is pretty bad.

1.5/5

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