I gave it a really big chance.
American Mary is not terrible. The production values are definitely adequate, and the beginning of the movie had a decent tone, with a mixture of cartoony humour and gross cinematography. The plot is original and interesting as well; Mary, a medical student, excels at her studies but is constantly in debt. After a horrific incident, she becomes disillusioned with her profession and hones her skills in the underground body modification scene. As she gets deeper into her role as a body mod surgeon, she begins to fall deeper into the darkness of her psyche. Catherine Isabelle as Mary is a phenomenon on screen among a sea of mediocrity. There is a fantastic character who has moulded herself to appear like Betty Boop, who does bring some sick surreality to a number of scenes, which was really great. And regardless of some other decent, horrific imagery – some scary plastic surgery is on show – there are some aspects that I cannot forgive.
I honestly don’t think I have the vocabulary to properly describe how utterly terrible the script is in American Mary. The dialogue was the worst aspect of this movie; it felt like this was the first or second draft and not good enough for a final draft. The first rule of scriptwriting is to establish the genre and tone of your movie and to place your protagonist within this setting. American Mary could be two different films by the end. Almost all the men in this movie are one dimensional, sex-mad misogynists, and there is no satisfying character arc on view here. Mary goes from a light-hearted, funny student to the opposite without any progression, and it’s a huge jump to make, regardless of what happens to her.
A few other nitpicks would be the first scene where she is suturing a turkey is incorrect; a pig cadaver would have skin more like a human’s. Also, if I have to sit through a film with the iPhone marimba ring tone going off every 5 minutes, I will punch someone. The ending of American Mary is hugely unsatisfying and doesn’t resolve any of the (terrible) character development, and confuses the plot a bit more. Finally, directors, if you can’t act, don’t felate yourself with a role, let alone a speaking role, in your movies. It was extremely hard to watch.
American Mary, while having positives – one of them being it’s not a generic slasher movie – has a few negatives that were unforgivable. If you are a horror fan definitely check it out because it’s an original plot, but don’t blame me if you cringe for 90 minutes at the dog shit dialogue.