Sunday, October 19, 2014

Horrorthon Review #19 - American Mary (2012)

I'm kind of an old-school horror lover.  Hammer films from the 60's, bad B-Horror from the 80's, even sci-fi horror from the 50's, it's all good.  I prefer atmosphere, suspense and mental scares over the graphic.  Oh, I'm not against a little blood and gore here and there, I mean, my favorite horror movie series is probably Friday the 13th, but my point is, it shouldn't be the focus of the tale.  Blood and gore should only be there to illustrate the story, and I'm all for a little overindulgence in these matters.  If a guy's head is chopped off, there should be lots of blood.  If a werewolf disebowels a guy, well, there should be bowels hanging out.  I mean, that's what disemboweling means.  But if there's no good reason to overdo it, then don't.  Which basically means I haven't ever seen movies like Hostel and the Saw sequels, frankly because there wasn't really a monster of any kind.

Sure, people make that argument that humans are the only real monsters, and that's true.  You are much, much more likely to run into a serial killer, random rapist, or an extremely rude guy at the checkout line at Walmart than a vampire, werewolf or mummy, but seriously, why would you want to?  Nobody wants to run into a real killer or rapist, or even an extremely rude guy.  They generally don't play well with others.  Fake monsters on the other hand, are completely safe.  Which is why I like them.  They're on the screen, where I can view them safely.  Kind of like seeing polar bears at the zoo.  Very few of us want to see them in the wild.  Sure, it's nice to see them in their natural environment, but let's be honest, when they're in a movie, they're always IN their natural environment.  Creepy castles, abandoned lakes, forgotten pyramids, or Elm street, the monsters are generally never hanging out at the Starbucks on the street corner.  You follow so far?  Maybe things will be easier to explain after I set up the movie.

American Mary (2012) is a story about a medical student who has completed her schooling and begun her residency.  At least, I think that's what it's called.  She basically has a good idea of what she's doing, but she doesn't have the experience yet, in other words.  Mary has been having trouble paying her way through medical school, and by this point, Mary is in a rather precarious financial position.  Also, Mary has this rather overbearing professor who she obviously has a thing for, and she's invited to a party at his place!  Things are beginning to look up for Mary!  But then, this is a horror movie, isn't it?

Katherine Isabelle plays Mary, and she's really the only actress I recognize.  I'm going to be blunt, I didn't like this movie.  There were no monsters, and besides Katherine pretty much nailing down the scary mad-doctor role (good acting skills, at least), there's not a lot of real horror in this movie.  The majority of this movie is pretty much about Mary's career as an illegal doctor in the world of body alterations.  And, all of her clients are actually pleased with her modifications, so it's not even like The Dentist, where Corbin Bernsen just randomly destroys your teeth and might kill you if you resist. It took me ten years to go back to a dentist after seeing that movie.  Still scared of them.  I like my teeth.  :-/

Err, anyway, American Mary is really a very short story about revenge and random domestic violence.  The only horror really comes in the form of the freakishly horrific body alterations the extras decide to subject themselves to, and Mary's little side project (I'm being as circumspect as I can be, here, so I don't give away the plot) really only takes up maybe 5 or 10 minutes of screen time, and they never show anything.  Essentially, what you watch is an hour and a half of Mary doing surgery.  Hey, if that's horror for you, by all means, go for it.  While I found it generally repulsive, I wasn't particularly scared, since almost all the surgery in the movie was voluntary.  So how is this horror?  There's not even really any good nudity.

Well, Netflix lists this under the horror section, which I don't get, but Katherine Isabelle is usually a horror actress (she starred in the Ginger Snaps series of werewolf movies), so I guess maybe they didn't know where else to put this one.  I'd toss this into the same category as the Saw movies, the Hostel flicks, and anything that basically involves a lot of torture porn, which is what this movie is.  I don't like torture porn, and I've never seen Hostel or anything besides the first Saw movie.  I guess torture porn doesn't have its own category, so they toss it into the horror file?  Bleh.  Definitely wouldn't watch this movie again.  No offense, Katherine.  Don't cut me.  heh

That's all for tonight.  Going to find something else horror-y to get the taste of torture porn out of my mouth.  Catch you guys tomorrow night.

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