The Soska sisters first foray into the theatrical arena came with 2009's "Dead Hooker in a Trunk", which for lack of a better description....stunk worse than a dead hooker in a trunk (not that I'd know what that smells like, but you get the idea) - so when I saw their names attached to "American Mary", you could imagine the trepidation that I felt before shelling out the 10 bucks to grab this one.
The movie itself stars Katherine Isabelle (Ginger Snaps, Freddy vs. Jason) as Mary Mason, a determined yet flighty medical student, who can't seem to take her eyes off of her cell phone long enough to concentrate in anatomy class, although she possesses an odd quality of retaining details when it comes to being questioned about certain surgical procedures. She is constantly pushed to her limits by a professor that apparently cannot utter more than a few words without dropping the f-bomb multiple times - now don't get me wrong, I am quite the aficionado of the f-bomb (I use it quite a bit daily), however I don't feel it's necessary to assault the viewer with multiple instances (a la some kind of Scorsese film).
Mary's bills are mounting (cell phone bill most assuredly), and she feels as if she will never be able to climb out from the mountain of debt that has began to suffocate her. In order to relieve some of her monetary torment, she applies at the local divebar/strip club and is immediately requisitioned by the club owner to employ her surgical skills to save a man that has been injured, to which she is paid $5000.00 in cash, no questions asked. So say goodbye to fledgling stripper career, and say hello to her newest profession, black market-back-alley surgeon for hire. Mary is introduced to a Rogue's Gallery of characters that personally request her to provide body-modification services for under-the-table payment...how can she resist ?
One of the characters in question is Beatress (played to the UTMOST creepiness by Tristan Risk), who has had multiple plastic surgeries to resemble her idol, Betty Boop...yeah, disturbing would be a gross understatement to describe this personage. Money comes in small multitudes, and Mary is oddly at ease with her new vocation...or is she ? After suffering a personal trauma, her only defense is to now delve herself even deeper into her work, which could have its drawbacks.
Overall, the movie plays off like a somewhat pseudo-slasher film, but never truly attains what is promised with the description of the movie itself. You would think that a movie regarding a failed surgeon becoming a body-mod doc for hire would rate high on the gore-meter, but this fails miserably - sure, there are some bloody moments, but if you are looking for true viscera, you're going to be let down. Katharine Isabelle is a beautiful woman, no doubt, but imagining her as a brainy med student is like placing Lindsay Lohan as a counselor in a drug-rehab treatment facility.....it just doesn't fit. Her high-schoolish dippyness outweighs a figure that should be oozing egotistic confidence at every turn, not the type that checks her cell phone every 5 minutes like an ADD-afflicted teenager.
"American Mary" is a nice departure from the horrendous "Dead Hooker" film, and The Soska Sisters definitely put some time in with the creation of a very interesting storyline, I just wish the main character would have been a little more believeable in the role that surely deserves the spotlight, but somehow manages to plant her sky-high stillettoed self directly outside of it.