First Glimpse: American Mary

Directed by Jen and Sylvia Soska

Release date: 11 January 2013 (UK); TBD (USA)

OMG, did you know American Mary was directed by some girls?!

Unfortunately, the reality that some films being released in 2013 happened to be directed by women is a salient fact. It’s unfortunate in the sense that when we’re talking about a film (especially horror) we have to take special note that the person behind the camera was in possession of two X chromosomes. Why are we still talking about this? Women have been directing film since the last century, and there has been discourse about it for just as long, so… why are we still taking that “Oh, good for her” stance when a feminine name rolls by in the credits? Probably because even am I am hard-pressed to come up with a female horror director on the spot (I’m ashamed I resorted to looking it up: Mary Harron directed American Psycho, but she’s not exactly a household name.) Last I heard females had eyes, and hands, and mouths, and the intellectual ability to transfer ideas onto a film medium. Maybe instead of talking about why women are making films, we should be talking about why Uwe Boll and Michael Bay are still allowed to make films.

Now that’s out of the way, let’s talk about how good American Mary looks. Ginger Snaps’ Katharine Isabelle is heroine Mary, a young woman hounded by her student loan officer and somewhat adrift in the sea of testosterone that is med school. Failing to make ends meet, she toys with the idea of stripping, but stumbles into the world of back-alley surgery – a moral grey area that makes use of her skills and arouses her interest. The Soskas have done more than reboot Audition, The Last House on the Left, or I Spit on Your Grave. They’ve injected their own struggles of maintaining relevancy in a masculine business while presenting a truly original and emotionally profound heroine. American Mary intertwines the old sexploitative rape-revenge scenario with their take on female dominance in male-driven fields, sexuality as a weapon, and body modification – and the imagery, scoring, and cinematography looks pretty slick, too. Try to catch this one at a festival or when it’s released in the US.


By Kiki McGraw

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