Wednesday, June 12, 2013

American Mary (Soska Sisters, 2012)

(Note: This review originally appeared on Truly Disturbing. I haven't had time to go through the normal formatting.)

AMERICAN MARY is an unexpected experience. With it, the Soska sisters are continuing a new generation of film makers attempts to merge the art house and the grind house. Steeped in the visual aesthetic of film noir and the tropes of the long, lurid and wonderful history of grindhouse cinema, AMERICAN MARY’s mind and soul belong to the art house. With Katherine Isabelle as their sharpened scalpel, they go about dissecting the experiences of a talented young woman in a world dominated by men. Don’t be worried though, it’s not a broad, obvious feminist screed. One of the most impressive things about the film is that it uses story, character, atmosphere and imagery in order to avoid turning into a heavy handed approach to these thematic elements. Also, to their credit, the Soska sisters give their main character a degree of complexity that’s often absent from even the best horror films that are inspired from the history of grindhouse. It may or may not have been intentional, but AMERICAN MARY would be perfect when paired with AMERICAN PSYCHO on a double bill.