Director(s): Jen Soska, Sylvia Soska
Writer: Jen Soska, Sylvia Soska
Starring: Katherine Isabelle, Antonio Cupo, Tristan Risk
How I Watched It: Itunes Rental
Review By: Griff
It’s not very often that I am looking through the latest issue of Film Comment and they recommend a horror film. So when they do, I usually take notice. This time it took me into the strange world of the Soska sisters, who directed the camp film Dead Hooker in a Trunk. This was my first trip into their twisted world and it was wild ride.
The movie centers around Mary (Katherine Isabelle), a medical student who wants desperately to be a surgeon. So much so that she spend her spare time making incisions in raw turkeys and sewing up the wounds.
Unfortunately Mary has a few things standing in her way. First she is dealing with an overbearing asshole of a professor who likes to spend his time belittling Mary during class. Then she has a small problem with her cash flow. Bills are piling up and she doesn’t have enough money to pay them. At one point she has to beg her cell phone provider not to shut off her phone. Desperate for cash, Mary takes a look at job postings on Craigslist and sees an ad for an exotic dancer that pays $1000.00 for a nights work.
Mary goes to the club to inquire about the job with her resume in hand. When she gets there, the owner looks over her resume and see that she is in med school. He offers Mary $5000 to help him with a little problem no questions asked. Mary reluctantly agrees and is led down to a basement to discover a man that has been terribly beaten. Mary sews up his wounds and helps him as much as she can then she hightails it out of the club.
Mary is looking to put the whole experience behind her and get back to school and her normal life but then she gets a visit from Beatress (Tristan Risk), a woman who has dedicated herself to extreme body modification. She has multiple surgeries all designed to make her look as much as possible like Betty Boop. Beatress tells Mary that she has a friend who is looking to have a little “skin” removed. Apparently this type of surgery is frowned upon by the medical community so people are willing to pay top dollar to someone who is willing perform them. The lure of easy money is too much for Mary to resists and she agrees to help out Beatress. This leads Mary down a dark path into the strange world of body modification. Mary starts making a considerable amount of money but her life begins to slowly spiral out of control.
For the most part I was impressed with this film. Katherine Isabelle was great in the lead role and it was one of the most impressive horror movie with a female lead I have seen since Angela Bettis in Lucky McKees May (2002). Tristan Risk steals the show here though as Beatress. A character you will definitely not forget. It’s been a long time since I could say I saw a horror movie that wasn’t mostly derivative and this was a refreshingly original entry to the genre. I do have some gripes however. The plot is a bit shaky and requires a little suspension of disbelief at times. Also, some of the editing is questionable at times and makes the movie a bit uneven and confusing especially towards the end where events seem to play out very quickly. Overall I was impressed with Soska sisters work given the small budget they had to work with. It’s not perfect and I am sure you could easily spend your time picking the movie to pieces but if you are a fan of the genre you should find it entertaining. American Mary gets 2 out of 3 guys from me.