Honestly when it boils down to it I am very torn on this movie. On the one hand I appreciate what it’s trying to do. It is a horror movie, but it doesn’t have a defined killer. Mary is a medical student who is violently assaulted by a professor. In response she drops out of school and begins to specialize in extreme body modification. Mary is presented as a bit of a monster in the movie. She is clearly twisted by what happened to her, and participates in torture and murder on the side of her “day job”. On the other hand she is very compassionate to the people that come to her, and the trauma that drove her to this is nothing to scoff at. Mary is the protagonist of the story, but she is also both the hero and villain. It’s actually very compelling to see this character fill all of these different roles. While the movie is not the greatest I have ever seen, I give it a lot of credit for what it attempts to do with the idea of heroes and villains in horror. Mary is a bit of everything, the final girl, the sexy girl, the crazed killer, the misunderstood monster. She takes on so many roles, and it’s great.
What I dislike is how the movie interacts with the idea of body modification. It seems to all at once honor the body modification community, yet clearly wants people to be horrified by it. Most of the people that Mary works on are extreme outsiders, and the few that aren’t outsiders she rejects. Yet at the same time it attempts to make you compassionate for them. It basically feels very confused. You are supposed to be disgusted by what these people are asking Mary to do, but then not be? It comes off rather insulting at times, and more than a little disconcerting.
So bottomline? I like what the movie was trying to do with the character of Mary, but I am not a huge fan of the movie itself. Take the same principals that were used when developing Mary’s character, but then take out the body modification aspect and I think you’d have a great movie. As is, American Mary is ok, but it’s not winning any prizes from me. It’s worth a watch for horror fans, and I will always give it credit for Mary herself.