AMERICAN MARY (2012) Reviews and overview

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American Mary is a 2012 Canadian horror film written and directed by The Soska Sisters (RabidSee No Evil 2). The film was produced and distributed by Canadian production and distribution company IndustryWorks Pictures. It stars Katharine Isabelle (Torment).


Struggling to make financial ends meet while studying to be a surgeon, talented medical student Mary Mason (Katharine Isabelle) finds herself reduced to applying for work at a local strip joint in order to pay off her mounting debts.

During her interview, she is unexpectedly called upon to perform some illegal emergency surgery on one of the club’s clients and is instantly rewarded with a significant cash payment.


Word of Mary’s scalpel-work soon reaches one of the club’s dancers, Beatress Johnson (Tristan Risk), who approaches her offering to pay handsomely for some off-the-books, extreme body-modification work on a friend. The ensuing surgery is a huge success and Mary’s skills soon attract the attention of an underground network of high-paying clientele, all looking for someone to administer procedures and body-mod work unavailable through the usual legal channels.


However, the allure of the easy money and the increasingly bizarre work she is commissioned to perform begins to leave a mark on Mary, and when a sexual assault involving the established surgeons she once idolised leaves her traumatised, “Bloody Mary”, as she has come to be known, responds in the only way she knows how…



“Underneath all of American Mary‘s surgical surrealism and Gothic horror lies an interesting – albeit light – commentary on identity and a witty inversion of sex and fetishism. Importantly, the directing Soska sisters have successfully avoid simply mocking this subculture, whilst maintaining an entertaining, deliciously macabre tone – put simply, good, gory fun.” Cine Vue

“Slickly shot with a very funny script, and featuring oddball characters that would look right at home in a John Waters film (Tristan Risk’s Beatress is a scream), American Mary is a love letter to Asian and European horror cinema (think Audition meets Eyes Without a Face with a touch of She Freak‘s sideshow circus), and Isabelle’s Mary is a femme fatale who deserves a place in the horror hall of fame.” Peter Fuller, Kultguy’s Keep

“We see Mary planning surgery then repeatedly jump to the end result with barely nothing in between. It’s a noticeable gap in an otherwise dark and violent movie, and their absence removes what could have been additional visceral thrills. It’s possible the decision was a budgetary one, but that doesn’t make it hurt any less.” Film School Rejects


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“Darkly comedic and completely twisted American Mary is one damn good reason for women in the media to be more prevalent in the horror genre; there’s no fluff in this film, no cliche crap and very little predictability. It has no eye-roll moments of exploitation and Isabelle‘s performance is empowering for women as well as easy on the eye for the men…” Natasha Harmer, Films and Things

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