Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Review: Mary Horror (2011)

Mary Horror (2011)

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(Originally posted here)

Mary Horror... oh God, this movie is hilarious for all the wrong reasons. It's stunning how much ineptitude was crammed into just 93 minutes. The Kristen Stewart-looking girl playing the title character is cute, but her acting makes me take back every bad thing I have ever said about Ms. Stewart. Instead of underacting, though, she ridiculously overacts in every scene she's in. The scene where she's driving home crying after breaking up with her boyfriend while some cheesy pop-punk song is playing on the radio had me cracking up no matter how hard I tried. The rest of the cast aren't much better, particularly the guy playing the true crime novelist writing about the killing. I read that most of the film was cast through an ad placed in Craigslist, and it's clear that most of these guys had little to no experience acting. The directing does little to make up for it. Despite being an hour and a half long, the padding on this film is ridiculous, especially the scenes with the newscaster that serve mainly to describe events that just happened. Some films manage to overcome their meager budgets, but this one, if anything, looks even cheaper than the $5,000 that it took to film it. Oren Peli made Paranormal Activity on only $15,000 -- you guys have no excuse.

But even if the filmmakers had some money and talent behind them, it wouldn't be enough to save the film from its real killer: the plot. After seeing her family get murdered, the girl gets locked away in a mental hospital for two years. Why? Ostensibly, it's to protect her from the killer, but we find out about halfway into the film that she was the killer all along. Great, but just one issue: why the hell did they wait two years to tell her this? She even asks that question once they tell her, but it's never answered. If they were trying to fix her, then surely they'd at least try to get her to come to terms with what really happened. Then she kills herself and, thanks to witchcraft (oh, almost forgot: she grew up in Salem, Massachusetts before moving to New Jersey, and she has a spell book passed down from her grandmother), comes back as a zombie to get back at everybody who wronged her. When this happened, I hoped that the film would finally start getting good, but it doesn't even work as a cheesy slasher flick. The kills all occur through quick cuts, the effects that we do see look like off-the-shelf stuff you can find at Party City around Halloween, and the girl who plays Mary does a slasher villain about as well as she does a teenage girl. One of the kills in particular is utterly laughable for the sheer stupidity exhibited by so many people, and must be described in a separate paragraph so as to capture the majesty of its awfulness.

Alright? Here goes. The asshole jock and the bitchy cheerleader are at the movies watching a marathon of old horror flicks as part of the town's kitschy "Mary Horror Night" commemorating the anniversary of Mary going postal on her family. (I did appreciate the scene giving exposition on what Mary Horror Night was, given that it was an intentionally funny moment in a film full of pure narm.) When the cheerleader drops her cell phone, the jock leans down to pick it up... and we see that Mary is sitting right behind him. She leans over and blows a kiss in his ear, he turns around and freaks out, and suddenly the whole theater is freaking out. Okay, one question: did nobody notice Mary as she was entering the theater? If not, then they probably thought that she was some random girl in costume for Mary Horror Night. Okay, question two: if they thought she was a girl in costume, why are they suddenly freaking out at the sight of her before she even kills anyone? Either nobody in the theater noticed a cleaver-wielding zombie chick entering the theater, or they thought she was a girl in costume right up until the point that one person thinks she's the real deal, causing all of them to freak out.

But that's chump change compared to the real kicker.

SPOILER WARNING: I am going to spoil the film's big twist in this next paragraph, though if you've been reading this far, you probably won't be watching this film anyway.

Y'see, there was a conspiracy behind all the events of the film, and believe it or not, it's not a cult. No, that would merely be unoriginal. Mary Horror has to be balls-out stupid with its big twist. The entire film is driven by the disappearance of Mary's friend Kelly, which caused her to go insane and kill her family. Turns out that Kelly was part of a plot orchestrated by the town mayor, the sheriff, and a local businessman in order to give the town a marketable urban legend on par with that of Salem, Massachusetts, turning the town into a tourist trap and boosting local business. Kelly was the real killer of Mary's family, promptly going into hiding afterwards. I am dead serious. That was the big twist. Orchestrating murders in order to bring in tourists. In case your brain could not comprehend the stupidity, let me repeat that: the mayor, the sheriff, and a local businessman orchestrated a brutal multiple homicide IN ORDER TO GET TOURISTS TO COME TO THEIR TOWN.

That... how does that... what is this, I don't even...

Score: 1 out of 5 (on a normal scale), 5 out of 5 (on an unintentional comedy scale)

Yeah. This here, this is a fucking masterpiece of awful horror movies. This is one of those movies that is impossible to enjoy as a serious horror film, but as an unintentional comedy, viewed with friends and a six-pack of beers, this is up there with anything featured on MST3K. It is so poorly put together that you have to wonder what the filmmakers were thinking. For all I know, they could be just trolling us and having the last laugh.

(Side note: This film is set in, and was shot in, the town of Bernardsville, New Jersey, located just twenty minutes from my old hometown of Parsippany. Seeing the shots of New Jersey in autumn made me nostalgic for home, given that it's currently mid-November and it's still in the 70s. Northerners, as bad as Sandy was, and as annoying as winter storms can be, having summer be three seasons long slowly wears on you. Oh, and Sandy-type storms happen every couple of years down here -- our neighbors on Florida's west coast just had to put up with Debby.)

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