As in the narrative, Mary's power is emphasized nicely using visuals. My favorite comes early in the movie, when Mary is broke and desperate for money. She responds to a pseudo-Craig's List ad promising $1000 for private dances and sensual massages at a gentlemen's club. Normally in a film, we'd expect her interview with the sleazy club owner to be entirely controlled by the sleazy club owner. The desperate applicant would provide only token resistance before taking off her clothes and begging for a job. In Mary, the sleazy club owner's view of Mary is presented like this:
This shot has Mary completely towering over the owner, her eyes narrowed in a dismissive, semi-hateful gaze. Though the owner is coaxing her through an audition, Mary is clearly in control.
If I have any complaints, they are minor and reflect more on my own psychology than anything else. For a movie about the body mod community, it is surprisingly tame. The gore effects are fairly minimal and all of the worst things that happen are implied instead of shown. I think the movie could have pushed things a lot further, which would've really emphasized the horror of the work Mary does and why people are afraid of her. I dunno. I'm probably just desensitized by both horror movies and the Internet.
I enjoyed the movie a lot. It has a lot going on in it to chew on, Katharine Isabelle's performance is excellent, and it is beautiful to behold. I can't wait to see what the Soska twins do next.
Watched: blu-ray from XLrater.
No One Lives (2012) directed by Ryuhei Kitamura
I'll give it to them: they try really, really hard to make the villain cool. The nameless man -- called Driver in the credits -- played by Luke Evans is pretty much Arnold Schwarzenegger from Commando as a slasher killer. Not only will the guy not stop stalking his prey -- killing them using Jason-like tools such as scythes and tree grinders -- he also has an extensive collection of high-tech weaponry that he uses to set up elaborate traps. He is Super Slasher, an unkillable ninja-Leatherface. It gets ridiculous.
Ridiculousness is fine -- I like Troma -- but that's not the tone the film is going for. There's an attempt to grab some Devil's Rejects-style ambiguity, with Driver mostly stalking a family of thieves and murderers. However, at the same time, he's Stockholm-syndroming a young girl. It's not lighthearted stuff, which makes the super-killer act Driver is pulling feel even more out of place.
Also: longest. horror movie shower scene. ever.
Watched: DVD from Anchor Bay.