15. American Mary
Director: Jen and Sylvia Soska
Stars: Katharine Isabelle, Tristan Risk, Antonio Cupo, John Emmet Tracy, David Lodgren, Twan Holliday, Paula Lindberg
At around the 40-minute point in American Mary, one thing becomes official: Jen and Sylvia Soska have officially arrived as formidable filmmakers.
Debuting last year with the cheaply made but vibrantly enjoyable exploitation flick Dead Hooker in a Trunk, the Canadian sisters, known as the Twisted Twins, showed tons of potential, and the first half of their equally depraved follow-up displays an immense growth as both storytellers and directors. With sexy, in control star Katharine Isabelle holding things down, American Mary opens up as its eponymous character deals with medical school stress, financial troubles, and her introduction into the underground world of body modification.
Up until Mary gets bloody revenge on a professor who violated her, the Soskas' sophomore effort develops its narrative with prowess; throughout American Mary's second half, though, the story loses focus as the sibling directors opt for unconnected sequences of carnage, black comedy, and graphic sexuality. Which, mind you, all entertain greatly, but it's a shame that American Mary turns into a delightful hodgepodge when it could've been a revelatory achievement.
Still, there's a lot to be said about a couple of young female directors who, after only two movies, have nailed their own unique style and aren't afraid to get down and dirty. Get familiar with the names Jen and Sylvia Soska, people—they're here to stay. A good thing, indeed.