Reviewed by: Andre Manseau
What's it about
A bunch of old friends reunite for a retreat in a secluded cabin in the woods. During a spell of boredom, they decide to call upon "Dead Mary" (think Bloody Mary, but "way worse", according to the movie), and bad stuff starts to go down.
Is it good movie?
Upon sliding this bad boy into my DVD player, I figured I’d be in for a lame slasher-type flick where stupid, underwritten, oversexed characters are hacked to pieces by the monster they conjure out of the darkness. You would think this because the cover art features a snarling, evil witch-type character staring at the gorgeous Dominique Swain.
Instead, what I got was quite different. Dead Mary really isn't a silly slasher movie at all. Instead, it tries very hard to be a more serious, melodramatic film about the dissention of relationships- physical and mental death. You never see that scary monster-type from the cover art at all, not once. See, Dead Mary never physically manifests herself, but rather does some body jumping. This leads to a "who is the one possessed" film, a-la-Scream, but completely localized within a cabin. People start dropping off, and the friends become increasingly paranoid, taking extreme measures to find out exactly who is friend and who is foe within their situation.
I admire this movie for swerving the audience from typical expectations. No offense, but when one sees Dominique Swain on the cover of the DVD, one doesn't exactly expect Shakespeare. I will admit that I was pleasantly surprised in that this movie steered me down a completely different path, and the best thing about it was really the acting. Each of our campers is played very well, and I don't usually mention this, but the women in this movie are absolutely drop-dead (lol!) gorgeous. The relationships between the characters are built very well, and although some of their actions are a little questionable, they're much better written than many characters I’ve seen in past films.
The main crime this film commits is that besides its slow pace and melodramatic content, the 'scary' stuff makes no sense whatsoever, and the characters really react to what’s going on in the worst ways possible, killing the wrong people, and/or killing someone who has pretty much guaranteed that if you kill them thing would get worse- and they do. The Dead Mary character also babbles a lot about things that never come to be, talking about 'legions of ghosts' and the like, things that don't make a lot of sense. The character does manage to stir up a lot of trouble, but that's really about it, there's not a lot of fearsome stuff going on.
In the end, Dead Mary is a really tame and relatively unscary horror flick that is smart and different, but doesn't really bring any true scares to the table, and in the end, that's what it is all about, isn't it?
Video / Audio
Video: We get a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer that is just fine. Nothing to write home about, but fine.
Audio: The only mix is a 5.1 surround, and this department suffers for the most part, the mix is muddled often, only the sound effects really sounded proper.
The only meat we get is the Making of featurette, running almost a half an hour long, this is about as standard as it comes. You get the best moments from the film, a few bloody effects moments, and the cast
saying how great it was to be a part of this film.
Other than that, a music video of the song “We are Here” by Evolved Monkey, which is fine.
Trailers too, for UKM: The Ultimate Killing Machine, Living Death, and Troubled Waters.
Really, Dead Mary tries to go against typecasting, but doesn't succeed. I'd call it a horror flick for the O.C-emo generation, because there's a LOT of bitching about relationships going on here. It's certainly watchable, but nothing to write home about.