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Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Review: Mary

Director: Michael Goi
Screenplay: Anthony Jaswinski
Year: 2019

Being left stranded in the middle of the ocean is a horrific scenario. Be at the mercy of the sea and the sun without having a place where to escape has been the topic of many movies, proving its terrifying potential. If on top of that you add being lost in the middle of the sea in a haunted ship with your family, this is the perfect scenario for a frightening horror movie. Does “Mary” know how to make the most out of this premise?

In “Mary”, David has the opportunity to buy an old ship for which he falls in love once he set eyes on it. With the intention of starting a family business, David acquires the boat and to celebrate he takes his family on a trip in it. Nobody could have predicted that this hip was haunted and that it will be willing to attack them in the middle of the ocean.

To answer the previous question, both the director Michael Goi (“Megan is Missing”) as well as the screenwriter Anthony Jaswinski (“The Shallows”), did not make the most out of its premise. Before thinking that I will bash on their work, I want to say that “Mary” is a good family drama movie, only that it fails resoundingly as a horror movie, that is how it presents itself. Both present well the topics of desolation, paranoia, and uncertainty in their story, but this is not well-tempered to a horror movie, something surprising for two moviemakers that have been previously involved in this genre. 

One of the main problems of the movie is its slow rhythm. It takes too long to develop the story and characters, though this it does very well, and the first two acts are only paving the way for a third act that, even with its intensity, doesn't live up at the height of the created expectations. Also, every plot twist and revelation lose strength by compromising its surprise factor with an easily predictable script.

Something positive that comes out from the slow-burn rhythm is the character development, in which we can enjoy the acting, which is its best asset. In the cast the name of Gary Oldman stands out, an actor whose interpretative quality has been captured in films like “Bram Stoker’s Dracula”, several entries of the “Harry Potter” franchise and “The Dark Knight”, who is joined by Emily Mortimer (“Mary Poppins Returns”) and Manuel García-Rulfo (“Murder on the Orient Express”). Along with the beautiful cinematography, the excellent interpretations are the highlight of this movie.

“Mary” is not a bad movie in general, but as a horror movie, it leaves much to be desired. The whole family drama is interesting and is well crafter, but when it tries to transition to horror elements, it always falls short. The idea of being isolated on a haunted ship and the signs of paranoia are terrifying, but the execution of this idea is not. In the end, I can only classify “Mary” as a family drama movie with some suspense, with good acting, cinematography, and little more.

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