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Dead Mary
cast: Dominique Swain, Maggie Castle, Steven McCarthy, Regan Pasternak, and Marie-Josee Colburn

director: Robert Wilson

99 minutes (15) 2007
widescreen ratio 16:9
Momentum DVD Region 2 retail

RATING: 3/10
reviewed by James A. Stewart
At the end of the 19th century, the head of the U.S. patents office said: "there is nothing left to invent that hasn't already been invented." After watching Dead Mary it is the clear that the writers of this spooky little number have interpreted that statement very literally when it comes to their horror plots.

Sheesh! Here is a quick plot summary: isolated log cabin, long standing friends meeting up, fractious relationships left, right and centre, boring time being had by all, idiotic suggestion to call up the ghost of 'Bloody Mary', idiotic call agreed to before death from the ennui gets them anyway, call to Bloody Mary made using the patented Candyman name-said-into-a-mirror-three-times method; and then the clichés get worse.

The worst thing about the lack of inventiveness is that there is clearly potential in some of those involved. Director Robert Wilson does a very efficient job in the filming and in many ways his touch serves to polish this turd. He drags the film from mediocrity to something resembling art. Unfortunately the lazy and quite frankly brutal stereotyping in this offering leaves the viewer wanting. There is no fear factor in it, really. This is a point highlighted in its 15 rating.

Of the cast, Dominique Swain (Lolita, Toxic) as Kim, gives an accomplished performance, aided by Wilson's direction. The rest merely ooze the deficiencies in the script, which perhaps is no surprise as this was apparently toned down to attract the teen market. There are clearly parallels between the aforementioned Candyman and Dead Mary as well big shouts to The Evil Dead and The Thing. Dead Mary is frighteningly similar to a co-joined plot of these three classic horrors so that you could almost be forgiven for believing they were related.

Therein lies Dead Mary's biggest issue, it is not original one jot, and moreover, it doesn't actually do well with the bits purloined from other movies. It plods along for the first 40 minutes with nothing happening, and then builds up to walking pace and never really breaks out from that, not even into a mild trot. It is a technically well-shot movie, but with a dull cast, plot-less plot and it stretches the term 'horror' to its limits.

I'd like to see Wilson with a better script and Swain in a bigger role; other that this Dead Mary was a dead loss.

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