Mary was an out of left field surprise of a film starring Gary Oldman and Emily Mortimer, Directed by Michael Goi and brought to us on DVD and Blu-ray courtesy of RLJE Films. The surprise being how in God’s name they got Oldman and Mortimer to star together in a horror film that I hadn’t heard of until the release announcement. Either I am getting rusty in keeping up in my horror trailers, or this was not exactly marketed all that well. But regardless, it is now out on physical and digital formats and I’ll be telling you my thoughts on the DVD release.
Mary is a welcome entry into a criminally underrepresented subgenre of horror – that of horror on the open sea. Sure, we get shark movies once or twice a year, but there’s just something creepy and isolating about being in a boat. In this entry, David (Oldman) picks up a wreck of a ship on auction in an attempt to bring his fractured marriage back into a semblance of repair. The old ‘take on a project, and repair both the ship and this family’ move.
But, of course, this was the wrong ship to pick up. Turns out there is some history to this vessel that threatens everything that David hopes to save.
So I’ll be honest. I love Gary Oldman, and I adore Emily Mortimer. So going into this film had my hopes up quite high, despite the lack of large scale theatrical release and having not heard of the film. And I won’t pretend that my expectations were exceeded here. This movie was… ok. And the issue I have with it might be one of scale. Simply put, I had a hard time with the size of the ship compared to the number of people on it and the experiences that they were having. I know this is petty but it took me out of the film a few times, and made this movie feel very formulaic, like they took a generic horror film, crammed it in a boat, and called it good. Which means that they left a lot of opportunity on the table.
Here’s my main point with this: there are as many as six people on a small boat in the middle of the ocean. Yet somehow, until they end of the film, no more than one character is ever affected at the same time. It just felt so forced that characters were all impossible far apart from each other and unable to see, hear, or help. Again, petty, but this pick them off one at a time strategy felt wrong to me. Thankfully, once the characters get an understanding of what is going on this problem corrects itself. But still. I was hoping for some new and interesting nautical scares, but instead got jump scares in situations that screamed of setup.
But honestly, the setting is probably more than enough to set Mary apart and warrant a recommendation to watch. Horror films are an interesting genre in that even bad horror is still entertaining to watch. The only true crime you can commit with horror is to be too generic, and Mary isn’t that. It just missed a golden opportunity to be great with two amazing actors leading the show. Just needed a bit more love in the script department.
I am reviewing this film based on a DVD copy that was supplied to us. So the quality I was seeing was not anything I would recommend. I firmly believe that it’s time to make that jump to HD or 4K if you are still a DVD consumer. The prices are negligibly different at this point and it’s almost painful to go back to sub-HD resolutions.
I will say this about both the film and my expectations for the blu-ray release: I plan on picking up the Blu-ray copy of this when I get the chance. I would watch this one again for sure, and I think that both the audio and visual will be much more exciting with the bitrate increases. There were some scenes that would look gorgeous in HD and I know that the waves crashing makes my surround sound sing.
There’s not much in the way of content here, but if you are a big fan of the movie, there are worse ways to spend your time. As is far too common, I wish there was more extra content, but perhaps there just wasn’t that much to say here.
- The Making of MARY
- Family at Sea: The Cast of MARY
Our Recommendation for Mary:
Even though Mary offers a flawed story, Gary Oldman and Emily Mortimer are awesome as always, and horror films on boats are not as common as they should be. I would recommend this for a watch for sure.