Mary Image


By Kyle Bain | April 21, 2022

Picture this: You are standing in the dark; the only light is from a dim, flickering candle. You stand in front of a mirror, take a deep breath, and begin repeating two words, Bloody Mary. Suddenly you aren’t the only one present in the mirror, as the harrowing figure you just invoked stands beside you. In Mary, written and directed by Khiray Richards, a group of friends doesn’t need to go through the trouble of summoning the demon; she simply arrives. After the friends deal with this horrible spirit, they must find ways to move on with their lives and deal with the mental and psychological struggles that follow such a horrific event.

Unfortunately, this horror-mystery thriller fails to live up to my expectations in a number of ways. It may seem strange that a low-budget production with an obscure cast and crew had my expectations so high, but the potential for a horror feature focusing on a twisted game from my childhood is high — so why not my expectations? There are several directions that Richards could have taken his story, and, honestly, most of them would have been appealing. Unfortunately, he doesn’t go those routes, causing some bumps along the road. As such, the film quickly falls from grace before it even gets started.

The series of bumps that plague Mary begins with the strange twists present in the narrative. There are parts of the plot that feel like they are meant to invigorate viewers and make the proceedings more relatable, but it does the opposite. For example, Drew (Krystal Farris), Ellen (Chani Louise), and Porter (Anthony Mark Brooks) are some of the characters who survived their encounter with Bloody Mary, only to be traumatized by it. Well, how did their personalities shift after such a horrific event? Context is key, but there’s not much backstory for anyone due to the brief runtime.

“…survived their encounter with Bloody Mary, only to be traumatized…”

In addition to the strange story beats, some of the actors struggle to convey the emotions or breathe life into the proceedings. Honestly, each actor, at one point or another, fails to feel authentic or genuine. With people’s lives in danger, I need there to be far more emotion present. But it never comes, and viewers are likely to feel as if the characters don’t care about one another. The actors take a very laissez-faire approach, making it difficult for viewers to become invested and hampering the movie from getting its feet off the ground.

Hidden deep within the acting woes and the narrative is a focus on mental health and the psychological struggles of individuals when they deal with loss and trauma. This is what will appeal to audiences, and this is what allows Mary to find success. It desperately needs something to help the narrative flow, and this mental health aspect regarding how people deal with grief is that thing. Without the deep dive into the minds of the grieving, the film doesn’t hold much water and likely wouldn’t appeal to anyone at all.

There are a series of issues that threaten to derail Mary from the very beginning. Unfortunately, they plague the majority of the movie. The deep dive into the characters’ psyche is what allows the plot to remain somewhat afloat, but it’s not enough to invigorate viewers. Overall, it’s fair to say that this horror offering doesn’t live up to the potential of its premise or the hopes I had for it.

Mary (2022)

Directed and Written: Khiray Richards

Starring: Krystal Farris, Chani Louise, Anthony Mark Brooks, etc.

Movie score: 5.5/10

Mary Image

"…a focus on mental health..."

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