Monday, August 16, 2021

The Last Thing Mary Saw Review: Period Horror Dripping With Style

Rory Culkin	...	The Intruder Isabelle Fuhrman	Isabelle Fuhrman	...	Eleanor Stefanie Scott	Stefanie Scott	...	Mary Carolyn McCormick	Carolyn McCormick	...	Agnes Shane Coffey	Shane Coffey	...	Eustace's Son Judith Roberts	Judith Roberts	...	The Matriarch Michael Laurence	Michael Laurence	...	Randolph Philip Hoffman	Philip Hoffman	...	Deputy #1 Dawn McGee	Dawn McGee	...	Ann P.J. Sosko	P.J. Sosko	...	Theodore (The Guard) Daniel Pearce	Daniel Pearce	...	The Interrogator Sebastian Beacon	Sebastian Beacon	...	Deputy #3 Tommy Buck	Tommy Buck	...	Eustace Matthew Stannah	Matthew Stannah	...	Deputy #2 Elijah Rayman	Elijah Rayman	...	Matthew (as Eli Rayman) Stephen Lee Anderson	Stephen Lee Anderson	...	The Grandfather

Release date: August 15, 2021
Running time: 88 minutes
Written and Directed By: Edoardo Vitaletti
Written By: 
Rory Culkin, Isabelle Fuhrman, Judith Roberts, and Stefanie Scott

THE LAST THING MARY SAW is a period occult drama set in an isolated farmhouse in the winter of 1843, where a young woman is under investigation following the mysterious death of her family’s matriarch. It soon becomes apparent that ageless forces are at play, from within and without. 

Harrison Allen	...	producer Rose Kelso	...	co-producer Thea Kerman	...	co-producer Joseph Michael Lagana	...	executive producer Mike Nichols	...	executive producer Keryn Redstone	...	executive producer Isen Robbins	...	producer Aimee Schoof	...	producer Madeleine Schumacher	...	producer Stephen Tedeschi	...	producer Scoop Wasserstein	...	executive producer
The Last Thing Mary Saws goes all in on the style, with a tension due to the dark concept and setting that will have you holding your breath at times.  The film is confusing to follow but dripping with style as you explore what happened in this house.  Not much is made clear until the very end, but the film does a great job of imparting the severity of what is happening, even if you don't quite know the full story.  And the setting helps greatly to impart that dread as well; the film is set in the 1800s, so there is not a lot of light and plenty of unknown just outside the house.  Candles and lanterns make shows ample even indoors, and outside is generally pitch black.  And the film's quiet setting makes any loud sounds that much more impactful.  There aren't many, but when they occur it will make you jump.  And the cast is dedicated to this story and does a great job of transporting you back to the 1800s.  I really loved the main stars and the interactions between Mary and Eleanor.  And Rory Caulkin as the Intruder was a welcome surprise; he just stole the show whenever he was on screen!

However, The Last Thing Mary Saw is a slow paranoia film, but one that doesn't quite live up to its great setting.  I appreciated the film, but there is not much to really drive the story forward.  It is slow to develop, but doesn't quite reveal enough to keep you fully engaged.  If you are paying attention there is plenty to gain from here, but lots of the plot is pushed forward with looks and whispers rather than pure exposition.  And the story definitely has a lot more backstory than it originally lets on, and I was hoping that this would have been more fully fleshed out by the end.  And the film has some supernatural elements to it, but it seems almost tacked on.  These are used at a few instances and do act as a surprising element when used, but those also just felt like a strange outlier given the movie's general grounding in reality.  And the film doesn't appear to have an underlying message.  There are some lessons to be gained, but they aren't really emphasized enough or made to be applicable to the viewer.  It is a stretch to get anything out of this film other than as a well made period horror film.  But a well made film this is; it will transport you to this area and the setting and wonderful use of sound will have you on edge wondering what the last thing that Mary saw was!

The Last Thing Mary Saw's sinister setting, untrustworthy characters, and great touches will have you holding your breath as this period horror story slowly unfolds.

Rent it.

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The Last Thing Mary Saw premiered at Fantasia on August 15, 2021.  It will be coming to Shudder in 2022.  

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