Bloody Mary (DVD)
Directed by Richard Valentine
Distributed by Echo Bridge Entertainment
Long before Clive Barker's Candyman stalked our mirrors, the urban legend of Bloody Mary (a.k.a. The Mirror Witch), or Mary Worth as she was once known, can be traced back about one hundred years. Worth was a witch who was executed for practicing the black arts. Over the years since her death, as if we were playing the children's game Telephone, her legend has been twisted, turned, modernized, and bastardized. Depending on whom you talk to and where they live, it can vary drastically. The only common thread is how the ghost is summoned. The brave, or stupid, need only do one thing -- stand alone in a darkened room and call the name "Bloody Mary" thirteen times into a mirror. In fact, I dare you to go try! Then again, maybe you shouldn't. I mean why bother when we can watch a fresh group of knuckleheads do it via DVD?
This latest telling of the tale follows the exploits of a woman named Natalie (Tyler) whose sister has inexplicably gone missing. During her quest to find her sibling, she discovers that both she and her friends/co-workers have been indulging in something called "The Mirror Game." Could this have something to do with her sister's disappearance? Of course it could! Why else would we be watching? Anyway ... once Natalie comes to the realization that something paranormal is going on, she begins an investigation of her own. One that leads to a lot of eye-gouging deaths.
That's pretty much the gist of it. Or at least I think it is. You see, Bloody Mary is a film that tries too hard to be something more than what it is -- a spooky ghost story. Writer/director Richard Valentine (who also plays Bloody Mary) is just not content with delivering that. Instead, we have a ghost who is somehow connected to a one-eyed man in a loony bin, who somehow creates a cult to serve Mary, who somehow gets the head doctor involved, who somehow tries to convince Natalie that her sister's disappearance is connected to Bloody Mary, much to the chagrin of the dumbest detective on the planet who somehow believes there's got to be a logical explanation for all of this. Sound confusing? It is, and needlessly so. None of these twists or turns have a huge pay off either. They're about as thrilling to sit through as watching an episode of Scooby Doo without any of the fun, talking dogs, or chicks losing their glasses. I watched Bloody Mary twice, once all the way through and then again with the commentary, and I still have no clue what the fuck was really going on. Why things had to become so overly complicated plot-wise is beyond me. I'm all for not dumbing stuff down, but holy shit, give me a break.
The real shame here is that even though the story is a muddled mess, the rest of the film is fairly entertaining. Sure there are plot holes a mile wide, such as why nobody cares about any of the other film's characters who went missing thanks to Mary, but there's also some good acting, killer sound design, spooky ghost effects, and a decent amount of nudity and gore. It's a real shame all that goodness gets lost in a semi-coherent abyss of confusion.
The supplemental material does little to shed any light on the matters at hand. We get a couple of featurettes, a music video, and a "Hey, let's talk about what a good time we had making this movie instead of giving the listeners any explanation or insight into the film itself" type commentary. There's just your standard behind-the-scenes stuff to be found here like a making-of and, of course, some outtakes. Why bother to have a featurette on the history of the legend? That may have been a bit more interesting. Perish the thought.
Know what the true horror is here, folks? The stench of missed opportunity that permeates the air the second this DVD is cracked open. If there's any truth to the legend of Bloody Mary at all, I'm sure she's just waiting for Richard Valentine to stand in front of his mirror and dare try calling her. In a perfect world.
Oh well, just like Urban Legends: Bloody Mary this film nearly hits its intended mark. Although it does come a bit closer. Something tells me we haven't seen the last of old Mary yet either. Just today I found a film called Dead Mary. laying on my desk. What's next? A PG-13 rated film titled Slightly Bruised Mary? Oh shit. I may have just given someone an idea. Damned be my hands!
Behind the Cinematography featurette
The Making-of the Witch featurette
"The Curse" music video
2 out of 5
2 out of 5
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