Fantasia 2021: THE LAST THING MARY SAW Review – A Brutal Love Story
Eduardo Vitaletti's 'The Last Thing Mary Saw' creates a brutal world where forbidden love is met with deadly consequences.
Directed by Eduardo Vitaletti
Written by Eduardo Vitaletti
Starring Isabelle Fuhrman, Stefanie Scott,
Eduardo Vitaletti’s film isn’t exactly religious horror, but it does show the horrors of puritans, in name only, that use religion as a weapon. The film begins in media res as Mary (Scott) is bloody and blindfolded. This isn’t just telling us that bad things are going to happen to her. It’s letting us know that this is just another instance of abuse in the history of bad things. What is she being punished for? She fell in love with the wrong person, and in this scenario, that is fodder for harsh judgment that leads to torment.
So much so, that a malevolent spirit haunts Mary in the form of her grandmother. Besting her performance as the ghostly ventriloquist in Dead Silence, actress Judith Roberts adds some supernatural scares on top of the already frightening family dynamics. Mary is doomed from the start when she falls in love with her family’s maid, Eleanor (Fuhrman). Their flirtation is just a setup to show how backward the rest of Mary’s family, and the rest of the world, really is.
Mary and Eleanor’s affair is immediately condemned. This cuts off any romantic ties that could have made their ultimate fate more tragic. Maybe the audience is supposed to feel just as cut off as they do.
Rory Culkin’s wicked turn makes up for that, though. He plays an intruder who twists the finale into a brutal standoff. It’s an odd feeling watching the end of The Last Thing That Mary Saw in that regard. The most memorable part of the film is seeing an embattled lesbian couple fight the epitome of male dominance. Mary is robbed of a happy ending, and so are we.
For any couple that thinks they have hard times today, take a look at what Mary had to go through back in New York during the 1840s.