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The Last Thing Mary Saw - Movie Review

The Last Thing Mary Saw

Never allow the devil a chance at redemption.  That’s the first thrust in the engine of The Last Thing Mary Saw, a well-made period occult drama set in an isolated farmhouse during the winter of 1843.  If you are expecting a tale of demonic possession, you are going to be a bit disappointed.  That’s not this type of horror film.  Writer/director Edoardo Vitaletti has other things on his mind: repressed sexuality and the long-standing consequences of religion in the hands of violent men against women. 

"there is something dark working its force here"


The Last Thing Mary Saw is both haunting and poetic as the young women in the story take a commanding presence, pushing back against the society that won’t buckle.  After a brief and effective teasing of things to come, the movie’s themes present themselves quite clearly as a young woman, Mary (Stefanie Scott) sits before a council of stern, white men and is asked to recite the Lord’s Prayer.  She’s blindfolded and blood is seeping out from the blindfold as it wraps around her skull.  Mary is a young woman who is under investigation for causing the mysterious death of her family’s matriarch (Eraserhead’s Judith Roberts). 

First and foremost, the ideas of John Calvin, French theologian, pastor and reformer in Geneva during the Protestant Reformation, are all over the community in Southold, New York.  They’ve bought his words hook, line, and sinker and have firmly created an oppressive society - no matter how small it seems - that is matched only by the absolute poetry of the commanding cinematography in the film.  

Achingly beautiful and elaborate, the style of the movie - with long takes and lots of silence between the actors and actresses - only makes the consequences of Mary’s actions - continuously running straight into the arms of Eleanor (Isabelle Fuhrman), a maid in her father’s home - feel more severe.

The cold-hearted people in charge believe that God is guiding their every action against her and their actions make this religious horror film a tough one to sit through, thanks to their constant brutality and the film’s own atmosphere, which is quite brave.  The Last Thing Mary Saw

The poor girls at the center of this man-made storm have to endure so much and it is just because their accusers feel that the girls are products of the devil due to their sexual desires and their own natural curiosity.  But, the people in this small community are relentless in acting on the behalf of their God.  They will beat out the abomination that grows within the girls!  

Filmed with great atmosphere and moody visuals, The Last Thing Mary Saw is both stirring and violent, showcasing just how extreme these people have pushed themselves with their own beliefs.  It’s not God's will anymore.  It is theirs and they crave BLOOD because - as we come to find out - there is something dark working its force here.  

Co-starring Rory Culkin as an eye-opening stranger, The Last Thing Mary Saw has as much to do with embracing fear and weakness as it does fighting against the dark forces the community is so stoically against.  But what if the dark forces are stemming from those who claim to stamp it out?  This is, after all, a community which punishes those who cannot successfully recite memorized prayers, so is it that much of a surprise to find out that there actually are dark forces at work here?

Director Edoardo Vitaletti’s The Last Thing Mark Saw will premiere at the Fantasia Film Festival on August 15 and 17.

4/5 stars

Film Details

The Last Thing Mary Saw

MPAA Rating: Unrated
Runtime:
89 mins
Director
: Edoardo Vitaletti
Writer:
Edoardo Vitaletti
Cast:
Rory Culkin; Isabelle Fuhrman; Stefanie Scott
Genre
: Horror
Tagline:

Memorable Movie Quote:
Distributor:
Intrinsic Value Films
Official Site:
Release Date:
August 15-17 – Fantasia Film Festival (Virtual)
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:

Synopsis: 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.

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The Last Thing Mary Saw

 

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