Chani Louise, Mark Anthony Brooks, Krystal Farris, Kulani Kai, Danielle Liggens, Gary Champion, Khiray Richards, Miles Triplett
WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY
It was only a folktale...
In writer/director Khiray Richards's indie feature Mary, a group of friends are forced to adjust to their new life after an unexpected encounter with the infamous Bloody Mary. Richards, a videographer, infuses this microcinema effort with a strong sense of suspense and thrills in telling this tale that constantly lands somewhere between eerily comfortable and amped up suspense. Mary is the kind of film you discover at some indie, experimental, or microcinema fest and can't help but admire that Richards accomplishes quite a bit with very little.
Mary's ensemble cast is a charismatic one as they portray friends dealing in vastly different ways with this unexpected encounter and the emotional and physical aftermath. To give up too much of the story would most certainly be a shame, and something I won't do, but suffice it to say that Mary is for the most part a slow-burning thriller with an immersive sense of dread throughout its 72 minute running time.
While the film's ensemble cast works nicely together, stand-outs include the spot-on Chani Louise, a consistently engaging Mark Anthony Brooks, the spirited Miles Triplett, and others. Truthfully, this is an ensemble with a strong chemistry and that largely overcomes any concerns about budget constraints.
Richards himself both lenses and edits the film and is clearly in touch with his vision for the film. While I will admit I kept expecting Mary to dip deeper into horror than it actually does, the film is also incredibly suspenseful and that suspense was even stronger because these became characters that I actually cared about and genuinely enjoyed.
Mary's 72 minutes fly by, though Richards paces the film quite nicely and leans heavily into the mystery of this story and how it unfolds. He seems to understand that attempting to go toward heavy special effects would be ill-advised and instead Mary finds its thrills and chills in the story that unfolds and in the altering dynamics between these characters. It's more of a slow-burn here and those looking for all-out horror will most likely be disappointed.
There's little denying that anyone unfamiliar with microcinema or unwilling to watch anything that's not playing in a multiplex may struggle with Mary and its occasional production issues that are inevitable when it comes down to low-budget filmmaking. However, for those truly devoted to indie filmmaking Mary is an opportunity to check out an up-and-coming filmmaker and his talented ensemble cast.
Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic