A razor-sharp look at the gap between trying to make ends meet and providing quality personal care for aged relatives as well as a chilling supernatural story, Mary, from codirectors Jo Rou and Dan Riordan, is an equally thought-provoking and spine-tingling psychological horror short.
A year to the day that his mother Mary passed away, insurance agent Rich (Logan Culter Smith) has an appointment with an elderly woman who shares the same name as his mother (Juliette Regnier) to discuss policy changes. Mary’s hospitality goes from uncomfortably nice to just plain uncomfortable, as she seems to know quite a few personal details about Rich, whose guilt grows by the moment.
Rou and Riordan invest the film with a balance of the old and the new or young, from the age gap between the two characters to the music used for the score, and beyond. They build the tension superbly, starting with remarks that disarm the increasingly impatient Rich and working to a dizzying climax.
The discomfiting situation between Rich and Mary is wonderfully realized thanks to strong performances from Smith and Reigner. The actors have marvelous chemistry together.
The color palette of Mary reflects the growing uneasiness between the puzzled, frustrated Rich and the kindly, if clinging, Mary. From colorful exterior shots to the homey but off-putting decor in Mary’s home to the hypnotic climax, cinematographer Tyler Kubisty captures Rou’s and Riordan’s shared vision impressively.
Viewers will, like Rich, find this visit with Mary a steadily more unsettling one. Rou and Riordan, working from a screenplay by Justin Lazor, have crafted a horror short that strikes at emotions about family as much as it goes for the goosebumps.(4 / 5)
You can watch Mary now, linked below!