Stars: Kaylee Bryant, José Zúñiga, Catherine Black, Anne Bex, Nick Mancuso, Emma Gruttadauria, Sam Myerson, Diana Porter, Mark S. Cartier, Karin Crighton, Kati Salowsky | Written and Directed by Jennifer B. White
Hollywood tag-line writer Jennifer B. White (Nora’s Return) pulls double-duty here, both writing and directing this paranormal/supernatural mystery starring Kaylee Bryant (Zugzwang) as the titular Mary.
The story of The Haunting of Mary (also known as Mary Loss of Soul) follows Mary Solis, a young 15 year old girl who disappears suddenly before reappearing without any recollection of what happened to her. Oh, and she’s missing part of her soul too. That part’s important. Mary and her family begin to suffer a terrible haunting from an angry spirit all the while Mary herself begins to tumble further down.
It’s hard to really go into a full-on overview of the plot here without giving away some of the interesting plot developments, so I’ll let you check it out for yourself if you wish to delve further into the what’s, when’s and why’s of the story. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I walked into this film, and I’m not 100% sure how I feel about it now I’ve finished it either. This isn’t so much a “horror” film as it is a mystery with supernatural elements. It has it’s jump-scares once in a while and attempts to create a spooky tension, but I felt like it was more of a twisty curious case rather than an image of terror. It also has a little bit of romance in there that should appeal to the teen crowd.
The Haunting of Mary suffers a little from not quite knowing what it is, I feel, and it makes for moments that fall flat at times, and other moments that seem over-the-top when compared to other parts of the film. The actors are a mixed group. Some do a good job, and others not so much. This is kind of what we’ve come to expect from lower budget horror flicks, if I’m honest, and so none of the performances offended me, I just felt some were much better than others. Bryant, as Mary, and Emma Gruttadauria (Night of the Naked Dead), as Trice, stood out to me as the best here. Catherine Black (American Psycho) as Mary’s mother Gina Solis was the weakest here. Her performance was very overdone and corny, it felt out of place in many of the scenes she was in. It was difficult to believe in her as the mother to the young girl undergoing such scary events.
The Haunting of Mary is an interesting supernatural mystery flick, and it has some scares in there. I feel like it’s one of those “horror” type movies you could watch with younger viewers without it having any negative impact on them. It has some creepy parts, but overall it’s tame. The lack of gore and full-on horror will perhaps give it life as a “scary movie” for the whole family. It has twists and turns that intrigue and some good ideas, but suffers from identity confusion and some floorboard performances. Stories about spirits are all the rage, and this slots in to a wide and stacked shelf of them.
The Haunting of Mary is released on DVD on October 24th