Director: Edoardo Vitaletti
Writer: Edoardo Vitaletti
Starring: Stefanie Scott, Isabelle Fuhrman, Carolyn McCormick, Michael Laurence, Judith Roberts, Shane Coffey, Dawn McGee, P.J. Sosko, Tommy Buck, Elijah Rayman, and Rory Culkin
The latest Shudder original, The Last Thing Mary Saw, is a period horror that’s filled with a dark atmosphere, and strong performances. It doesn’t quite come together in the end, but the moments when it does click, are really great.
Set in the 1800s, the film is about Mary (Stefanie Scott) who is in a romantic relationship with her family’s maid, Eleanor (Isabelle Fuhrman). Their relationship has caused a lot of anger throughout her family, who believe they are committing a sin. The family’s matriarch (Judith Roberts) punishes them and when she dies suspicion is cast upon the young couple.
The film starts and ends with scenes of Mary, wearing a bloody blindfold, as she’s telling an investigator about the events leading up the matriarch’s death, and the events that immediately followed. You know that Mary has to escape the main events, and that the people investigating it are highly suspicious of her, believing her words are from the devil himself. The story is then split into three chapters, leading up to the big moment and coming back around to the opening scene.
The cast are all great, especially Judith Roberts who delivers a sinister and otherworldly performance as the matriarch of the family. Everything about her gives off a creepy vibe, and Roberts does an excellent job at bringing the terror whenever she’s on screen. There’s an excellent scene where she makes Mary and Eleanor kneel on rice as a punishment, each sound of their movements echoing out of the screen, and you feel their pain. Rory Culkin, who plays a smaller part as an intruder, also heightens the unsettling atmosphere of the film. The score is absolutely chilling. It works so well throughout the entire film, perfectly complimenting every scene.
While there are a lot of good things about the film, it does at points feel very aimless. The first chapter, leading up to the death of the matriarch feels incredibly long, and you’re not quite sure where the film is going. It feels like this is about forbidden love, not a murder, for most of the film, and then it changes massively. It feels a little padded out to get to a reasonable length of time. It’s a shame that the opening is so drawn out, because the ending feels a little rushed in comparison, more time could have been spent there. The dinner sequence towards the end is really tense and that could have been longer.
Writer and director Edoardo Vitaletti does a great job at creating a genuinely unsettling and creepy atmosphere. It’s a really solid chilling film. Nothing spectacular, but definitely enjoyable while it’s on.
The Last Thing Mary Saw will be available on Shudder from 20th January 2022
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