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Michael Goi
Gary Oldman, Emily Mortimer, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo
Anthony Jaswinski

A family looking to start a charter-boat business buys a ship that holds terrifying secrets once out on isolated waters.
Rated NR

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 94 min.
Price: $29.97
Release Date: 11/26/2019

• “Making Of Mary” Featurette
• “A Family at Sea” Featurette
• Photo Gallery
• Previews


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Mary [Blu-Ray] (2019)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (November 21, 2019)

If Jeopardy offered “Vague Movie Titles” as a category, 2019’s Mary would become one of the $1000 answers. With that title, the film could follow virtually any path, but in this case, we get a horror tale.

After a disaster at sea, authorities led by Detective Lydia Clarkson (Jennifer Esposito) attempt to find out what happened. Detective Clarkson interrogates Sarah Greer (Emily Mortimer), a survivor of the calamity.

From there we learn that her seaman husband David (Gary Oldman) found himself oddly drawn to the Mary, an abandoned ship he sees at an auction. Struggling financially, David believes that he can use the vessel to run his own charters and bring prosperity to his family.

This doesn’t go well. As David, Sarah and kids Mary (Chloe Perrin) and Lindsey (Stefanie Scott) take the Mary for a spin, they find themselves mired on a dark psychological journey that creates terror among those involved.

If nothing else, no one can complain too much about the talent involved here, as Mary boasts over-qualified leads. Both Oldman and Mortimer enjoy well-deserved reputations as top-notch actors.

So how’d they end up in a low-budget thriller like this? Maybe they liked the script, though I suspect they joined the cast just for a paycheck, even if that salary didn’t amount to a whole lot.

At least Mortimer and Oldman add some class to an otherwise pretty forgettable horror tale, though I wish Oldman would find a new American accent to use. He settled on a generic sound at least as far back as Batman Begins and his choice for Mary doesn’t veer much from that template.

I suppose the decision to open the film with indications of the impending disaster exists to give the movie some energy at the start. I don’t much care for this, though, as I think the story would unfold better without such obvious foreshadowing, especially because this means we know who’ll survive the journey.

Granted, some movies do just fine when we know the ending, but Mary lacks the skill involved to overcome this handicap. With so much potential tension removed from the equation, Mary needs to rely more strongly on its character/story development, and its faults there ensure it won’t succeed.

Even without the inevitable ending, Mary telegraphs every twist and turn. Little occurs that the viewer can’t anticipate in advance, and none of these moments produce the expected tension or terror.

This means “horror” that stems almost exclusively from cheap jump scares. A better movie would thrust the viewer into a slow downward spiral, but Mary lacks any form of real progression or narrative momentum. Stuff happens and none of its really matters.

It doesn’t help that Mary feels the need to burden the tale with tacky soap opera elements. Couldn’t the story simply deliver a dark psychological thriller without pointless character embellishments?

Those choices feel like they come from a place of cinematic insecurity. I get the impression those involved don’t trust the material to stand on its own, so they toss in lazy tropes to do the work for them.

To be sure, I’ve seen worse movies than Mary in recent months, but that seems like a pretty tepid “endorsement”. Slow, cliché and trite, the film lacks much to make it compelling.

The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B/ Bonus D

Mary appears in an aspect ratio of 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. I felt satisfied with this appealing presentation.

Sharpness seemed good. Only a little softness appeared in some interior shots, so the movie usually appeared tight and concise.

Jagged edges and shimmering didn’t cause distractions, and edge enhancement seemed to be absent. Source flaws also failed to pop up in this clean transfer.

Mary presented a fairly subdued mix of teal and amber much of the time. The colors seemed accurately reproduced within the stylistic choices.

Blacks came across as dark and dense, while shadows were well-depicted and smooth. No obvious concerns marred this solid transfer.

The DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Mary worked fairly well, and various sea-bourne elements offered the most active use of the spectrum. These scenes utilized the soundscape in an engrossing manner, and music made active use of the different channels as well.

Audio quality pleased. Speech was concise and natural, without edginess or other issues.

Music showed good range and vivacity, while effects worked nicely. Those elements came across as accurate and full, with solid low-end response and positive definition. This left us with a “B” soundtrack.

Only minor extras appear on the disc, and The Making of Mary runs six minutes, seven seconds. It brings comments from screenwriter Anthony Jaswinski, director/DP Michael Goi, and actors Gary Oldman, Emily Mortimer and Stefanie Scott.

“Making” covers story/characters and Goi’s approach to the material. No insights emerge in this fluffy reel – and if you’ve not already seen the movie, note that it comes with spoilers.

With A Family at Sea, we find a four-minute, 38-second piece that includes notes from Mortimer, Oldman, Goi, Scott, and actors Chloe Perrin and Owen Teague. We get praise for the cast in this dull promo piece.

A Photo Gallery includes a whopping nine images. These present dull shots of the characters, so the “Gallery” adds nothing.

The disc opens with ads for The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then the Bigfoot, Brawl In Cell Block 99 and I.T. No trailer for Mary appears here.

Given the quality of its lead cast, Mary sets up expectations for a quality project. Alas, it dashes those hopes to become a lackluster, trite stab at psychological horror. The Blu-ray brings pretty good picture and audio as well as minor bonus features. While never an awful film, Mary fails to turn into anything better than mediocre.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 1
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