Somewhere in upstate New York, Hunter (Haley Bennett) stands on a balcony of a cold, glass house which overlooks a gloomy forest. This is a house with sapphire drapes which match her various knee-length skirts. We are immediately inducted into a world of isolation and familiarity--a world of neatness and artificial perfection. A world which, director Carlo Mirabella-Davis suggests, is one no normal human being could instantly acclimatize themselves to; one so laced with control and implemented order. Hunter has a perpetually fixed smile of obedience and understanding on her face whenever she’s in the presence of her husband, Richie (Austin Stowell); it’s a smile so forcibly fixed, it has the authenticity of a hundred dollar Prada bag. Hunter, for a long stretch of this film is the perfect embodiment of mute feminine submission; it’s as if she herself understands that she is better seen, not heard. She spends her days mostly idle; decorating her soon-to-be-born infant’s bedroom, making dinner, and playing mindless phone games.
“American Mary” (2012) is a criminally underrated dark comedy and horror film directed by Jen and Sylvia Soska. Due to its subject matter and gore, it was not widely released. It was released to V.O.D. and DVD quickly, though, helping the film amass a cult following. “American Mary” is often left out in discussions about women in horror. It’s overshadowed by more popular cult classics like “Jennifer’s Body” and “The Descent” — both of which are vital to discussions about women in horror — but it’s a mistake to ignore “American Mary.” The film is disgusting, cathartic and creative. It deserves to be ranked amongst the best body horror and rape revenge films of the past decade.
There are two: Two horror films, two male directors, two couples, two marriages on the rocks, two Deadly Women to be feared, two men at the mercy of these women. Chaos and Order, Man and Woman. The films in question our Lars Von Trier's "Antichrist" (2009) and Andrzej Żuławski (1981), the films may have been made decades apart, but they share such striking similarities that it's hard not to discuss one without referencing the other. Both films depict an underlying fear of women, seen through the fearful gaze of the male directors and the male characters.The women represent Chaos and disorder, their male partners are on a quest to fix these women and restore order.