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The Legend of Bloody Mary
The Legend of Bloody Mary
Actors: Paul Preiss, Robert J. Locke, Caitlin Wachs, Nicole Aiken, Brittany Miller
Director: John Stecenko
Genres: Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Mystery & Suspense
UR     2008     1hr 33min

Ryan has been plagued with nightmares for a decade since his sister's abstruse disappearance following a seemingly harmless game of Bloody Mary. After years of sleepless nights and guilt resulting from his inability to ma...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Paul Preiss, Robert J. Locke, Caitlin Wachs, Nicole Aiken, Brittany Miller
Director: John Stecenko
Creators: John Stecenko, Cherelle George, Frank Gresik, Frank Iatarola, Grant Sawyer, Hal Kessler, Dominick R. Domingo
Genres: Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Lions Gate
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 09/16/2008
Release Year: 2008
Run Time: 1hr 33min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: English
Subtitles: English, Spanish

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Movie Reviews

Best Bloody Mary Movie Yet
swimfan 88 | Oklahoma | 08/17/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Thankfully some film makers still prefer to go a bit more old school. One example is `The Legend of Bloody Mary' by John Stecenko. While there are elements of the new movement in horror present here it hails back to a more classic approach to the genre. This movie has an actual plot to go with the scares and lately that has been a rare thing. The film is now available through Lion's Gate so do yourself a favor and go out and get it. Stecenko may only be 34 but he has accessed a style that is much older. By that I mean one that was all the rage when I was a kid many decades ago. There used to be a series of comic books put out by EC publishing that dealt with horror and fantasy. While our parents usually disliked any comic book these they out right hated. This just made them more interesting and popular with the boys in the neighborhood. You might remember some of these comics like `Tales from the Crypt' and `Vault of Horror'. Usually they had a gruesome picture on the cover and equally spooky stories within their pages. Stecenko has captured this look and feel here for this film. The comics where known for their twists and turns in the stories. They were also known for stereotypical characters such as the bewildered policeman and the beautiful co-ed. The revival of an ancient horror was a popular theme that these comics explored. Here in this movie Stecenko revisits this with his stylistic choices. He has created a moody film that will deliver. The film starts with a voice over of a young woman. She is telling the person on the other end of the phone that `it is true just check your mirror'. We then see a young man, Ryan (Paul Preiss) walking shirtless through a straw covered field. In the distance someone is calling his name. The voice is that of his sister Amy (Rachel Taylor) who went missing after playing the `Bloody Mary' game. A little ways off Ryan sees a mirror like the one his sister used that faithful night. It turns out to be only a dream but one that Ryan has lived with for a long time, over eight years now. He has never gotten over the disappearance of his sister. His sister innocently stumbled across a web site about a witch named Bloody Mary (Caitlin Wachs) and a game to summons her. It looks like the game was all too real for Ryan to stand. He is now a senior in college but the emotional toil of his sister has pushed him almost to the breaking point. His emotional state has placed a strain on his relationship with his girlfriend Rachel (Irina Costa). She needs to him Ryan but feels unable to do so alone. Rachel calls on a former professor of his Father O'Neil (Robert J. Locke) who is a renowned archaeologist. Together they hope to discover exactly what really happened to Amy and give Ryan some closure and relief. The film unfolds with a quick pace but it never feels rushed. There is a skill demonstrated in how Stecenko tells the story. He is, as mentioned, a highly visual director who is quite adept at using the images to create and reinforce the mood of the movie. What makes this film so interesting is how he infuses elements of mystery and the psychological thriller to reinforce the underlying horror. It is ultimately a well crafted film that is executed with skill. Apparently the budget was about one million dollars. This may seem like a lot but for most movies it would hardly cover the cost of craft services to feed the cast and crew. Stecenko gets the most out of his modest budget and gives the audience more than they might have expected. I have to admit I though this would be just another scream fest flick but I was thankfully proven wrong. For those out there that are addicted to the current trend in horror flicks don't worry, there is enough blood shed and even a dollop of nudity to keep you happy. Lion's Gate never ceases to amaze me with some of the films they release on DVD. They look around in the Indy film world and bring some of the most interesting right to your home. This is one not to miss."
Mirror, mirror, on the wall
Daniel Jolley | Shelby, North Carolina USA | 09/06/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)

"Who doesn't know the legend of Bloody Mary? You know, say her name in front of a mirror three times and she will appear (and, quite likely, either kill you or snatch you into her world). It's so ingrained into our culture that I for one would not tempt fate by performing the ritual myself. Unless you've lived your entire life under a rock, the basic premise of this film will be quite familiar to you. This is, rightly or wrongly, a handicap this film must try to overcome. It's hard not to feel as if the last thing we need is yet another Bloody Mary film rehashing old folklore and cinematic haunts. Fortunately, The Legend of Blood Mary comes at the legend from a slightly different angle. Unfortunately, questionable acting and some really annoying directing do much to hamper one's enjoyment of the film.

In this version of the game, you first mark yourself and/or others (by writing names on the mirror) before calling Bloody Mary to come out and play. That's what the Bloody Mary game website says to do, anyway. The site also provides some background on Bloody Mary herself. Having refused to divulge the name of her unborn child's father, poor Mary Worth paid the ultimate price at the hands of her Puritan, Salem-like community, with her own personal Arthur Dimmesdale supplying the crudest cut of all. Who can blame her for wanting revenge?

Ryan (Paul Preiss) is one of Mary's indirect victims - although it's hard to feel too sorry for a young man this boring and annoying. Eight years ago, his sister Amy (Rachel Taylor) played the game, and he's been plagued with nightmares ever since her disappearance. His girlfriend Rachel (Irina Costa) asks Ryan's former professor Father O'Neal (Robert J. Locke, obviously a graduate of the Hayden Christensen School of Acting), an untraditional priest and archaeologist, for help. Through his personal investigation, we learn what happened to Amy and her friends. And wouldn't you know it? A new archaeological dig right there on campus brings the story of Bloody Mary full circle.

Ryan is too aloof and self-absorbed to be likeable, but Father O'Neal is a bigger problem, in my opinion. You can never lose yourself in the story because Robert J. Locke is never able to bring his character to life. It's not that he's a terrible actor, it's just that his manner never changes, no matter how odd the situation. Some aspects of the truths he discovers should prove a little problematic for a priest, but I don't think his expression would have changed if someone dropped a cement block on his foot. I also have to call director John Stecenko out for artsy-fartsy shenanigans. If you want to shoot characters from weird angles, that's okay, but this guy goes way overboard with the close-ups. I don't want to look at Locke's beard when he's speaking, and I certainly don't want to see shifting close-ups of that beard as his monologue rambles on. Overall, this is your better-than-average Bloody Mary film, but it's not nearly as good as it could or should have been - and the damages responsible for that are self-inflicted."
Confusing Mess of a Film
Tim Janson | Michigan | 01/28/2009
(1 out of 5 stars)

The Legend of Bloody Mary centers on the often-told urban myth about the spirit who will haunt/kill the person who repeats her name three times in front of a mirror. It employs folklore surrounding Mary Worth or Mary Worthington, depending upon which version you hear. In this case, it casts Mary as an accused witch during Puritan times. Refusing to name the man responsible for getting her pregnant, Mary is accused of heresy and sentenced to death. Tied to a tree, a large mirror is placed before her so she can watch herself die as the towns people take turns cutting her with a knife. Mary curses the people with her dying breath. If you're guessing that the film isn't big on historical accuracy you win a prize.

In the present, Ryan (Paul Preiss) is suffering from bad dreams ever since the night his sister Amy, and several of her friends disappeared seven years earlier. The girls were planning a big party and looking for a game to scare their guests. Searching the Internet they came across the Bloody Mary game. Ryan's girlfriend suggests he talk with a priest friend about his dreams. Father O' Neal is about the lamest looking priest ever seen on film. Wearing a cowboy hat and jeans, he looks more like a country singer than a clergyman. Conveniently, a construction crew turns up the very mirror used in Mary's execution on the grounds of his church.

The plot is a confused mess. Over half the film takes place in flashback sequences to either Mary's trial in the 1600s or Amy's disappearance seven years ago. This allows no flow at all to the story. There also is no explanation as to why Bloody Mary is after Ryan now, these many years later. The performances are uniformly poor. The lines are delivered without a hint of emotion or expression. The only notable cast member is veteran character actor Stephen Macht playing the 1600s judge who sentences Mary Worth to death.

To top things off, you barely even get a peep at Bloody Mary. She can only be seen in mirrors so when she is attacking her victims, you see them battling an invisible foe, dragged across the floor by an unseen source. You catch only fleeting glimpses of Mary as they pass a mirror. You don't even see her face until the final few seconds of the film when they do the old, "You thought the monster was dead but really isn't" trick. It might be just as well seems as though the make-up and visual effects people basically copied the ghost's look from "The Ring" to use for Mary: long dark hair, tattered dress, decomposed skin. The film also borrows plot elements from "Darkness Falls", another bad horror film but far better than this one.

The disc does come with a number of extras...if you should really be interested. These include a director's commentary, alternate opening and endings, three featurettes and testimonials. The testimonials are actually kind of fun. These are interviews with high school kids about the Bloody Mary legend and their experiences in playing the game.