It is 1843 in the US, and two young women are engaging in a romantic relationship. One of the women is a member of a conservative household, while the other is a maid who works for the family.
But the relationship between the two women is something which is not looked upon kindly. When it is discovered, the family decide to ‘correct’ the situation as quickly as possible, dishing out punishment accordingly.
Overseeing all this is a terrifying old woman who is the matriarch of the household. But when the old woman dies rather abruptly, one of the girls comes under investigation.
Written and directed by Edoardo Vitaletti, The Last Thing Mary Saw stars Stefanie Scott, Isabelle Fuhrman, Rory Culkin, and Judith Roberts. The movie is available to stream on Shudder from today, and if you’re a fan of slow-burning horror films, which favour visuals over story, this might be one for you.
But ‘might’ is the key word here, because liking slow-burning stories, which place a focus on the aesthetic instead of the narrative, doesn’t automatically mean you will enjoy this film. Personally, I found The Last Thing Mary Saw to be rather boring, with a story that fell flat.
This is not me claiming it to be a bad film, rather an uninteresting one. It might work for you, but it certainly didn’t work for me.
The biggest problem I have with The Last Thing Mary Saw is that it takes too long to get going, and when it reaches its destination, it all feels very anticlimactic. Sticking with the film was a bit of a slog, and on more than one occasion I did find my mind beginning to wander.
I also feel the movie doesn’t offer much in the way of originality. There is nothing in The Last Thing Mary Saw that hasn’t been done before, so it all comes across as rather redundant.
I don’t mind watching ideas and themes being rehashed, it’s a common occurrence in the movie industry, but if I am watching something that feels all too familiar, then I need a hook or some suspense to keep me interested. I don’t feel The Last Thing Mary Saw has either, meaning from a story point of view it is all very bland.
On the plus side, the film does look good, and the costumes and setting all help to recreate the feel of the mid-19th Century. Purely from a visual standpoint, the film nails what it sets out to do.
The cast are also fine. There are no knockout performances, but everyone gives it their all, playing their parts convincingly.
Perhaps the most notable cast member is Rory Culkin, who pops up partway through the movie as a mysterious stranger. His role is quite small, but his brief flashes of screentime do stand out from the rest, giving the movie a moment of interest here and there.
But despite some decent elements, The Last Thing Mary Saw ultimately fails to land. It never pushes beyond mediocrity, and while it is far from bad, it is difficult to get excited about this movie in any way.
There’s potential here and I am confident some audiences will see something I didn’t, but it simply did nothing for me.