The Last Thing Mary Saw (2021) Review

Spoiler-free so you can read before you watch

The Last Thing Mary Saw (2021) Review

Horrorific content by Christina Dee on September 10th, 2021 | Movie Review | Slow Burn, Haunted, Mystery, Dysfunctional Family, Folk Horror

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Winter, 1843. A young woman is under investigation following the mysterious death of her family's matriarch. Her recollection of the events sheds new light on the ageless forces behind the tragedy.

The Last Thing Mary Saw is brought to you by director Edoardo Vitaletti. It stars Stefanie Scott, Rory Culkin, Isabelle Fuhrman, and Carolyn McCormick, among others.  

Supernatural Sin

The Last Thing Mary Saw Review

If you’re a big fan of folk horror along the lines of Midsommer or The Witch, then The Last Thing Marry Saw may already be on your radar. It’s got all the ingredients great folk horror is made of – an isolated setting, shades of religious intolerance, and a tense atmosphere that may or may not be because of something supernatural. But does it deliver, or is this one historic subgenre flick that’s better left ignored?

The plotline of The Last Thing Mary Saw takes us back to rural New York in 1843. The titular Mary (Scott) is in the middle of what appears to be a brutal interrogation, as evidenced by the dried blood that’s escaped from under her blindfold. A series of flashbacks offer up more information as to how exactly Mary got into this particular pickle.

As might be expected, Mary comes from a staunchly religious family headed by an austere matriarch (Judith Roberts). However, she begins a torrid affair with the lovely Eleanor (Fuhrman) anyway, which naturally doesn’t sit well with her elders once it’s discovered. Of course, as is often the case with the fanatically religious, Mary’s people are sure they can rid her of her sin through severe punishment. However, Mary and Eleanor aren’t willing to take their lumps without a fight and come up with a plan to make their escape together.

As the plot progresses, it becomes clear that The Last Thing Mary Saw is more than just a tale of lesbian lovers whose community doesn’t approve of their relationship. There’s also some evidence that something supernatural and sinister is going on here, as well, when the clan matriarch mysteriously turns up dead. Then there’s the matter of a mysterious stranger (Culkin) who arrives on the scene bearing gifts, plus the presence of a nefarious book that may or may not be at the root of the happenings.

As is often the case with this kind of folk horror story, the ability to build an intense, spooky atmosphere is vital, and Vitaletti does a fine job of that in The Last Thing Mary Saw. He weaves a world that makes it clear just how oppressive the air of closed-mindedness and hypocrisy is where Mary lives.

The period setting is also lovingly crafted, and the environment is beautifully shot. The candlelit, somewhat shut-in feeling of the scene not only mirrors the spirit of the community but delivers on the kind of tone viewers expect in a film like this. This is a clammy, uncomfortable world a horror lover can believe in and get lost in, even if the experience isn’t always a pleasant one. Incredible makeup, set dressing, and lighting add even more depth to the film’s atmosphere.

Unfortunately, The Last Thing Mary Saw falls a little flat when it comes to taking certain elements as far as it could have. For instance, the supernatural elements are intriguing, but they never quite make it to the point of being truly scary. This is also the type of film that refuses to give you all the answers you’re sure to want – such as what that eyebrow-raising book is really all about or where it came from. There also may not be enough blood or true scares to satisfy dedicated horror fans.

Worth Watching?

There remains something exciting and compelling about The Last Thing Mary Saw. Supported by captivating performances -- especially by the two lead actresses -- and noteworthy art direction, this is a highly watchable film that will undoubtedly leave you under its spell. The Witch it’s not, but it’s still probably worth a watch.

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