Set in Southold, New York, in 1843 during winter, the film begins with the interrogation of a woman named Maiden Mary (Stefanie Scott). Several mysterious deaths have occurred, including her grandmother at their family farm. Maiden Mary is blindfolded during the interrogation for reasons unknown.
The Last Thing Mary Saw is quite a different type of horror film. The film focuses on core characters such as Mary, who are deemed different (or evil) by others in her home. We begin to understand that Mary has affection for the family’s housemaid, Eleanor (Isabelle Fuhrman). When her family realises, a disciplinary/corrective process begins, showing a truly nasty and disturbing side of people within the family. The film slowly reveals that perhaps something evil and disturbing was behind the murders at the farm. The question is, what will be the outcome for both Mary and Eleanor?
The Last Thing Mary Saw attempts to be quite different and unique compared to most horror films. It introduces a different type of suspense by showing us the wickedness that can come from others in how they treat people. Mostly, the film is a slow burn and filled with uncomfortable moments. The plot itself certainly takes a little while to get underway, and truly, I found some aspects throughout the film (especially at the start) tricky to process and grasp. The film builds to the gripping and unexpected finale, surprising me multiple times.
There are many positives about this feature. First, the general look and visuals are quite artistic, and I found them pleasing. While the film is generally dark and uncomfortable, I still enjoyed watching it, and the display was sharp and clear. The audio track side of things is another standout. Even the most basic sound effects were capable of being highly effective in this film. A creepy and tense music score also helps make the audience tense up.
Overall, it’s quite rare to find a horror movie that attempts to deliver something different. Visually this film is pleasing, and the plot delivers many unsettling and disturbing moments when very little is occurring. The film is a slow burn, and honestly, there were some moments within the plot of the first act that I struggled to process and understand. Nevertheless, there is some impressive filmmaking on display here. The journey this film took me on, including the film’s finale, will stay with me for some time, which is always a positive aspect of cinema, thanks to the writer and director Edoardo Vitaletti.