Sunday, March 20, 2011

Elements of the Uncanny: The Legend of Bloody Mary

I believe in Mary Worth.

How many of you played the Bloody Mary game as a child? Ha, I know that I sure as hell didn't, and wouldn't if someone dared me to today! Frankly, I love the creepiness of it, but I don't mess with that shit myself. I believe that if you provoke and willingly open your surroundings to it... it's coming in.  

For those of you that aren't familiar with the legend of Bloody Mary here is the general gist of it: You go into your bathroom, and light a single candle. Then you mark yourself, and others if you choose, by writing their names on mirror in front of you.  Then you turn out all of the lights, and challenge Mary but saying "I believe in Mary Worth." Legend has it, that you will see her face flash in front of you, or hell, maybe even come out of the mirror itself and kill you. Why anyone would tempt fate and play this is beyond me, but that's the game.

I chose to write about this topic in my blog this week, because as I was scanning Netflix for a new movie to watch while doing some writing, I came across the title "The Legend of Bloody Mary" and had a quick flashback to second grade. I will never forget the one time I went to the bathroom at recess, and as I was locked in the stall, a group of girls came in and turned off all the lights, and started giggling, saying that they were going to play the Bloody Mary game. Needless to say, I high-tailed it out of there asap, but it's strange to me that at such a young age, they were willing to try to evoke something so evil, and test fate.

But since I never played the game, I was curious to learn more about it - so I watched the movie. To my surprise, I found it quite unsettling and while the movie itself wasn't a 10 on my scale (more like a 5), I can't dismiss it as not being scary because, like I stated above, I wouldn't never mess with that stuff because it's so scary. But overall, the movie was a mixture of Darkness Falls, The Ring, and Urban Legend(s)  in my opinion.
  • Darkness Falls: This movie deals with the legend of the Tooth Fairy, stating that if anyone sees her at night that they will die a very unfortunate death if left in the dark too long. Light is their only savor. It's similar to this movie because darkness is a huge factor when playing the game, and the people that have been traumatized over it, and are having relapses in the film are only effected at night (or by reflective surfaces, since she lives in a mirror).
  • The Ring: This movie deals with a deranged little girl that spread her curse through a video tape, and anyone that watches it will die by her hands in seven days. This movie is similar because while Samara has to be evoked our of her well, Mary has to be evoked to come out of the mirror. Plus anyone that is marked on the mirror is in danger, just like anyone who watched the tape is.  ALSO, there is a scene in the movie where a girl falls asleep on the couch, and Mary is in the TV while the screen is fuzzy, trying to come out to attack her, and nothing says The Ring like a fuzzy TV screen.
  • Urban Legend: I don't feel like I need to explain this too much because the movie deals with urban legends and how someone is actually playing them out to scare everyone - which is essentially what Bloody Mary is entirely based on.... a legend gone wrong.  A group of girls decide that they are going to have a party and subject one girl to play the game (the new girl, go figure) and then basically scare her to death and have a good laugh at it in the end.  Naturally, everything goes wrong, and everyone basically winds up dead, so goes the rules of horror.
What did I like about the movie? :
 I liked the elements of the uncanny in the film, because they dealt with the eye and reflections. In the beginning, we are introduced to a boy that lost his sister to the game, and when he walked in the bathroom to find his sister missing, and the floor covered in blood, his eyes turned blue - as did everyone who was involved in the game, but didn't actually play it. I thought this was a really cool tactic to use, because it's a permanent way to show that something has scarred someone and that they won't ever be able to return to normal.  Even at the end, when things supposedly are returned back to normal, his eyes remain blue, and honestly, I think that is really creepy.

The idea of reflections has also always been a favorite of mine because it's a way of showing your 'double,' so when people look in the mirror in horror movies, and don't see themselves but a deformed version instead, I have to love it- it's like it's showing their true, hidden identity, which in most cases, no one ever wants to reveal. Now both the game and the movie itself are solely centered around mirrors, because throughout legends, mirrors are used as portals (and were used as portals for witchcraft back in history). According to legend, Mary Worth became pregnant out of wedlock, and wouldn't name the father, so the church accused her of witchcraft, saying that she slept with Satan.  Her punishment was to be tied to a tree, and slashed to death in front of a mirror so she could look her sins in the face.  Upon her death, she cursed the town, swearing her revenge and entered the mirror where she would live for eternity waiting to be evoked. Bet you think twice next time you look in a mirror now!

What I didn't like about the movie:
Besides the fact that I think the acting could have been better, and the way the movie was shot needed to be changed -- I really don't like the idea that if someone decides to play the game, that they can mark others that aren't involved and essentially send Mary over to kill them.  I think that has so many plot holes and frankly it drives me crazy because in horror, I feel that you truly have to deserve, in some shape for form, what's coming to you (in these kinds of movies) and when you're unsuspecting and completely innocent and a ghost from the past decides to kill you anyways -- it takes all the fun out of it!

Overall, the movie was a decent watch and if anything brought me up to speed on a legend that I wasn't entirely familiar with.  I would say to give it a go if you don't have anything else to watch, but if you're looking for a good movie to sit down and get the shit scared out of you -- look elsewhere friends. But for the sake of everyone around.. don't play the game.