The Last Thing Mary Saw (2021) [Fantasia Film Festival 2021]

Two young women find themselves at the center of unwanted attention after they are accused to evil doings. As they only love each other and are under scrutiny, the family’s matriarch dies under mysterious circumstances and everything comes falling onto the two young women. 

Written and directed by Edoardo Vitaletti, this is a strong piece of supernatural horror with a touch of old timey regular life horror. This film is all about the atmosphere and the characters. There is so much to see in the set-ups, the decors, the lighting, the costumes, etc. It’s a lush dark film that is not afraid to show what it wants and actually uses lighting the right way to make the most of its scenes. Vitaletti clearly know what he’s doing and he shows it by letting his film talk for him. The way scenes are built, how thing go down in the story, and how the characters are written are all quite strong. His work here shows that this is a writer/director to watch for. With only one short done before this feature, The Last Thing Mary Saw is a fantastic first feature. 

The cast here is strong, really strong. Leading the pack are Stefanie Scott and Isabelle Fuhrman who play the lead Mary and Eleanor respectively. Their work here is something to be watched. They both give subtle, layered, nuanced performances, the kind of performances that make a film like this. They clearly know what they are doing, they also had great direction, and good scene partners and it shows. Either of them, when not both of them, are on screen at almost any given moment on the film and it is their film. Playing an intruder and a more known face to most film viewer is Rory Culkin. Here he has a face marking that is part of his character and he takes this as part of his performance. He plays sad, yet evil quite well. The rest of the cast is also quite good, of course not all are given the same time to shine, but they still all turn in great performances. 

The cinematography by David Kruta is absolutely superb. The images put to the screen here are beautiful, well-lit, and easy to get into. It gives the film a lush feel and a look that works great for both the story and the viewer. The look of the film here is one thing that is just so on point, it’s just about perfect. Something like this in a lower budget film is something that needs to be celebrated and shown to more audiences. The look of this film is something that will make many wish they could have seen this on the big screen, so if such an opportunity is available, one should absolutely go for it.

The Last Thing Mary Saw is a film that shows some harsh realities of a bygone era along with some potentially supernatural horror in a beautiful manner. The film looks stunning and the performances are strong and nuanced in just the right way. This is a film about the little details and it makes the most of its story and feel. It’s one of those film to be seen. 

The Fantasia International Film Festival runs every year, and this year runs virtually from August 5th until August 25th.