If you can survive the excruciatingly boring first half hour of Dead Mary, you'll find a watchable horror movie. If the plot were a road, you couldn't walk on it because of a limitless number of potholes, the whole thing doesn't really make much sense, and Dead Mary herself really has nothing to do with what happens, but you can't help but enjoy seeing very bad things happen to such whiny, annoying characters you've learned to hate with every fiber of your being. If you were to take Candyman, Evil Dead, and Cabin Fever, mix them all up together, and extract most of the enjoyable essence that bubbles to the top, you'd have Dead Mary. Actually, apart from the first half hour, I found Dead Mary even more enjoyable than Cabin Fever (but that's not saying much, as I found Cabin Fever extremely disappointing).
Apparently realizing that there have been plenty of movies already featuring a bunch of dumb kids ruing the day they played Candyman or Dead Mary or Dead whoever in front of the mirror, the filmmakers made the bold decision to assemble a group of thirty-somethings playing the same old scary parlor game. Unfortunately, that doesn't happen until we've been forced to mix and mingle with these miserable human beings for far too long. Let's just say this isn't the fun-loving reunion the characters expected it to be. Matt (Jefferson Brown) and Kim (Dominique Swain) are in the middle of breaking up and thus are at each others' throats, the marriage of Dash (Michael Majeski) and Amber (Reagan Pasternak) seems to be based on mutual cheating, the loner Eve (Marie-Josee Colburn) is almost hot but just can't pull it off, and Baker's (Steven McCarthy) new girlfriend Lily (Maggie Castle) feels out of place because the doesn't know anyone. The first half hour is devoted completely to general bitching and stories about who is screwing whom. Then, finally, the Dead Mary gauntlet is laid down (you know, say "Dead Mary" three times in front of a mirror and you'll see her).
I was happy to see the character that annoyed me the most be the first to die; it's never all that clear how that person dies, but it happens in such a way to introduce some mutual suspicion among the others. It's obviously not a normal death, as most dead people don't reanimate themselves and start telling everyone else's secrets. Somehow, this is enough to convince the others that one of them could have the same deadly affliction (I'm going to call it Evil Dead-itis) but still appear normal -- and that you can only catch whatever it is when you're alone. The movie does succeed to some degree in keeping the viewer guessing as to whom the monster in disguise actually is, but the best thing it has to offer are some moderately gory scenes and the satisfaction you get from watching such miserable human beings meet such gruesome ends.
One character was smart enough not to even show up. Throughout the really long weekend, everyone keeps waiting for this dude named Ted to arrive. You would think the mystery of Ted's failure to appear would be an important plot point sooner or later. Well, that kind of reasonable expectation is quite wasted on Dead Mary, a film that fails to explain quite a bit about itself.