When funds start to dwindle, Mary becomes rapidly disenchanted with her chosen profession, a situation made worse by her bullying lecturer, Dr. Grant (David Lovgren). However, when she is offered a large sum of cash for a one-off surgery job at the request of a local small-time gangster, Mary finds herself tumbling down the rabbit hole into the bizarre world of body modification. From here-on in, Mary uses her unique set of skills to fulfil the weird and wonderful whims of her 'freakish' customers.
Isabelle rightly steals the show courtesy of her smouldering and deranged central performance, remaining charming throughout despite the horrors she ultimately commits. There is something of Lucrezia Borgia about her character; an intelligent, sexy and deadly woman who knows what she wants and observes no boundaries as to how she achieves her goals. Those she 'works on' make for equally fascinating and fun characters, including a Betty Boop wannabe and a girl desperate to be an anatomically asexual living Barbie doll.
Underneath all of American Mary's surgical surrealism and Gothic horror lies an interesting - albeit light - commentary on identity and a witty inversion of sex and fetishism. Importantly, the directing Soska sisters have successfully avoid simply mocking this subculture, whilst maintaining an entertaining, deliciously macabre tone - put simply, good, gory fun.