Excision is by all accounts a deeply dark and macabre movie about 18 years old Pauline (AnnaLynne McCord), a girl suffering from just about every aspect of her life; not least her sister’s cystic fibrosis condition of which she feels utterly powerless.
Pauline’s parents, Phyllis (Traci Lords, Cry Baby, Blade) and Bob (Roger Bart, Desperate Housewives) appear oblivious to their eldest daughter’s delusional ways. Wrapped up in Pauline’s sister’s (Ariel Winter, Modern Family) illness, both parents miss the vital signs of Pauline getting out of control.
Convincing herself she needs to make her parents proud, Pauline fantasises about ways in which to save her beloved sister. These delusional fantasies make up a large part of the film; magnificently composed despite their perverse, gory content, they contain fetish scenes soaked in blood with a beautifully made-up Pauline writhing over dead bodies – something not for the faint-hearted!
McCord is superb as the awkward Pauline. Absolutely intriguing to watch, she attracts both repulsion and sympathy from the audience. Consistently rejected by society who fails to understand her – nor help her – the climactic end to the film is somewhat predictable. Winter plays Pauline’s sister with a good dosing of sugar, spice and all things nice, and you can’t help but like the character, especially as she seems to be Pauline’s only ally.
Lords and Bart are the perfect juxtaposed parents: Lords plays the ultimate mother struggling to love her wayward daughter, especially with her younger daughter’s life in constant, imminent danger; her husband, Bart, is the definitive opposite to his wife. The two play off each other, frustratingly allowing their daughters to come between them.
Excision is Richard Bates Jr’s directorial debut adapted from his highly praised short film of the same name. Both written and directed by Bates Jr, Excision explores an extreme case of teenage issues; bullying, boyfriends, and horrendously controlling parents.
In each case, Bates Jr allows his imagination (and the red stuff) to flow freely, resulting in some gruesome, yet weirdly artistic imagery to develop.
Sociopathic Pauline is excessively weird and wonderful. Credit is due for her compulsive desire to save her sister, something which in the end may in fact do the opposite.
Her desires begin to stimulate her and the film touches on her sexually gratifying herself through her delusions. Although her real desire is to make her parents proud of her.
Excision should be taken lightly. The title can be interpreted in different ways – literally and metaphorically – but other than that, there is no real implication or hidden meaning to anything within the film’s content.
The film provides a few laughs, but the dark humour will only really entertain those who favour gore. A suitable genre for the Halloween period but the film will not appeal to mass-market due to its content. Excision is indeed well-deserving of its 18-rating.
Excision is released nationwide on 2nd November 2012.
Watch the trailer for Excision here: