Director: Richard Bates Jr.
Starring: AnnaLynne McCord, Roger Bart, Ariel Winter, Traci Lords, Matthew Gray Gubler
Heal the sickness
Pauline is a bit weird. She is an outcast at school and an outcast within her own family. Her relationship with her parents aren’t the best, but she adores her younger sister Grace who is sadly struggling with cystic fibrosis.
Pauline dreams of one day becoming a surgeon, not because she wants to help other people, but rather because the job would be able to satisfy her own ego and sexual thirst for body mutilation and blood. Her delusional plans and love for her sister will eventually put the entire family at risk.
Excision is a strange and unique indie film that deals with a story that could probably never have been told by a big Hollywood studio that do business by keeping focus on how they can make the most money out of their investments. The creators behind Excision only had the intention of delivering a new story to the world in a new fresh way.
Even if the film is morbid and dark, it actually starts out being a bit funny (if you have a sick sense of humour that is). It’s just as much a family drama and psychological thriller as it is a horror film and it isn’t even really concerned with playing within genre rules. It feels like screenwriter and director Richard Bates Jr. knew exactly what he wanted to create and I’m sure he is very happy with what he accomplished with his debut feature.
His cast was also very impressive, both in who he actually got for the parts and the performances he got out of them. AnnaLynne McCord is transformed from normally being a lovely model looking female into a disgusting, awkward and somehow confident teenage girl with the main character Pauline. To write too much about the character would almost be like spoiling the film, I’ll just say that Pauline is different from anyone else you’ve seen in movies.
The supporting cast is also very good. Traci Lords is amazing as Pauline’s mother Phyllis, a woman who desperately wants to have a normal family and demands that the rest of the family shares her unrealistic ambitions. They could have went with a typical too demanding and evil type of mother, but instead they made her normal and makes you also feel for her, which is why the terrifying ending to the film works so well.
Even though all of the characters are excellently fleshed out, the story is unique and the direction is great, the film does have some negative parts. I didn’t care much for the virtualization of Pauline’s inner thoughts. Not that they weren’t well crafted, they just didn’t do much for me. It also don’t feel like the story doesn’t go anywhere before the clever ending, and for the impatient viewer that might be a bad thing.
Excision is a unique and well crafted film and for that alone I want to recommend it. It is however not for everybody, but if you are up for something new and fresh then give it a go. Although I didn’t love it, there’s enough good stuff about it that makes it worth watching and I’m curious to see what Richard Bates Jr. does next.