Director: Richard Bates Jr
Starring: Annalynn McCord, Traci Lord, Ariel Ward, Roger Bart, John Waters, Marlee Matlin
Written by: Richard Bates Jr
Running Time: 81 mins
Released date: 28th October 2012
I have always had a problem with modern horror films. Very few of them really know what the meaning of the word is. Too many times they have relied on the “Quiet, quiet, LOUD!” approach to making the audience jump. To me, that’s not horror. Horror is actually making you squirm. Modern horrors are far too much like bad made theme parks. Which is why Excision is such a refreshing film. Never once did I jump but I certainly squirmed, several times. This is not an easy film to watch and yet it has so much going for it to recommend it.
Pauline is a young girl with a few problems. Dowdy, bad skin and a complete loner, she lives with her dominating mother and her younger sister, who is suffering from Cystic Fibrosis. Pauline dreams of being a surgeon so she can save her sister but is also suffering from some pretty grisly dreams that fulfill her sexually. So while coping with a mother who wants to rule her world, a school that hates her, Pauline’s twisted world of fantasy soon become reality.
I have to warn you that this doesn’t pull any punches. It is a very disturbing, incredibly gory affair that doesn’t leave too much to the imagination, and yet it is full of imagination, some incredibly sick. Pauline’s dreams are filled with bloodied bodies, helping her relieve her sexual appetite. If you are easily offended, then maybe this isn’t for you either.
But if you can handle some shocking imagery then you will be rewarded with an inventive tale of teenage angst, played out by a cast that you wouldn’t expect to be so good.
As Pauline, Annalynn McCord, known more for being one of the beautiful people in 90210, is given a make-under and she is magnificent as the mentally unbalanced teenager whose world is, to be honest, utterly twisted. She should be completely unlikeable and yet there’s a vulnerability that works and she becomes more fascinating than just pure evil.
Then there’s her nemesis, her mother. She would have to be the Ying to Pauline’s Yang, a forceful woman who hates that she cannot control Pauline. So who would you immediately turn to so you can fill that role? That’s right, ex porn legend, Traci Lord. What? Traci Lord? Actually, this is a real coup as she is extremely impressive in the part. (And she never takes her clothes off once). Now a middle aged woman, she has matured into a very solid actress and it wouldn’t surprise me if we don’t see her tackling bigger roles in the future. Yes, she’s that good.
Writer/director Richard Bates Jr manages to mix the human drama with a dash of very black humour and then lashings of blood and gore in equal proportions. It never gets too homely or doesn’t get too funny. It is played out just right and although images of necrophilia might be putting things to the limit, then it does but has the decency not to linger too long.
It’s not for everyone, as I said but this is an ambitious and brave film that doesn’t need the modern trappings of horror to shock. It manages to do it all on its own merits and if you like proper horror, then this is definitely for you.