Review by Jude Felton
Look around message boards and any of the social networks and you will quite often see one recurring theme, when it comes to horror films; that there is no good or original movies been made any more. Well, step right up and get your laughing gear around Excision. This is a delightfully sick, twisted, touching and quite often hilarious movie. In fact, to call it straight ahead horror is a little misleading, as there is a coming of age tale in here, a very black comedy, a high school drama and guts and gore. Lots of claret in here my friends, of that you can be sure. This is dark cinema at its finest, and deserves your attention as soon as possible.
To explain the plot to you, I could go in two very different directions; it’s that sort of film. On the one hand you have a family drama played out, with Pauline at the center of it. She’s always at odds with her mother, thinks the world of her sister, all the while her spineless father sits by and watches everything unfold.
On the other hand, I could tell you that Pauline is highly disturbed, loathes her mother, even though she is constantly trying to get her approval. On top of this she is on a journey of sexual discovery, and is haunted by extremely graphic psycho-sexual dreams, or fantasies if you prefer. It is quite obvious that Pauline has a few screws loose in her head; she is obviously a very intelligent girl, yet her social graces leave a lot to be desired.
Pauline’s mother is insistent that she attends a class on social etiquette, much to her horror, and visits with the local priest don’t seem to be helping very much. On top of all of this, Pauline aspires to become a surgeon, which will all come to ahead in probably one of the most shocking manners I have seen in some time.
Quite honestly, Excision is pitch perfect in its tone and look, the script is wonderful and every performance is perfect. Traci Lords, as Pauline’s mother is just terrific, and Roger Bart as her father gives a hysterical performance, although it is AnnaLynne McCord who really steals the show, with her awkward and provocative outing as Pauline. There is also room for appearances by John Waters, Malcolm McDowell and Ray Wise, all of whom add a little something to proceedings, without ever distracting you from the main story.
I could hark on for pages about how much I enjoyed this film, but I won’t. Suffice to say that it is a breath of fresh, and bloody, air and a kick in the ass of horror. I watched the film on Blu-ray and it looks absolutely gorgeous, especially in Pauline’s dream sequences, and the sound is nice and clean.
There are so many elements at work here, that all combine to make this film unique. Whilst watching it I got a vibe that blended parts of Martyrs, Heathers, May and even American Horror Story, all into the mix, yet this remains very much its own film. Director, Richard bates Jr. has, on his feature length debut, nailed a quite exceptional film.
I will say that due to its disturbing content, and believe me it is very disturbing in places, and unique plotline, that it might get lost on some less patient viewers, although I hope not. If you are looking for something original, that will stick in your mind long after it finishes (and it will), then I suggest you check this film out post haste. I wasn’t sure what to expect, and it will confound your expectations, and this is just one of the reasons that it works so damned well. Excision is original, shocking and exceptionally well made, and just might already have found itself in my end of year list. Yes, it is that good.
Excision is released on Blu-ray and DVD by Anchor Bay on October 16th.