We give the old Drive-In Review treatment to the Sundance shocker Excision.
Directed By: Richard Bates Jr.
Stars: AnnaLynne McCord, Traci Lords, Ariel Winter, and John Waters
Distributed By: Anchor Bay
Excision is the ultimate teen angst film. Gory dreams and high school drama abound in this great film. It is imaginative and at some places jaw droopingly disturbing. All of these factors make this film stand out amongst the horror crowd.
The film was actually a full length adaptation of a earlier short film that director Richard Bates shopped around the festival circuit during 2008 and 2009. Bates put a lot of heart and soul into his work to immerse the audience with his surreal vision for the entire length of the film.
The film revolves around Pauline (AnnaLynne McCord), a disturbed and delusional teenager who alienates everyone she meets. This is a simple feat for her since she is actually just being her self. Nobody is immune to her wrath, from her domineering mother Phillis(Traci Lords) to every person she talks to in school. In hopes of helping her sister Grace(Ariel Winter) who has Cystic Fibrosis, Pauline aspires to one day become a surgeon. Her desires go much further than just her future career in ER scrubs. Nightly while she sleeps, she has erotic dreams, but these aren’t your normal sexual fantasies of three-ways and multiple positions, they are obscene nightmares of mutilated bodies and even necrophilia.
One such fantasy she actually goes through with is to lose her virginity. This act, instead of empowering her, causes more pain than pleasure for he in the long run. Soon after that, her sister’s ailment worsens, and Pauline decides that she is more than qualified to perform her sister’s lung transplant in order to redeem herself to not only her mother but everyone else who has doubted her.
Lords displays great talent as the overpowering and very proper mother. This makes me giggle a little considering her past in “films” but she delivers one of the best performances in the film. Roger Bart is wonderful as the spineless and (somewhat) sympathetic father. On that note, one must acknowledge that McCord was born to play Pauline and is hardly ever seen truly “acting” in the film. The supporting cast is superb and the cameo by cult legend John Waters, as the local priest/therapist for Pauline is a sight to see.
Now on to the goods.
2 Dead Bodies
Black Mail Fu
And a ending that will have you saying “What the hell did I just watch?”
The only downside to this release is the lack of special features. There is a good commentary track with director Richard Bates and actress AnnaLynne McCord though. It goes a bit into depth behind the cut dream scenes that Pauline has throughout the film as well as insights into production.
The presentation by Anchor Bay really makes the film pop. Blood looks more realistic than most films and colors are as vibrant as can be asked to be. Blacks are solid as well and really show no grain whatsoever. The audio mix is superb as well. The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 audio never becomes muted and dialogue is crisp. If you can get past the very limited special features, this blu-ray is a great edition to any horror fans collection.
After watching Excision one might have to swallow back the bile but this does not mean the film is not enjoyable. It takes you on a ride that few films have and makes you take notice of Richard Bates directing. Remember that girl who didn’t really fit in and was a bit of a recluse? You will once you watch Excision. Here’s hoping you treated her nicely.