Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Blu-ray Review: EXCISION (2012)

EXCISION (2012) 

Label: Anchor Bay Entertainment 
Release Date: October 16, 2012
Region Code: A
Duration: 81 minutes
Rating: Unrated

Aspect Ratio: Anamorphic Widescreen (2.40)
Audio: English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 with English, Spanish Subtitles
Cast: AnnaLynne McCord, Traci Lords, Ariel Winter, Roger Bart, Jeremy Sumpter, Matthew Gray Gubler, Ray Wise, John Waters, Malcolm McDowell, Marlee Matlin 
Director: Richard Bates, Jr.  

Synopsis: Based on writer/director Richard Bates, Jr’s short film of the same name, Excision follows a disturbed and delusional high school student, Pauline (AnnaLynne McCord). Pauline, with aspirations of a career in medicine, goes to extremes to earn the approval of her controlling mother (played by Traci Lords). While dealing with both being an outcast teenager and having an obsession over curing her sister’s cystic fibrosis, Pauline becomes increasingly deranged as her fascination with surgery and flesh and blood grows into something compulsive and demonic, if not epic.

The Film: Wowie, this was a dark-hearted film, and a funny one, too but super dark and certainly twisted - nice to see some original fuck-uppedness out there. Pauline as played by AnnaLynne McCord (TV's Nip Tuck) is an outsider at school, attractive but in a dark, demented way. She's strange and no one seems to care for her, particularly not the popular kids. She doesn't really help herself with fun question in sex ed class like "Can you get an STD from a dead guy?", that's just social suicide in high school and in life after, y'know but she's an inquisitive young lady so what can you do.

She's has dreams of becoming a surgeon and believes she has natural God-given abilities with a scalpel which she hopes to use to cure her sister of her cystic fibrosis, let's just see how that delusion pans out at the end. Speaking of dreams, let me tell you this chic is festering in dark surreal nightmares, fantasies actually, she dreams of crawling naked over masses of corpses, licking mutilated body parts, bathing in a tub of blood and enduring toe-curling orgasms while straddling cadavers on the autopsy table - really bizarre stuff. A virgin at the start of the film she offers her virginity to the boyfriend of one of the popular cheerleaders and this poor douche nozzle just has no idea what he's been invited to partake of, definitely bites off more than he's willing chew.

The film has quite a cast including Traci Lords (Cry Baby) and Roger Bart (Hostel II) as her parents. Bart who plays a sympathetic and henpecked husband to Lords over-bearing but well-meaning mother. We also have some great cameos from Ray Wise (Twin Peaks) as the school principal and Malcolm McDowell (A Clockwork Orange) as Pauline's teacher (how fucked-up a school would that be?) plus a brief cameo from trash-master John waters (Serial Mom) as a priest who futilely attempts to bring the demented Pauline closer to God whom with Pauline speaks regularly about pre-marital sex among other things, very funny. 

Hard to believe this is a first time feature for Richard Bates, Jr., it's very well directed, definitely a guy with vision and a beautiful film too with tons of grotesque and surreal beauty. Hats of to McCord for her performance, very solid and some might think casting an actress as gorgeous as her in the role as some sort of stunt-casting ala Charlize Theron in Monster (2003) but she's got the chops, not a character you will soon forget, totally unhinged and wonderful. 

The film is pretty twisted, if you're a fan of Todd Solondz' twisted coming-of-age film Welcome to the Dollhouse (1999) with some Cronenberg-esque body horror (think Dead Ringers) elements soaked with a wickedly dark wit then this is a film for you, highly recommended. (4 Outta 5)