MARCH 30 » 7:30p
EAST COAST PREMIERE
2012, USA, 92 min.
Director: Richard Bates Jr. Screenwriter: Richard Bates Jr.
Cast: AnnaLynne McCord, Traci Lords and Ariel Winter
DIRECTOR RICHARD BATES JR. IN ATTENDANCE
Official Selection Sundance Film Festival 2012
“Scary, perverse, and yet somehow relatable, EXCISION is certainly the type of genre flick you’ll have a hard time shaking in the days after you watch it..” –Chris Bumbray, JoBlo.com
Pauline is your typical teen in that she’s quarrelsome, sardonic, and flush with hormonal bravado. Gliding through life as a simultaneously awkward and alienating force of nature, her intellect, ego, and preoccupation with homebrewed experimental surgery quite literally sets Pauline a cut above her peers. At least in her mind.
In reality, this unfortunate and unloved creature is accepted only by her ailing but otherwise well-adjusted younger sister, the aptly-named Grace, who is in need of a new set of lungs if she ever hopes to survive cystic fibrosis. Everyone else is understandably repulsed by Pauline’s sociopathic disregard for convention, her imperturbable cold-sore-n-acne-clad veneer, and a sarcastic wit that cuts through bone and social contract. Plus, she’s enthralled by scabs and cutting up dead things with the kind of zeal that warrants significant professional intervention.
It’s everyone’s refusal to embrace this prickly cactus of misunderstood genius, with the exception of little Grace, that forces Pauline to grapple with her increasingly thanatotic, psychosexual fantasies alone through wry conversation with a God she doesn’t believe in. Frustrated and at wits end, her Bible-brandishing mother Phyllis (Traci Lords) thinks forced “therapy” with pastor William (John Waters) and cotillion classes are the cure for her misfit daughter’s maladjustment.
On a mission to lose her virginity, become a surgeon, and save her sister, Pauline’s problems manifest themselves nightly via visually arresting pornoguignol dreamscapes. Building to a fever pitch, dark urges and the need for redemption force her to take matters into her own hands (also literally) with cathartic, if heartbreaking, consequences.
Part black comedy, horror, and modern cult classic, Excision crafts a visuallyrich tale of alienation, redemption, and surviving those awkward teen years with refreshing camp and cleverness. And a lot of blood. AnnaLynne McCord joins the panoply of awkward anti-heroine muses like May (May) and Veronica (Heathers), thoroughly transforming herself into a character that’s at once alien and completely, at times painfully, relatable.
– Nicole McControversy
If the Davids (Cronenberg & Lynch) had co-directed Can’t Hardly Wait, it’d look a little something like this tale of youthful obsession and the grotesque physical manifestations love hath wrought.