Coming of age tales about the alienated, outcast and oftentimes disturbed certainly aren't anything new. It's no wonder that the horror movie community embraces these sort of titles, not only for their dark subject matter and socially awkward protagonists, but for the fact that we who love horror share an affinity for a genre so many never have, nor never will understand, and therefore by popular perception we too are alienated, outcasts and disturbed.
Such is the story of Excision and its protagonist, Pauline (played by AnnaLynne McCord), a young woman whose fantasies revolve around necrophilia and dismemberment. It's no wonder she aspires to be a surgeon. She's odd, she knows it and she's damn proud of it. Pauline is the product of an overbearing mother (Traci Lords) and a father who's good intentions were met with such utter disdain from his wife that he seemingly tuned out long ago. Pauline's only balance is her younger sister, Grace, a debutante to be, with a life threatening illness. Despite their obvious differences, Pauline would do anything to save her younger sister as her condition soon begins to worsen. This ultimately culminates in a disturbing finale in which Pauline executes a homemade surgical procedure in the family garage.
Writer/director Richard Bates, Jr. creates a world fraught with dread (you just know it's not going to end well for anyone), but with just enough quirk and black humor to keep it an interesting, almost warm sort of dread. At one point, Pauline approaches "the popular boy" and asks him to take her virginity as if she were requesting a stick of gum. She just chooses not mention that she wants this undertaking to occur while she's menstruating. AnnaLynne McCord delivers a stripped down and wholly unglamorous performance. This definitely isn't 90210. McCord and co-star Traci Lords seem to battle over just who's stealing the show. The best moments in the film occur when they share the screen. Their tenuous mother/daughter relationship is delightfully uncomfortable to watch. Among the extended cast include John Waters, Malcolm McDowell and Ray Wise in small roles. Excision takes its viewer down a dark path. Granted, it's one that horror fans have tread before, but the performances, black humor and bloody finale are worth the price of a rental alone.