So, we’ve been less than shy about our coverage of Excision (available October 16th from Anchor Bay Films). First off, the trailer/ marketing campaign alone was enough to get me tight in the pants. I’ll admit, I was hopeful. I was yearning for this movie to be awesome. So many people I enjoy, so many morose concepts spun into one sordid and, potentially, kick ass tale. Granted, beyond the preceding trailers and press, I was merely going off of gut instincts. I’ve been burned before, though. I’ve hoped and prayed, left disappointed. It sucks. Excision was a time I didn’t want that to happen. Thanks to its writer/director Richard Bates Jr. and an INCREDIBLE performance from AnnaLynne McCord, today felt like my birthday, Christmas, and the first time I smoked weed all wrapped up in a sweet burrito.
Excision is truly a coming-of-age story. It is about a young woman named Pauline who is trying to do what so many teenage girls before her have done; trying to find her place in the world. She has a shitty relationship with her mother (Traci Lords) who is painfully overbearing. Pauline isn’t like the other girls, as the cliche goes. And she really isn’t-she isn’t boy crazy. She dreams of surgery. She has ambitions of a medical career. Those dreams are connected to both her sex drive and her overactive psyche. Not your average struggle. In addition to the usual bullshit that high school brings (catty bitches, slimy boys, nasty teachers), she has a younger sister suffering from cystic fibrosis in need of a lung transplant. All of that volatility culminates into a dramatic and explosive finale that hoists Excision to the top of the heap for 2012.
Excision is perfection. It is the type of film I long for every time I sit down to watch a movie. You hope to run this range of emotions but rarely is a film this giving. Richard Bates Jr. compiled the best elements of horror, black comedy, and tragic drama and succeeded. It’s success is derived from finding a great cast to deliver such insane material. First off, AnnaLynne McCord’s transformation for Excision is award worthy. Her performance as the sociopathic Pauline is magic. While it was intentional to portray her as a frank, methodical lunatic, it should be McCord who is credited for turning Pauline into the star she is. Her delivery is best described as “deadpan smirk”. Pauline knows she’s funny. But while other characters with this approach are considered “quirky”, Pauline most certainly is not. There’s nothing cutesy about her. Her thoughts and methods are dangerous. Without giving too much away, Pauline does ultimately want to do something great, but it makes her methods no less dangerous. That element is what gives McCord’s performance so much credence. If there ever was a role she was “born to play”, this is it.
The other breakthrough performance in Excision is from the always interesting Traci Lords. Lords portrays Pauline’s stuffy white bread mother with some demons of her own. Her pursuit for the picturesque family lifestyle is constantly disrupted by a daughter who does not fit her mold. Lords not only masters the demeanor necessary to play the role, but gives us glimpses into the mother’s past. She has experienced some terrible things and it comes through in the desperate attempt to maintain “perfection”. Traci Lords, who’s experienced her fair share of darkness, went somewhere personal for this role and came back with a level of intensity I’ve never seen her use. It was a reminder that beyond her notoriety, she is immensely talented. When you hit the final frames of the movie, prepare for an overwhelming wave of emotions that stem from the performances laid out by McCord and Lords.
With all the anticipation that lead up to Excision, I was uncertain that it was capable of living up to my personal expectations. Richard Bates met and exceeded that. He’s mastered a delicate balance. When dealing with such touchy (and taboo) subjects, it can be easy to exploit the ideas being examined. Excision juggles those swords and still manages to make the characters lovable. Even now as I type this, I am having a hard time properly conveying the strong feelings I have for this movie. It has awoken a fanboy-like obsession in me that has me opining over its greatness to anyone who will listen. Excision has hoist itself atop the best movies of 2012. Make sure you get your hands on this as soon as possible.