Excision stars AnnaLynne McCord, who some may know from the teen drama series 90210. I know, I was wary too when I found that out, but this movie proved to me that this girl has some serious acting chops. She plays the part of Pauline, a deranged teenager who is dreaming of becoming a surgeon, but is also dangerously socially awkward. Her demented nature combined with a fascination for blood and flesh is a blend that comes to a shocking climax that had me feeling physically ill. It has been a while since a horror movie did that. Pauline might be the most interesting character within the genre in years and has the potential to become the cult-equal to Carrie.
Pauline struggles with her identity at school, saying she is an outcast is the understatement of the year. Her appearance is as frightening as it is endearing. She has a bony frame, walks hunched over, with dark circles around her eyes and an acne-scarred face. McCord really sells the character. Her way of speaking and weird mannerisms further strengthen her personality. At the same time she is desperately trying to help her sick daughter, who is suffering from cystic fibrosis. At home she is dealing with an hyper-Christian mother, played by Traci Lords, and a sorry excuse for a father who seems to be the manifestation of apathy. I couldn't help to feel sorry for her, while also realising that she is a ticking time bomb of carnage, waiting to go off. This contrast is what really sells the character.
Pauline's reality is often interrupted by daydreaming scenes that give a whole new meaning to the word 'disturbed.' During these short flashes, Pauline reigns supreme as the queen of her carnal fantasies in which she indulges in bloody escapades in gory detail. These scenes go far. I wanted to turn my head away at some points (especially during a scene involving a stillborn foetus), but I couldn't stop watching. Bates' unrelenting style of directing had me hooked all the way through.
The movie ends with a shocker of a scene that rounds this movie off perfectly. After watching it I felt numb for a while, while it slowly dawned on me that I had watched something special, in ail its gruesome glory. McCord carries the film home, aided by strong co-acting by Lords. Not all the characters are as fleshed out as these two, but that hardly impacts the overall tone of the movie. This comes highly recommended for anyone who is looking for a spark of originality in a genre that often seems to break under its own clichés.