Where do I begin on this one? How can you write a review for a film that opens with a girl, covered in blood, masturbating, while bleeding from her mouth and ears? This is just how crazy this film gets. Originally a short film by the same name, Richard Bates Jr.’s debut feature film is a classic gem added to the genre.
Starring Annalynne McCord as Pauline, an eighteen year old outcast, shun by her high school colleagues, repeatedly reprimanded by her professors, and almost constantly criticized by her mean, nagging, and downright obnoxious mother Phyllis (Tracy Lords). The teen, though academically a failure, has delusional ambitions of becoming a surgeon, led mainly by her rather disturbing fascination with blood. Her behavior is as described by her mother “sometimes downright sociopathic”, however she seems to express genuine affection towards her sister Grace (Ariel Winters), the sweetheart of the family who suffers from cystic fibrosis.
All throughout the film, grotesque vignettes are shown in the form of Pauline’s astoundingly perverse dreams. In her dreams, she is no longer the greasy haired, slouching girl with acne in her face, instead she’s the closest thing to a model. The erotic tone maintained in these dreams, as well as the copious amounts of blood found in them, show Pauline’s deeply damaged psyche, as in them, she is somewhat of a surgical goddess. Distorted as they may be, the sequences seen in the main character’s fantasies are both enigmatic and hypnotizing, retaining an avant-garde feeling to them that keeps the viewer from looking away. Of course, at this point it is needless to say that if you’re ever the tiniest bit squeamish about blood, then this is not the film for you.
Whether intentionally or not, Excision shines a light on psychological disorders going untreated. Pauline’s mother, refuses to send her daughter to a psychiatrist due to the high cost, instead, and as a result of the mother’s religious background, Pauline is sent to visits to the reverend of their local church (John Waters), which are unsurprisingly useless. Had their been a form of actual therapeutic interference in the life of Pauline, could the gruesome finale have been avoided ? that’s up to the viewer to decide.