Swift shot: Madison’s friend told her about this film and mentioned it was disturbing but we had to watch it. So, we did. And now I am telling you the same thing, if you like “scary” movies, this one could easily foot the bill. First, it stars a former porn-queen, Traci Lords, who is by far the best actress to ‘come’ out of that industry . . . and if that little pun bothered you . . . two things, stop reading this review RIGHT now and avoid this film forever! But, I can handle being disturbed and repulsed if the rest of the film delivers, much like Silence of the Lambs . . . none would argue it wasn’t a highly repulsive film, yet one of the best films ever made. Excision is a bit like that in that it deserves some real attention, not just for gore-hounds either. The characters have a genuine tactile quality that makes immersion into the film accessible and dreadful.
At the surface, you have a normal American family with a few troubled children in the house. Pauline is a disturbed, and disturbing, eighteen year old girl searching for answers to life’s problems through very direct, easy, paths. AnnaLynne McCord plays the wretched creature, and when Madison informed me she was on 90210, my jaw literally dropped wide open. The makeup team did a fantastic job making her look horrible and horrifying at the same time. And when you see her reflected self, in some nightmare sequences (the little horrors that play out in her mind) she is stunning and almost plastic in appearance. The delivery of these sanguine, sanitized scenes contrasted with the ugliness of her reality, was noteworthy. I would say it was on par with David Lynch to be so bold to draw H-Man’s disbelief. Yes, H-Man, I am serious.
The other daughter in the house, Grace, played by Ariel Winter, has cystic fibrosis and her life is pretty much mapped out on a short timeline . . . to put it less harshly. The father in the film, Bob, is almost an afterthought, but handled well by Roger Bart. He comes across like a feeble man, dominated by his harsh, relentless wife, Phyllis. Traci Lords, arguably does her best work in this film, at least of anything we review on iratefilms.com, folks! Lords as Phyllis is a cold, yet loving mother who is desperately trying to survive with the lousy lots in life dealt her family. She loves both of her daughters, but she can only afford to really get help for one, Grace. Pauline loves her family too, but her mind is demented, and there is no filter for her mouth. If she thinks you are ugly, she will tell you. She has no tact, it’s as if her REAL world is the fake one and her horrific fantasy world is where she rules.
If all that wasn’t enough to earn this film some high marks, there are some hefty cameos, at least some surprises for me. Malcolm McDowell, Matthew Gray Gubler, John Waters, and the biggest shock to me . . . Marlee Matlin, who is in my book a saint! They all lent their talents to this VERY offensive film. If you are religious, this will offend you. If you are squeamish, this will bother you. If you are a parent . . . this film will TERRIFY you! Ultimately, Excision is a film about a warped view of love and protection. Phyllis loves and wants to protect both her daughters. Pauline wants to protect Grace. Grace wants to make everyone happy while facing her own mortality. There is a lot going on in Excision, and McCord just put herself on my radar with her work as Pauline.
If you can stomach some very graphic scenes and themes, Excision won’t disappoint! Also, Director Richard Bates Jr. just got on my radar too for turning in a freaky, fantastic film!