Gore-filled black comedy for those with strong stomachs
A blood-drenched slice of menstrual angst, first time writer/director Richard Bates Jr’s horror film, based on his own 2008 short, is most certainly not for the squeamish. A coming of age drama studded with hallucinatory imagery, it opens with a gushing vomit of gore and rarely lets up. And yet for those who can brave the provocation, there’s a neat little black comedy fighting to get out.
Beverley Hills 90210 star AnnaLynne McCord channels her inner Carrie to play Pauline, a dowdy high-schooler whose relationship with her mother (ex-porn star Traci Lords) is overshadowed by the attention focused on her younger sister Grace (Ariel Winter) who suffers from debilitating cystic fibrosis. Despite deliberately losing her virginity during her own time-of-the-month, Pauline still can’t seem to come to terms with her womanhood, and eventually is inspired to a bit of amateur surgery that she believes will win her mother’s heart, but involves excising the organs of an unwitting victim. Heavily telegraphed through several surreal dream sequences, the final bloodbath makes for tough viewing, particularly since the human drama has been so carefully set up.
Bates Jr gets memorably catty performances from McCord and Lords, and has assembled a remarkable supporting cast including Malcolm McDowell as Pauline’s teacher, Roger Bart as her father, John Waters as her psychiatrist and Twin Peaks’ star Ray Wise as her high-school principal. All perform pitch-perfectly at the shrill, intense level of Excision, which pitches itself somewhere between David Lynch and Cronenberg, with a dash of Jane Campion thrown in. It won’t be to many people’s taste, but for those with strong stomachs, Excision presents a strain of horror that’s grounded in real life, and one with more potency that most conventional slasher/torture fare.
Selected release from Fri 2 Nov.