Official Selection, Sundance Film Festival 2012
WINNER: Director’s Choice Award, Boston Underground Film Festival 2012
“HEATHERS if directed by David Cronenberg. A truly unique horror ride into the scariest of all places — the mind of a teenaged misfit” – Chris Bumbray, JO BLOW.COM
“A film in that same treasured outsider-girl vein as MAY and CARRIE, with the shock meter turned up to 11” – Kier-la Janisse, SPECTACULAR OPTICAL
Quirky and uncomfortable, hysterical and horrific, shot through with genuine pain, EXCISION tells the tale of Pauline (AnnaLynne McCord), an awkward, brilliant and hyper-observant teenage outcast, struggling to understand her place in a world of bland normals. As a girl who would rather dissect roadkill than find a boyfriend, she’s never been able to fit in. Her dream in life is to become a surgeon. In fact, her adoration of all things medical borders happily on the fetishistic. Pauline’s home life is every bit as uncomfortable as her existence in school, with a domineering mother (Traci Lords!) and a timid father both too self-absorbed to give her the love she needs. Her only comfort is found with her 12-year-old sister Grace (Ariel Winter), who seems to be the only well-adjusted person in their household. She even gives Pauline social guidance (“boys don’t care about bellybuttons”). Unfortunately, Grace is dying of cystic fibrosis. Her only hope is a lung transplant. This gives Pauline an idea. One that could save her sister’s life while finally winning her acceptance in the eyes of her parents, her classmates, everyone.
If John Hughes and David Cronenberg made their own medically obsessed version of WELCOME TO THE DOLLHOUSE crossed with MAY, this is the film they would likely have conceived. A funny, shocking and soulful powerslam of a teen-outsider film, EXCISION’s unique sensibilities first came into the world as an ingenious short of the same name that many of you fell in love with when Fantasia screened it in 2009. It went on to win nearly 30 awards on the international festival circuit. Writer/director Richard Bates Jr. has spent the last few years adopting his material into a feature that is at once a remake and an expansion, produced on a considerably larger scale and flushed with a surprising all-star cast of oddballs and outsiders. Beyond the aforementioned, look for John Waters, Marlee Matlin, Malcolm McDowell, Roger Bart and Ray Wise. In the leads, McCord turns in a remarkably gutsy performance, virtually unrecognizable here from her 90210 likeness, and Lords startles even the staunchiest naysayers with a turn that cuts as deep as Pauline’s many wounds. A femme-centric youth oblivion tale/reverse coming-of-age tale, EXCISION is in a grisly, eccentric and affecting tragicomedy/horror film that will leave your heart pulled with surgical scars.
— Mitch Davis