EXCISION (2012) Reviews of Richard Bates Jr’s bizarre dark comedic horror

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Excision is a 2012 American darkly comedic horror film about a disturbed, delusional high-school student with aspirations of a career in medicine goes to extremes to earn the approval of her controlling mother.

Written and directed by Richard Bates Jr. (King Knight; Tone-Deaf; Suburban GothicTrash Fire). It is a feature-length adaptation of Bates Jr.’s 2008 short film of the same title.

The movie stars AnnaLynne McCord, Traci Lords, Ariel Winter, Roger Bart, Jeremy Sumpter,  Malcolm McDowell, Matthew Gray Gubler, Marlee Matlin, Ray Wise and John Waters.

Plot:
Pauline is a disturbed and delusional high school student with aspirations of a career in medicine. She goes to extremes to earn the approval of her controlling mother. She fantasises about performing surgery on the other students. She has vivid dreams about herself and others being mutilated.

Meanwhile, Pauline has a younger sister named Grace that has cystic fibrosis, who she decides to save at any cost…

Capsule review:
Excision is a suburban horror that becomes increasingly weird and warped as it progresses. It’s unlike anything you’ll have seen before, and for that alone deserves praise. With the stylish direction from Bates Jr, the remarkable performances from the lead actresses and a very, very messed up collection of visual images, this is one to savour.

David Flint, MOVIES and MANIA

MOVIES and MANIA rating:

Other reviews:
“Bold, confident and incredibly vivid, Bates Jr.’s Excision is a must-see for anyone who enjoys their horror films with a liberal seasoning of humour and a demented desire to repulse and entertain in equal measure.’ Cine Vue

“It’s been a full 24 hours since I watched Excision, and I’m still uncomfortable. I can’t tell if I’ve been told what it’s like to be crazy, a no holds barred humanitarian or a late-blooming woman, but it wasn’t quite effective in any of those ways.” Cinema Blend

” …Excision is a refreshingly malicious take on teenage angst. Director Richard Bates Jr. crafts a boundary-pushing tale of suburban horror anchored by a committed McCord, who is nearly unrecognizable as troubled teenager Pauline. Excision isn’t for everyone, especially its bizarre sexual violence, but those up for its stomach-churning thrills are in for a darkly comic treat.” DVD Talk

“It’s a smart and unique film that sometimes feels like Mean Girls if remade by David Cronenberg and one of 2012’s biggest surprises. Highly recommended, but admittedly not for all tastes.” Good Efficient Butchery

“It’s a black comedy that makes you feel awkward because you may see you as the type of character onscreen. Pauline’s witty comebacks and contradictions will make you laugh, but oddly make you think as well. Excision is that little film that questions our American values and whether or not we can find happiness in who we are and whether or not we can do it while we’re a little bit crazy.” The Jaded Viewer

“Despite not finding Excision to be my sort of thing there is no denying that AnnaLynne McCord certainly delivers an incredibly committed performance from having that unkempt dirty look to her enjoyment of the macabre. And surrounding her are a surprising number of familiar faces in bit parts which when you see this movie features John Waters you can expect something weird.” The Movie Scene

” …first-time director Richard Bates is the real star here. He deftly uses black humor to underscore his script’s brutality, and his visual flair — Pauline’s gory yet gorgeous dream sequences are part Matthew Barney, part Dario Argento — turns this dark coming-of-age story into a genuine nightmare.” Rolling Stone

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Excision isn’t for the weak of heart or those hoping for a simple-minded watch, but can most certainly be a rewarding endeavor for any viewer needing a good character piece full of personalities worth a good psycho-analysis. Director Richard Bates Jr. pushes the boundaries of realism and understanding in forcing his assessment of hot button issues on audience members through images that certainly have the ability to offend, and poses questions about ourselves we certainly may not want to know the answer to.” We Got This Covered

YouTube reviews:

Watch the Excision trailer on YouTube

Cast and characters:
AnnaLynne McCord as Pauline
Traci Lords as Phyllis (Not of This Earth)
Ariel Winter as Grace
Roger Bart as Bob
Jeremy Sumpter as Adam
Malcolm McDowell as Mr Cooper
Matthew Gray Gubler as Mr Claybaugh
Marlee Matlin as Amber
Ray Wise as Principal Campbell
John Waters as William
Molly McCook as Natalie
Natalie Dreyfuss as Abigail
Cole Bernstein as Kimberly
Emily Bicks as Breanna
Brennan Bailey as Sebastian
Matthew Fahey as Nathan
Sidney Franklin as Timothy