Starring: Anna Lynne McCord, Traci Lords, Ariel Winter
Directed by: Richard Bates Jr.
Rating: Not Rated
Running Time: 81 minutes
I've been wanting to see this movie for quite some time. Once I saw the preview, I was instantly intrigued by the strong visuals and somewhat loose storyline. I came into this movie with an open mind, strong stomach to the abject, and little knowledge to the story.
Pauline is a high school student with aspirations to become a surgeon. She is an outcast not only at her school, but in her home as well. Pauline's mother is an extremely controlling woman and dominates her relationship with her husband Bob who tries to defend Pauline. Phyllis, the mother, is also very overbearing of her younger daughter Grace who has Cystic Fibrosis. Pauline also shares a strong relationship with Grace and in turn tries to defend Pauline as well.
Honestly, I didn't know what to expect from this film, but by the end I was stunned by the content. This movie is definitely not for the weak at heart. The execution is very intense and bizarre, but brings something different to the stereotypical high school outsider movies. Typically, the outsider is transformed to some beautiful or handsome being and finds love or some sort of social acceptance. In Excision, Pauline embraces her outsider status and focuses on her surgical aspirations. With this different approach comes with some mental intrusion, especially during the dream sequences. These scenes and the ending may be the most uncomfortable for viewers.
The actors chosen felt real despite a couple extreme traits found in Pauline and Phyllis. It still felt realistic and audiences can understand how and why the characters function the way they do. This movie does a good job of provoking some sort of emotion toward every character and even challenges those emotions, especially with the characters mentioned above. Viewers may be sympathetic or bias toward one character and conflicted at the end.
Lastly, the visuals are absolutely stunning. In reality, everything feels real and natural. The characters inhabiting the space reinforces this realness as well. The environment feels like viewers could lose themselves in and relate to the area. Once we enter Pauline's fantasies, the colors pop out more and the environment is more sterile and somewhat unreal. Adding the graphic and sexual content to this intangible space may give a sense of discomfort and maybe even self awareness for viewers.
It's rare for a movie to make me uncomfortable, but I definitely enjoyed the experience. The story was interesting and still resonates in my mind to dissect further. The ending definitely encourages discussion and I enjoy that despite the slight frustration I felt when the credits rolled. Of course, I can't recommend this movie to everyone. The content is quite morbid, graphic, and sexual. A lot of times these elements intersect and occur at the same time. If you can stomach these sterilized, grotesque sexual themes, which you can sample from the trailer, then you should be able to survive Excision. You might even have an advantage in getting involved in the story, which can still be a bit unsettling.
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