Excision Blu-ray Review
Meet Pauline. She’s a high school outcast–no friends, fewer prospective boyfriends, one too many homemade piercings. At night, she has horrific nightmares. There’s the one with necrophilia. And another where a Pauline clone goes into convulsions and vomits blood. Her primary life concern is whether you can contract an STD from having sex with a corpse or not.
Still, she wants to–and expects to–lose her virginity before the year is out. Pauline (AnnaLynne McCord, 90210 and NIP/TUCK) gives classmate Adam (Jeremy Sumpter, FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS) her number. Because of her fetish for all things blood, Pauline times her romp with Adam to coincide with her period. It ends exactly how many of Pauline’s dreams start.
See the humor? You wouldn’t know it from any of the above, but director Richard Bates, Jr.’s Sundance-featured debut, which he adapted from his own 2008 short, is a horror-comedy–or is at least categorized as such. The biggest problem with EXCISION is that it’s hard for the audience to figure out what’s meant to be funny and what’s meant to repulse us. When Pauline gets her period and admires (and smells!) her tampon, or when she vomits on a nemesis’ face in class, are we supposed to be amused or sickened?
The primary influences seem to be Canadian werewolf flick GINGER SNAPS, Brian DePalma’s CARRIE and any D-level David Cronenberg, all of which EXCISION has hints of and allusions to throughout. But EXCISION’s target crowd may be more apt to TEETH, Mitchell Lichtenstein’s 2007 hor-com that starred Jess Weixler as a teenager with a severe case of vagina dentata, more commonly known as the condition where your vagina has a set of dentures ready to chomp…whatever it is that may enter. Like TEETH, EXCISION isn’t sure how to divvy up its shocks and its laughs. If there’s any amateur sexual analysis to be made in EXCISION, fans of either movie would be the ones to offer it.
Though flaws in tone and approach keep EXCISION from feeling focused and daring, the movie is not without merits. All of the dream sequences allow for some disgusting visuals, which suggest Bates, Jr. may have a promising career ahead of him in the horror genre.
The main draw is the talent, namely McCord, who gives a strong performance that is a noticeable departure from her role as Naomi Clark on 90210. For those less familiar with The CW’s Monday night lineup, more familiar faces show up. There’s Malcolm McDowell as one of Pauline’s teacher, Marlee Matlin as a school counselor, Traci Lords as her overbearing mother and John Waters (who else?) as Pauline’s priest/discount shrink.
Video: 2.40:1 in 1080p with MPEG-4 AVC codec. The video presentation on this Anchor Bay Blu-ray is strong. The scenes at school and Pauline’s home show great detail in the sets and characters, while the dream sequences showcase crisp whites for the costumes and vibrant reds for the blood.
Audio: English Dolby TrueHD 5.1. The audio is also very good, with clear dialogue, natural ambience and an effective soundtrack.
Audio commentary with writer/director Richard Bates, Jr. and actor AnnaLynne McCord: Bates, Jr. and McCord have a nice camaraderie that makes this a solid track for fans. The pair go into the themes and overall production of the movie, while keeping a lively discussion throughout.