Friday, October 19, 2012

Countdown to Halloween Day 19 -- Horrific, Maybe, but Horror ?: Areview of "Excision"

The blurbs for the recent film Excision paint it as a horror film about a morbid little girl obsessed with dissecting roadkill. And while that description is partly true, I feel that the blurb doesn't really capture the spirit of this odd little film.

The protagonists of the film is the morbid Pauline, a socially awkward girl whose parents not only don't understand her, but are often actively hostile towards her while heaping love upon her younger sister who is suffering from cystic fibrosis. Pauline escapes into sexual fantasies of a morbid (and often necrophiliac) nature. Scorned and rejected by everyone around her except her younger sister, Pauline begins to act out in increasingly disturbing ways.

For the majority of the film, Excision plays more as a dark comedy then as horror. As a matter fact, outside of some brief disturbing fantasy sequences, the only real moment of horror happens in the last 10 minutes of the film. I don't want to quibble about the movie's genre label; there have been many horror films which have not featured any true horror until the last reel. However, there is usually a sense of slowly building tension in such films that is largely absent from Excision; if I hadn't known it was being sold as a horror film, the finale would have been doubly shocking due to its escalation of Pauline's mental issues.

That being said, I enjoyed this film quite a lot, even if it wasn't quite what I was expecting. AnnaLynne McCord did a great job making the character of Pauline both engaging and offputting, and I'm curious to see some of her other roles for comparison's sake.  And, for film I've never heard of before it popped up on my Netflix "new releases" page, it had quite an interesting cast, including Marly Matlin, Traci Lords, Roger Bart, Malcolm McDowell, Ray Wise, John Waters, and Ariel "Alex from Modern Family" Winter as the younger sister. I appreciated the films dark humor, even as I kept waiting for it to blossom into something worse.

Excision is not film I would feel comfortable recommending to too many people due to its offbeat feel and disturbing imagery, but if you have a taste for the dark and twisty, you might give it a try.

No comments:

Post a Comment