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Perhaps the love it or hate it movie against which all others should be measured. I have no idea how to review Excision. Watch the trailer, it might help:

I’ve fallen in love. I’m not exactly sure why. But I have.

Every synopsis I have seen for this movie has been downright misleading, leaving me irked at the various authors’ inability to appreciate this gem. The trailer gives you a flavour of it but doesn’t do it justice. Can I do any better – without ruining it completely? No, but that won’t stop me trying!

Excision is Pauline’s story. A peculiar contradiction, she is at turns sassy and naive,  sweet and disgusting, fiercely honest and hopelessly delusional. A confident social outcast, wannabe necrophiliac, teenager and aspiring surgeon. Yes, I said wannabe necrophiliac.

Her family is dysfunctional. Dad is a wet blanket. Mum is a neurotic, control-freak who dotes upon younger sister Grace and despairs at Pauline’s perverse personality. You would expect the two sisters to have a difficult relationship, with the perfect, girly, dream-daughter Grace as Pauline’s arch-nemesis. But there is a twist in the tale, as Grace has cystic fibrosis. She’s dying. And the relationship between the two sisters is beautiful, as Grace is protective, forgiving and non-judgemental towards her sister, while Pauline dreams of saving her sibling.

And Pauline’s dreams, depicted in glorious, disturbing, beautiful, horrific vignettes are a big part of this movie’s originality and character. They are bizarre and fantastic – letting us see inside Pauline’s delightfully disturbing and peculiarly charming mind.

This is a character piece: we watch and judge each for their culpability in the tragedy which this film is meandering towards, in its horribly beautiful dreamlike and charming way. This film is funny, genuinely. It juxtaposes realism and surrealism in a realistic way. All the actors are amazing and the cast are sublime.

I had no idea who AnnaLynne McCord was. Do I strike you as the type of person who would watch 90210? And under normal circumstances I would have remained in ignorance, but this gem captivated me to the extent that I went and did research! Yes, it is that good. And she’s fabulous. Funny, warm, confident, awkward, vulnerable: she nails this part. The outward misfit and the inner vixen. Many people refer to Pauline as delusional. The special snowflake who thinks she can be magnificent because society has convinced her it can be so, simply through belief. I saw her rather as a tragically flawed character, failed by everyone around her. Bright, articulate, individual and driven – she had great potential but she becomes ensnared by her own fantasies. Given the environment she is forced to inhabit, her tragedy becomes inescapable due to the actions and inactions of those around her.

Traci Lords as Grace and Pauline’s mum is mesmerising. Before I watched, I had no idea this woman was a former porn star and have since discovered the director had to fight to defend his choice of casting her. This woman is a pro – pitch perfect and incredibly talented. She owns this role. No one else could have flipped the audience’s feelings towards her in the final scene so effortlessly. Her scream was ringing in my ears for hours afterwards – it expressed everything perfectly. She had the audience in the palm of her hand and madam, I salute you!

There’s a lot more I would like to say about Excision but I don’t want to spoil it for anyone, I think I have probably said too much already. This film is not for everyone – hell, I’m still surprised it was for me. It is gory in an extreme way (though I found it surprisingly beautiful most of the time) and there are a couple of very controversial scenes. I didn’t find it offensive but many people did. If you like your horror cerebral, character driven, darkly humorous, challenging and very stylish, then I highly recommend this.

Go here for a fabulous interview with director Richard Bates Jr: