Friday, May 9, 2014

Excision (USA, 2012)

Nine Things about the Movie Excision

1. This bizarrely perverse movie is part family drama, part comedy, and part... grotesque. I really wasn't sure how to feel about it when it was over.

2. It's about Pauline, a ragingly awkward, mentally disturbed young woman who has orgasms when she dreams about herself and others being mutilated.

3. She lives in a dysfunctional upper-class household. Her younger sister Grace is slowly dying from cystic fibrosis, her mother Phyllis (played wonderfully by ex-porn star Traci Lords) is a frigid, pious bitch who browbeats her husband Bob incessantly.

4. The actress that plays Pauline, AnnaLynne McCord, gives an extremely strong performance here. Simultaneously hard to watch but impossible to look away, and she brings a unique tension to her role that I haven't seen before.

5. Knowing that there is something wrong with Pauline, but not wanting to send her to a real doctor, Phyllis has Pauline go to therapy with a church pastor (when John Waters plays a reverend, you know the movie is weird). This causes everyone to miss the increasingly obvious signs that Pauline is headed for a terrible resolution to her delusional life.

6. Pauline tries to make sense of her life by talking to God, even though she doesn't believe in him.

7. The scene where Pauline loses her virginity is one of the more memorable "first-time" scenes ever put on film.

8. The humor in the film is genuinely funny, but it feels out of place, given the rest of the story. This may be intentional, since it just increases the general sense of awkwardness and unease. The script also has an unorthodox intelligence; some of the details in the movie don't really make sense until several scenes later.

9. The more I think about the movie, the more I like it. It is beautifully filmed, uncomfortably violent, and uniquely strange. And I have to give it respect because it pulled emotions out of me that I really have no name for.