Excision (2012)

I have to admit, I have not seen one frame of the reboot of 'Beverly Hills 90210'. As a card carrying member of the generation that grew up with Brandon, Brenda, The Peach Pit and even Joe E. Tata, The thought of venturing back without those characters is a kin to sacrilege (don't try to sell me on the fact that Kelly or Donna shows up every once in a while - no one cared about them anyway). The show must be doing something right though because it's been on a while and seems to have cultivated a pretty good sized audience. With my ignorance to the new '90210' I was unfamiliar with the work of AnnaLynne McCord other than some slutty Halloween pictures from the interwebs. So to say I was pleasantly surprised at her work in 'Excision' would be an understatement.

McCord is Pauline, a 17 year old social misfit whose two biggest goals in life are losing her virginity and becoming the worlds greatest surgeon. Her mother (Traci Lords) is a bitch who gets pleasure out of forcing Pauline into awkward social situations and bullying her soft spoken father (Roger fucking Bart!). She has a younger sister (Modern Family's Ariel Winter) who is slowly dieing from cystic fibrosis and is her inspiration for becoming a surgeon.

As Pauline maps out her plan to self satisfaction she is haunted (?) by visions of herself in other worldly situations. She's performing surgeries. She's having sex. She's having sex while performing surgeries. Have you ever wanted to see AnnaLynne McCord masturbate in a bathtub full of blood? While here is your chance. She slowly (very slowly at times) retreats inside herself, her dreams get more and more graphic and she gets dangerous. Real dangerous.

Writer/Director Richard Bates Jr. does a good job of expanding on the themes he first presented in his short film of the same name. Although there are a few times where it does feel like Bates is just trying to fill time. The film slows down and becomes repetitive during the last half. But coming down from a 9 to a 7 is nothing to sneeze at. Visually, Bates' use of varying color palates, particularly during the dream sequences keeps the film interesting and softens the blow of what would be some visually shocking scenes (self abortion anyone?).

Make no bones about it 'Excision' is a horror film. It's full of enough gore and creepiness to satisfy even the most jaded fan. But the film also works as a black (very black) comedy, with even a couple of laugh out loud funny moments. It's something that John Waters might dream up in his worst nightmares. So it should be no surprise that Waters himself shows up leading a who's who cast of cameos including Ray Wise and Marlee Matlin. Watching Matlin, an Oscar winner for 'Children of a Lesser God' act opposite Traci Lords is something of a surreal experience.

'Excision' may be a little light on actual plot, but it makes up for it in shear balls. The gore adn blood is copious. The supporting cast is tremendous, but it's McCord who steals the show. She goes "ugly"  but unlike other actresses who try it but are still pretty doable, she's hideous. McCord goes full on nasty at times. It's a tremendously off putting performance that makes the film. A lesser actress would be overwhelmed by the coarse language and sheer audacity of the character. It doesn't mean that I'm going to tune in whenever '90210' is on, but maybe next time I see pictures of her bent over in some slutty outfit, I'll think twice before dismissing her as another CW tart.

Check this film out if you have the chance.

**** out of 5

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