13 June 2012 | ozraw
This film played as part of the 2012 Sydney Film Festival's "Freak Me Out" section. Director, Richard Bates Jr, set out to make a movie that he and his friends would have loved to watch in high school. This he's achieved and so much more.
From the outset, Excision seizes your attention, with its deliciously macabre imagery and malevolent audio track. Unfolding amidst the perfect banality of middle class suburbia, the stage is set for a savage assault on your sensibilities.
Annalynne McCord is fantastic as Pauline - the slouched, ragged, blemished, sociopathic, vexed atheist, sangrephile*, virgin with surgical aspirations and necrophilic fantasies.
In fairness, the entire cast is impressive. You need to keep in mind that this film is the debut feature for a 25 y/o and he claims that persistence worked a charm in signing the talent -- including an Academy Award Winner!
But it's the fantasy sequences that will leave you truly in awe of Excision. Pauline's dreams are tantalisingly lurid, so utterly vile -- yet shot so beautifully. Luminous and vibrant, these scenes impact and leave a stain that won't come out in a cold wash. In fact, at least one person passed out at the screening I attended -- for real.
Far from wallowing in this depravity, Excision succeeds in exploring complex relationships, themes of religious zealotry and how problematic being a self-taught expert can be. All this and a killer soundtrack to boot.
I have to add that I had the extraordinary privilege of enjoying the greatest Q&A session in Sydney Film Festival history! Richard Bates was "slightly intoxicated" and proceeded to share some outrageous stories with us all. It caused a slight scandal, but, given the content of the film we all came to watch, his conduct was completely acceptable. Moreover, it was rare to see a person be so genuine and hysterically funny.
With his next project in the works, Richard Bates Jr just might be a name to keep an eye out for. I mean, if Peter Jackson can start with Bad Taste...I'm just sayin'... ;)
More importantly, for those of you with a taste for twisted film making - Excision is a must see.
*sangrephile - I made this up because I couldn't find a word for someone who loves blood & isn't a vampire!