Excision (2012)

First published by movieScope

“I don’t know of a teenager who doesn’t profile as a sociopath.”

So says gawky, greasy-haired Pauline (the extraordinary AnnaLynne McCord), looking to all around her like the teen misfit from Welcome to the Dollhouse, even as her vivid dreams, merging sexuality and surgery, reveal she may be closer to the unhinged anti-heroine of May.

And so, Excision charts the horrors of adolescent alienation, as Pauline’s attempts to win the attention and love of her shrewish mother (and to help her ailing younger sister) end in grotesque tragedy.

That each authority figure in Pauline’s life—mother, priest, headmaster, teacher—is played by a one-time screen wildchild (Traci Lords, John Waters, Ray Wise, Malcolm McDowell) suggests that there can eventually be  recovery from growing pains, but alas Pauline’s own perils cut a path of no return. Writer/director Richard Bates Jr. is the exciting new face of disturbing, demented psychodrama.

Anton Bitel