Critics Consensus

Excision effectively blends body horror and adolescent drama, although its visceral aggression definitely isn't for all tastes.



Total Count: 25


Audience Score

User Ratings: 2,331
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Movie Info

A surgery-obsessed teen struggles with her outcast status while plotting to lose her virginity and save her sister from the ravaging effects of cystic fibrosis in this genre-bending shocker from writer/director Richard bates, Jr. Pauline (Annalynne McCord) is a pretty young girl whose penchant for picking scabs has escalated into a fanatical obsession with the flesh. Recognizing this, Pauline's stern mother insists that the young girl visit the church therapist for counseling. Incensed at the prospect of being judged by a religious hypocrite, Pauline only delves deeper into her visceral fantasies while concocting an ingenious plan to impress her mother. Meanwhile, as Pauline begins devising ways to combat her younger sister's cystic fibrosis, her adolescent hormones kick into overdrive. Traci Lords and John Waters co-star. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi


Critic Reviews for Excision

All Critics (25) | Top Critics (5) | Fresh (21) | Rotten (4)

  • It could have been David Cronenberg meets Todd Solondz, but ends up more of a cautionary cartoon on things you shouldn't try at home.

    Nov 1, 2012 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

    Steve Rose

    Top Critic
  • An overripe mélange of Cronenbergian 'body horror' and alienated Lynchian weirdness.

    Oct 30, 2012 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

    Nigel Floyd

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • Excision is technically polished juvenilia that provokes without resonance.

    Jan 24, 2012

    Robert Koehler

    Top Critic
  • Excision is a supremely nasty piece of work in the best way possible.

    Jan 23, 2012 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…

    Nathan Rabin

    AV Club
    Top Critic
  • This is one of the damnedest "adolescent misfit" movies you'll ever see -- for those who can stomach the splatter, that is.

    Jan 23, 2012 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…

    Noel Murray

    AV Club
    Top Critic
  • Excision has a delightfully depraved center with a knockout performance from AnnaLynne McCord.

    Jul 8, 2019 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Excision

  • Oct 16, 2016
    The most surprising thing about this movie is the fact that Traci Lords, a former pornographic actress, has turned into a surprisingly solid actress. She's actually quite good in this movie as the domineering mother who expects things to be done her way and everyone who disagrees with her is in the wrong. With that said, however, I don't know if this can be classified so much as a horror movie. It definitely has some horror elements, like Pauline's increasingly violent and disturbing dreams, for example there's one where she has sex with a corpse, there's one where she removes her own head from someone else's body, there's one where she has an abortion and this person puts the fetus in this oven where it proceeds to blow up, etc, etc. When she wakes up, she is clearly turned on by her dreams, so that tells you a lot about her. These scenes with the dreams can definitely be classified as horror, but the movie as a whole, to me, can't. I think it's more of a character study into the mind of a very disturbed, yet vulnerable, teenage girl that does whatever she can to gain some sort of attention from her mother, who's only really worried about Pauline's sister, who's suffering from cystic fibrosis. Grace, Pauline's sister, sees her health deteriorate throughout the film. This is very important, as Pauline spends, pretty much, the entire film coming up with these ideas to get some sort of attention from her mother. At least the attention that she wants, since all she gets from her mother is disapproval or statements about how disappointed she is in Pauline's actions. So, Pauline, seeing that her mother really only cares about Grace, devices a plan to help save her sister, so her mother will finally love her. It's actually really fucking sad if you think about it. That the only way Pauline feels she'd get her mother's love is if she saves the daughter she actually shows some sort of affection for. The movie doesn't exploit this theme, thankfully, but it's actually pretty heartbreaking if you actually think about it. It also helps when you have AnnaLynne McCord puts forward an absolutely incredible performance in this film. Seriously. She is phenomenal in this role as she portrays this character that does all these things that might make her seem unlikable, but it's really just a call for attention and yet none of it works. Thankfully, though, the movie has a very clear obvious sense of humor that helps alleviate some of the film's darker and more disturbing themes or scenes. My favorite scene, from a comedy standpoint at least, has to be one with Marlee Matlin where she's thankful she's deaf after witnessing an argument between Pauline and her mother. The last act of the movie, where Pauline is finally pushed to the edge and she completely loses everything that made her sane, goes to some pretty dark places. But, again, it does reveal another layer of how sad Pauline's quest for her mother's love and approval really is. Honestly, I thought this was a really damn good movie. The writing is really strong and the acting, particularly from AnnaLynne, is pretty damn good as well. That adds up to what, I felt, was a really good movie and one that I would definitely recommend.
    Jesse O Super Reviewer
  • May 09, 2015
    Adapted from a short film of the same title. Pauline is a mentally disturbed girl with low self esteem. Her family consists of a controlling mother, sister with cystic fibrosis and uncaring father. She is constantly bullied at school while having orgasmic dreams about mutilation and gore. When Pauline was finally pushed to her limits, she will do anything to achieve her dream of becoming a surgeon and helping her sister. A meshup of Welcome to the Dollhouse and May, it combined surrealism with the pain of coming of age. AnnaLynne McCord delivered an outstanding performance. Not the best film ever but it was certainly entertaining.
    Sylvester K Super Reviewer
  • Jan 23, 2014
    Empathy for the troubled lead character Pauline, a sardonic 16-year-old who experiences increasingly violent and bloody nightmares/visions, quickly erodes because, well, she's just so nasty to everyone! That makes her an extremely atypical protagonist and AnnaLynne McCord deserves considerable credit for tackling such an unflattering role with aplomb, but the payoff, albeit shocking, is really not worth the journey. We never understand her or her dementia and the visions are truly disturbing. On the plus side, Traci Lords likely has the biggest role - make that the biggest <i>speaking</i> role - of her career in a wry slice of casting as Pauline's bitchy repressive mother.
    Doctor S Super Reviewer
  • Dec 16, 2013
    basically a gory sequel to Welcome to the Dollhouse.
    Stevie S Super Reviewer

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