Excision (film)

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Excision poster.jpg
Promotional release poster
Directed byRichard Bates, Jr.
Produced byDylan Hale Lewis
Written byRichard Bates, Jr.
Music by
  • Steve Damstra II
  • Mads Heldtberg
CinematographyItay Gross
Edited by
  • Yvonne Valdez
  • Steve Ansell
BXR Productions
Distributed byAnchor Bay Films
Release date
  • January 21, 2012 (2012-01-21) (Sundance)
Running time
81 minutes
CountryUnited States

Excision is a 2012 American horror film written and directed by Richard Bates, Jr., and starring AnnaLynne McCord, Traci Lords, Ariel Winter, Roger Bart, Jeremy Sumpter, Malcolm McDowell, Matthew Gray Gubler, Marlee Matlin, Ray Wise, and John Waters. The film is a feature-length adaptation of the 2008 short film of the same name. Excision premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival.[1] Excision played in the category of Park City at Midnight.[2]


Pauline is a disturbed and delusional high school student, with aspirations of a career in medicine, who goes to extremes to earn the approval of her controlling mother. Pauline has a younger sister named Grace who suffers from cystic fibrosis. Pauline has vivid dreams about herself and others being mutilated with excessive amounts of blood; and after each dream wakes panting in an orgasmic state.

Pauline decides to lose her virginity to a boy named Adam. Because of her fascination with blood, she arranges their meeting while she is on her period. While having an orgasm, she imagines herself choking Adam and the bed filling with blood. She asks Adam to go down on her, which he obliges. He then runs to the bathroom disgusted by the blood, as he was unaware she was on her period.

During sex education class, Pauline takes a sample of her blood and puts it under a microscope to check for STDs. Later, she sees Adam with his girlfriend. She tells Adam she doesn't have any STDs and asks his girlfriend if she has any. Pauline then tells them that if the girlfriend doesn't have anything, neither will she. Adam's girlfriend deduces that he was unfaithful.

Across the street from Pauline is a teenage girl who jumps rope. Pauline invites the girl to jump rope with her, but she finds Pauline weird and refuses. Grace defends her sister and storms off. Adam's now ex-girlfriend and her friend TP Pauline's house and spray paint 'cunt' and 'whore' on it. Pauline, on an angry tirade, pushes Adam to the ground and slams his ex-girlfriend's face into her locker, resulting in her being expelled from school.

While in her room she overhears her parents saying Grace's doctor wants her on the lung transplant list. During dinner, her sister has a severe coughing fit, which concerns her parents. In the morning, Pauline drugs her father with tea and ties him up. She lures the jump roping girl to the backyard and knocks her out with a chemical. She then drugs Grace after talking to her affectionately, and cuts and shaves her own hair.

In the garage, Pauline cuts open both girls and commences with her surgery, moving the healthy girl's lungs into her sister and placing the other lungs on ice, then sewing them both up. Pauline's mother arrives home and sees her husband tied up. She panics, frantically screaming for Grace. She finds Pauline with the bodies. Pauline explains that it is her first surgery, and although it is messy, it is wonderful. She then urges her mother to take a closer look, who grabs her, screaming hysterically. Pauline at first seems proud, but then begins to sob, and starts screaming as well.



Excision is Richard Bates, Jr.'s first feature film. Bates, a Virginia native and graduate of the New York University Tisch School of the Arts, filmed Excision over 28 days in and around Los Angeles, California.[citation needed]


Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 81% based on reviews from 21 critics, with an average rating of 6.5/10.[3]

Robert Koehler of Variety called it "technically polished juvenilia that provokes without resonance".[4] At The A.V. Club, two critics reviewed it at Sundance. Noel Murray rated it B+ and wrote, "This is one of the damnedest 'adolescent misfit' movies you'll ever see—for those who can stomach the splatter, that is."[5] Nathan Rabin rated it B+ and called it "a supremely nasty piece of work in the best way possible."[6] Steve Rose of The Guardian rated it 2/5 stars and wrote, "This body-horror teen effort could have Cronenberg meets Solondz – but it isn't".[7] Witney Seibold of IGN rated it 7.5/10 and wrote, "Excision is twisted, ballsy, nasty, kind of gross, and more than a little bit disturbing." Streiber states it "revels a little too much in its gore" and seems as though it is a splatter film "only intended to shock", though the ending "clearly accentuates the tragedy of its clearly insane main character."[8]


  1. ^ "Film Guide - Excision". sundance.org. Archived from the original on 6 January 2012. Retrieved 13 December 2011.
  2. ^ "Film and Events Sundance 2012". sundance.org. Archived from the original on 11 December 2011. Retrieved 12 December 2011.
  3. ^ "Excision (2012)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 28 December 2014.
  4. ^ Koehler, Robert (23 January 2012). "Review: 'Excision'". Variety. Retrieved 29 December 2014.
  5. ^ Murray, Noel (23 January 2012). "Noel Murray @ Sundance 2012: Day 4". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 29 December 2014.
  6. ^ Rabin, Nathan (23 January 2012). "Nathan Rabin @ Sundance 2012: Day Four". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 29 December 2014.
  7. ^ Rose, Steve (1 November 2012). "Excision – review". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 December 2014.
  8. ^ Seibold, Witney (16 October 2012). "Blu-Ray Review: Excision". IGN. Retrieved 29 December 2014.

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