By DAKOTA DAHL
Starring Korrina Rico, Lee Kholafai, Costas Mandylor and Caylee Cowan
Written by Chris Kato
Directed by Az Zamani
Eleven Seven Productions
The idea of plastic surgery is already pretty terrifying. Through a cosmic injustice, someone is so unhappy with their body that they must modify it through an invasive procedure, that, no matter the assurances of the doctor, have a small likelihood of causing death. Now, imagine what it would be like if all choice in the matter was taken away from you, and you were being forced under the knife to become the twisted palette in a madman’s art. This is the world of INCISION.
While a lunatic plastic surgeon forcibly taking or adding bits to people isn’t novel (Bruce Campbell as the Surgeon General in Escape From L.A. comes to mind) that particular dead horse remains mostly unbeaten. It’s a good opening for scathing social commentary about unrealistic beauty standards being forced down our throats by the media, as well as a threadbare setup for some top shelf body horror. In short: it’s a recipe for a perfect blend of high-brow and low-brow.
Enter beauty blogger Alexa Landry, played fittingly by impossibly beautiful Instagram model Korrina Rico (Ray Donovan, Glass Jaw). In fact, the whole film is chock full of overtly beautiful people (more so than most films) which must be a directorial choice, because these people are some of the least in need of plastic surgery you’ll ever see. Alexa has only one fear: surgery. So acute is her fear that, at the beginning of the film, she bails on a minor operation due to a panic attack. After this, we are introduced to Alexa’s possessive, douchebag boyfriend Matt Casey (Lee Kholafai) who accuses Alexa of having an affair with his friend. This quickly sets the audience up for looking forward to seeing Matt get rearranged like a gory Mr. Potato Head. We also meet Alexa’s sister Becca (Caylee Cowan, Sunrise in Heaven, Willy’s Wonderland) who has recently escaped a rehab facility where she was being assaulted. This incredibly dark B-plot is promptly dropped, allowing Becca to be awesomely spacey and aloof for the rest of the film. She’s the only person we are rooting for.
Through a series of improbable events that involve tracking down a DJs missing laptop across town, Alexa, Becca, and their supporting crew of pale stereotypes end up at the murder mansion of Dr. Cunningham, a serial killing plastic surgeon. There is no will-they-won’t-they game of cat and mouse here, Cunningham and his family of dutch-angled creeps are TOTALLY going to murder these kids. From there, it spirals into pretty standard murder porn.
Dr. Cunningham, delivered with askew perfection by James Allen Brewer (Devil in the Dark, The Rogues of Flat Oak) steals the show. Brewer must have noticed that the rest of the cast were painfully wooden actors, so he countered by bringing all the subtlety of a woodchipper, which totally works. He loves cutting people up, and there is no thread of sanity or reason to follow as to why he does it. Also, his mother perpetually watches porn while chastising the cast for having sex, his brother is a super strong mutant and there seems to be an Amish child running around. It’s all kind of stupid cool.
I mentioned how stiff the other actors are. This isn’t a criticism, since the cast being full of bad actors helps to draw attention to the fact that they are so used to cruising by on their looks alone. When all of your success in life is based on winning the genetic lottery, you had better be ready to defend those good looks from a maniac with more scalpels than anesthesia.
It’s hard to analyze why INCISION works, while other mindless films about beautiful people getting mashed to bits fall flat. Maybe it’s because the cast is just so darned gorgeous (like, open the ark and melt your face dazzling) or maybe because the gore is so neato. Seriously, someone has their lips and eyelids cut off. Whatever the case, the film is a guilty pleasure, so shut off your brain and strap in for this gurney ride to Hell.
INCISION is now available on all On Demand Platforms from Eleven Seven Productions.